BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, and Mookie Betts got their much-deserved All-Star selections on Sunday night. The three will appear in the Midsummer Classic on July 11 in Miami, with Sale the likely choice to start for the American League.
Sale is 11-3 so far in his first season with the Red Sox and leads the major leagues with 166 strikeouts in 120.2 innings entering Monday. He’s second in the American League with a 2.61 ERA and leads the AL with a 0.90 WHIP.
Kimbrel, meanwhile, has been masterful in the closing role for the Red Sox, leading the AL with 23 saves entering Monday. He’s posted a minuscule 1.01 ERA while striking out a staggering 64 batters against just five walks in 35.2 innings.
Betts is in the midst of another excellent overall season as the Red Sox’ starting right fielder. He smacked two home runs and eight RBIs (a single-game record for a leadoff hitter) on Sunday against the Blue Jays, pushing his season totals to 15 homers and 51 RBIs. He’s also stolen 15 bases, played some of the best outfield defense in the AL, and is fourth in the league with a 5.4 WAR.
Sale, Kimbrel, and Betts were easy choices to make the AL All-Star team. But their teammate, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, was more of a borderline case. That’s why he has landed on the AL’s ballot to determine the final spot on the AL roster. Fans will vote in the final player before the game.
Bogaerts is up against two other shortstops for the honor, the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius and the Rangers’ Elvis Andrus. He’s also up against Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and Rays first baseman Logan Morrison.
The factor that may set other candidates apart from Bogaerts is power. While Bogaerts is seventh in the AL with a .314 batting average and is ninth in the AL with a 2.7 WAR, he has just five home runs on the season compared to 10-plus for each of the other final vote candidates. Morrison is tied for second in the league with 24 homers.
The Astros’ Carlos Correa will start the All-Star Game at shortstop, while his only true backup at the position is the Indians’ Francisco Lindor, who is batting .248 on the season. The presence of AL manager Terry Francona of the Indians almost certainly factored into Lindor’s presence on the list of AL reserves.
If Bogaerts doesn’t end up making the 2017 All-Star Game, would it qualify as a snub? Vote below.