In all sports, the unveiling of All-Star rosters draws attention to the perceived snubs. This summer, baseball fans will gripe about excluded players such as Ian Kinsler and complain about studs like Chris Sale suffering the humiliation of a runoff. Many may wonder if Devin Mesoraco is truly a better catcher than former MVP Buster Posey. Nevertheless, none of these questionable calls should bother Brewers fans. As Enrique pointed out on Sunday, Milwaukee received plenty of love from the roster selectors. The Brewers can savor gaining a club-record four invitations, with Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Gomez elected to starting roles. However, Milwaukee benefitted from dubious roster decisions. Neither Ramirez nor Gomez actually deserves to start the All-Star Game.
Unfortunately, Ramirez has no business being the starting third baseman. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier has outperformed Ramirez in most critical offensive categories. Frazier produces more power than Ramirez, as his .500 slugging percentage and .209 ISO lead Ramirez’ .474 and .187 marks. Yet Ramirez also trails his Cincinnati counterpart in the other key facet of offense, reaching base. In fact, Ramirez’ .339 on base percentage lags behind Frazier, Matt Carpenter and even Luis Valbuena, standing in fourth place among NL Central third basemen. Ramirez lags a bit behind the curve in more comprehensive categories as well. Frazier has compiled a better wRC+ (138 to 126), better wOBA (.374 to .356), and a better fWAR (3.5 to 1.5) than Ramirez. Anthony Rendon of Washington also exceeds Ramirez in each of these categories. Ramirez’ glove certainly did not win him the trip to Minneapolis, as his -5 defensive runs saved stand 11 behind Frazier’s total. In short, while he certainly earned consideration for a roster spot, Ramirez does not deserve to start for the Senior Circuit.
Similarly, Gomez may not truly merit a starting role. Because there are three starting outfielders – and because we are comparing centerfielders with corner outfielders – Gomez’ case is more difficult to analyze. Still, replacing Gomez with Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton would be a sensible decision. Stanton’s 166 wRC+, ranks fourth in baseball and goes together nicely with his Willy Mays-esque .257 ISO. Gomez’ 143 wRC+ and .206 ISO are sensational, yet still trail behind the monstrous Stanton (as well as Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig, the other two outfield starters). Gomez’ .365 on base percentage also stands lower than those of McCutchen (.424), Stanton (.406), and Puig (.393). Additionally, Stanton outperforms Gomez defensively. Gomez has exceeded Puig and McCutchen by saving two runs this year and posting a 1.3 UZR. Yet Stanton has saved eight runs while compiling a 2.3 UZR. Gomez certainly merits a spot on the roster and a place in the conversation for starter. Yet Giancarlo Stanton surpasses him both in the field and at the plate.
Of course, the Brewers should not feel at all guilty about gaining two questionable starters. That’s what happens when the league grants fans Chicago-style suffrage at the rate of 25 votes per person. With spirits bolstered by their club’s incredible start, Brewers supporters evidently pushed Ramirez and Gomez over the top. If Miami had more fans – or any fans, for that matter – perhaps Stanton would have won the election. However the Brewers won the triumph at the polls, providing yet another milestone in an already memorable season.