This Year’s All-Star Travesty: Matt Joyce’s Snub

Every season, without fail, the All-Star Ballot becomes an object of contention; like the Hall of Fame voting, the All-Star Game is simply a lightning rod for debate. Should this glorified exhibition game decide home field advantage in the World Series? Should we even care about the All-Star Game anymore, as interleague play and television have removed its mystique? And of course, which players deserve to make the game? So many people claim to not care about the game, but that doesn’t prevent copious amounts of digital ink being spilled each year on these same 0l’ questions.*

*Personally, I haven’t watched the game the last few years, but I still can’t help but care on who gets selected for the teams. A part of it is stubborn obstinance – someone is wrong on the internet! – and a part of it is you know the players themselves take pride in these things. It’s only natural to want players to get the recognition they deserve, right?

This year’s All-Star Game travesty – outside of the fact that the Yankees are leading the voting in six out of nine slots – is the fact that one of the game’s best young outfielders isn’t even within the top 15 vote receivers at the position. This is a player that is currently leading the major leagues in batting average (.370), has the best slugging percentage (.636) out of all players not named Bautista, and has the third-best on-base percentage in the AL (.430).

This player has posted a .457 wOBA and a 198 wRC+ this year, much higher than Curtis Granderson’s 171 wRC+, and, according to WAR, he’s been the third-most valuable player in the majors this year (3.1 WAR, trailing only Bautista and Halladay). And if you don’t want to consider the fielding aspect of WAR, he’s also been the second-most valuable hitter in the majors, contributing 20.4 offensive runs. Holy cow, why isn’t he getting more love?

Ah, that’s right – he plays in Tampa Bay. Matt Joyce, come on down.

But wait! Since the All-Star Game happens midseason and it’s still early in the year, shouldn’t a player’s history count somewhat? Joyce was only called up to the Rays in late June last season, so maybe you could make the case that some stars should get a leg up due to their performance last year.

Even that point helps Joyce’s case, though. If you combine Joyce’s stats over the last two seasons, he’s been worth 4.8 WAR for the Rays in just under 450 plate appearances – not even a full season. His WAR figure ranks him 10th among all AL outfielders over the last two years, and that’s considering that all the players above him have around 300-400 more plate appearances than he does. Over that time, his .400 wOBA is third-best among all AL outfielders.

For comparison, here’s how his production over the last two years stacks up against other AL vote getters. All these players have so far received more votes than Joyce:

* Listed in descending order of votes.

Jeff Francoeur and Sam Fuld both have more votes than him? This simply can’t go on. Please, I entreat you – go vote for Matt Joyce and help right a terrible wrong.



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Steve is the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library. You can follow him on Twitter at @steveslow.


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Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood

Hamilton, Swisher, Super Sam, Drew, Ichiro, Crawford, Frenchy…people obviously aren’t even bothering to pay attention when they vote. Why bother?

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu

In defense of stupid people:

It’s called the All-Star Game. Not the All WAR Game, or the Best Performer Game. A lot of people simply vote for their favorite “stars,” regardless of performance. Which they’re entitled to do. Quite often, stars are older players who are overpaid and past their prime.

I don’t agree with that perspective, but I don’t have a problem with it.

Kirkwood
Member
Kirkwood

You see, I generally agree with you save for one small piece: people simply vote for whomever starts at the respective positions on the Red Sox and Yankees, with a few names (see: Hamilton, Ichiro, etc.) from other choice teams that get voted in every year. Part of it may be that I’m a Sox fan and gaddamnit I want to watch someone else play for once, but, yeah.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu

That’s true, and it’s unfortunately encouraged by MLB. They do everything in their power to make it easy for fans to make a party-line vote for all their team’s nominees.

For instance, Nick Swisher in the running for a spot, despite the fact that he doesn’t deserve it based on “stardom”, past performance, or this year’s performance.

A related problem is how the nominees are set in stone at the beginning of the year and are quite often obsolete after a few months. None of these guys are on the ballot: Ryan Roberts (1.9 WAR), Mike Napoli (1.5 WAR), Allen Craig (1.4 WAR), Corey Patterson (1.3 WAR), Sean Rodriguez (1.3 WAR), Casey Kotchman (1.3 WAR), Alberto Callaspo (1.3 WAR), Jon Jay (1.2 WAR), etc.

Preston
Guest
Preston

I have no problem with unmitigated fandom in voting for starters. If Matt Joyce gets 0 votes that’s fine. If Ron Washington doesn’t given him the spot he’s earned then I’ll be pissed. The game is for the fans, so let Jeter go out to short and tip his cap to the crowd when he leaves after an inning or two. Many undeserving players before him have gotten the right to do it based on their past performance. But after that let’s get serious because this game does have some significance (even though it shouldn’t). And If Matt Joyce isn’t an all-star right now than the only person who should be on the team is Jose Bautista.

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