Take out the pitchforks. After teasing baseball fans with the starting lineups on Sunday night, MLB released the complete 2015 All-Star Game rosters on Monday.

The league can’t possibly satisfy every onlooker with all 64 selections. Only a few head-scratching but far from outrageous choices standing out represents a relative victory for the game.

Remember, at least Omar Infante didn’t make the cut. Before breaking down the oddest choices, let’s take a look at the American League and National League rosters, via MLB Communications:


Oddest Choices

Brad Boxberger, RP, Tampa Bay Rays

The AL roster shows a ton of love for middle relievers. The players selected Wade Davis and Dellin Betances, two studs deserving recognition regardless of their roles. Then AL manager Ned Yost added Darren O’Day and Kelvin Herrera. The former’s dominance over righties offers a tactical advantage in a game that matters, and the latter amounts to the Kansas City Royals’ skipper rewarding his own guy.

With Glen Perkins and Zach Britton also on board, Brad Boxberger wasn’t a necessary inclusion. His 2.48 ERA and 12.40 strikeouts per nine innings look great, but the Tampa Bay Rays closer has already issued 16 walks through 32.2 frames.

If Yost wanted another reliever, he could have gave David Robertson the nod. While his 2.60 ERA stands slightly higher, he sports a 2.07 fielding independent pitching (FIP) with 49 strikeouts, seven walks and a 0.95 WHIP.

He also could have chosen Koji Uehara or Clay Buchholz from the Boston Red Sox. Either hurler would have given Yost more flexibility with one of his two offensive picks.  


Brock Holt, IF/OF, Boston Red Sox

To be fair, not every unconventional pick is bad. Take Brock Holt, Boston’s surprising lone representative instead of Xander Bogaerts. Not only does he provide the AL tremendous defensive versatility, he deserved recognition for his stellar .383 on-base percentage and 2.3 fWAR.

Holt has played everywhere except catcher, making him a marvelous weapon from a strategical standpoint. While Boston’s young shortstop has upped his batting average to .302 during a recent hot streak, Bogaerts‘ .339 on-base percentage and three homers hardly make him an egregious snub.

Yet if Yost had taken a Boston pitcher, he would have cleared a spot for Brian Dozier. Arguably the AL’s biggest snub, the Minnesota Twins second baseman is hitting .260/.332/.517 with 17 homers and a 2.8 fWAR.  

Closer Glen Perkins told MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger that his teammate—who campaigned for the final fan vote with a walk-off homer on Monday night—should be joining him in Cincinnati.

Jason Kipnis has unquestionably enjoyed the best season of any second baseman this year, and Jose Altuve won the fan vote. Because of Holt’s inclusion, Dozier must hope the Kansas City fans don’t flood the final vote for Mike Moustakas.


DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies

Perhaps someone made a clerical error or said “I’ll take that Colorado Rockies middle infielder.” Either way, we’re all living in a universe where DJ LeMahieu is an All-Star and Troy Tulowtizki is not.

This is a case of players weighing early results above the full picture. The Colorado second baseman exited April hitting .406, leaving his peers to remember a time where he led everyone in average. Since then, he’s hitting .265/.322/.345. His season’s .298/.351/.387 slash line is strong, but not All-Star strong.

Even in a down year, his double-play partner is hitting .321/.358/.489. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was a tough cut with the game in his own yard, but Justin Turner especially deserved better.

Nobody, including Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, took much stock into the 30-year-old’s breakout. In 223 plate appearances, he boasts a .312/.386/.558 slash line and 11 homers. He also could have afforded the NL someone comfortable playing anywhere in the infield. 

Every other choice carries a feasible explanation. LeMahieu over Tulowitzki, Votto or Turner is the toughest pill to swallow.


Mark Melancon, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates

In a stacked crowd of National League pitchers, the All-Star standards are elevated. When Clayton Kershaw doesn’t make the cut and Jake Arrieta doesn’t crack the final vote, everyone present better boast eye-popping numbers.

Mark Melancon‘s 1.58 ERA and 27 saves meet the bill, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates two pitchers alongside A.J. Burnett. His 6.30 K/9 rate and 3.01 FIP, however, make him far less valuable than those snubbed starters.

Here’s a question for fans of contending NL squads: Would you rather see Melancon or Kershaw pitch an inning in a game that determines the World Series’ home-field advantage? 

In an unbiased process, Kershaw also would have received the nod over Madison Bumgarner. Yet San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy received the final call because of his ace’s dominance last postseason.


Note: All advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs

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