It happens every year in Major League Baseball right before the sport takes a break for the All-Star Game. Somebody that deserves to play in the Summer Classic doesn’t get in, while others that might not be as deserving are chosen.
MLB rules state that each team must be represented by at least one player. For the Twins this year and for the time being, they have only one player heading to the All-Star Game next week in Cincinnati. That’s despite having one of the best records in the American League since going 20-7 in June.
Glen Perkins was informed Monday night that he’ll be in Cincinnati as a relief pitcher for the American League. And if they have a ninth-inning lead, he’ll probably get the ball to close it out.
But one player having the best season of his career, at least for now, has been left out. Second baseman Brian Dozier is in the Final Vote contest for the last spot on the American League roster. Like it or not, the All-Star Game is driven by fan voting. This year, Jose Altuve will start at second and Jason Kipnis of Cleveland is the back-up.
Unless Dozier wins the Final Vote over Xander Bogaerts, Yoenis Cespedes, Brett Gardner or Mike Moustakas, he’ll likely not be heading to the All-Star Game. That’s unless somebody claims an injury and the coaching staff chooses Dozier as a replacement.
Dozier could also make the trip by being selected to participate in the Home Run Derby. He competed in the event last year, but it was as the Twins were hosting the event at Target Field.
Including Dozier, here are some of the other top All-Star Game snubs in recent memory.
Brian Dozier (2015)
Brian Dozier is leading the Twins with 17 home runs and leads the American League with 63 runs scored. He also has 26 doubles and three triples, and he’s one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball. But it wasn’t enough to get him to the All-Star Game.
Mark Teixeira (Yankees, 2011)
Mark Teixeira had one of the best hitting seasons in baseball in 2011 with the Yankees. He hit 39 home runs, 111 RBI and 26 doubles while being a designated hitter and first baseman. But he didn’t make the AL All-Star team.
Albert Belle (Indians, 1998)
Albert Belle was one of the top power hitters in baseball in 1998 with the Indians. He collected 200 hits, had 49 home runs, 48 doubles and 152 RBI. He won the Silver Slugger Award and finished 8th in MVP voting, but he did not get selected for the All-Star Game.
Ian Kinsler (Rangers, 2009)
Ian Kinsler was one of the best infielders in the major leagues in 2009 with the Rangers. He had 31 home runs, 32 doubles, stole 31 bases and was a reliable middle infielder. He was not, however, an All-Star.
Josh Donaldson (Athletics, 2013)
Two years ago Josh Donaldson was a power-hitting third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. He was hitting .319 with 15 homers and 58 RBI heading into the All-Star break. But it wasn’t good enough to be selected an All-Star.
Kirk Gibson (Dodgers, 1988)
How backwards is this? In 1988 Kirk Gibson hit 25 homers, had 26 doubles and 76 RBI. He didn’t get selected to the NL All-Star Team, but was named the league’s MVP at season’s end.
Heath Bell (Padres, 2007)
Heath Bell was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball in 2007, being the set-up man for Trevor Hoffman. He finished the year with a 2.02 ERA and 42 saves in 03 2/3 innings, but was not selected an All-Star. Even worse, Hoffman was picked.
Alex Gonzalez (Blue Jays, 2010)
Alex Gonzalez was on his way to a career year in Toronto before the All-Star break. He had 17 homers, 25 doubles and 50 RBI heading into the All-Star Game. But it wasn’t good enough to get him there.
Johnny Cueto (Reds, 2012)
Johnny Cueto was one of the best pitchers in the National League three years ago. He finished the season with a 2.78 ERA with 170 strikeouts and just 49 walks in 217 innings pitched. But it wasn’t enough to make him an All-Star.
Paul Konerko (White Sox, 2004)
Paul Konerko will go down as one of the great players in Chicago White Sox history. In 2004 he hit 41 home runs, had 22 doubles and finished the season with 117 RBI while spending time at first base and designated hitter. He was not an All-Star.
The unfortunate reality of the MLB All-Star Game is that for the most part, it’s a popularity contest. It’s about a fan vote when instead it should be about the group of players who are having the best seasons for their team. As long as this is the process, somebody will not get voted there that should be there. Dozier fits that list this year along with Clayton Kershaw and Yoenis Cespedes.