I suppose you could say the Los Angeles Dodgers were due for some bad luck after reeling off 19 wins in their final 22 games in the month of June and, well, that bad news came Sunday night as the American League and National League rosters were announced for the 2017 All-Star Game.
Now, to be fair, if history repeats itself, we can expect about 25 percent of the initial rosters to be different come next week. Regardless, the point remains that two Dodgers have a strong case for being ‘the most screwed’ by the fans’ and players’ decision: Justin Turner and Alex Wood.
A friend of mine texted me Sunday morning asking what I thought might happen once All-Star Game rosters were unveiled. He correctly predicted the four Dodger selections — Cody Bellinger, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager.
And then gave the following odds for the team’s three other candidates: Yasmani Grandal (20 percent), Justin Turner (40 percent) and Alex Wood (85 percent).
The odds were far from scientific, but it gives you a sense of what a plugged-in baseball mind (and a non-Dodgers fan) was thinking. Personally, I thought his odds for Grandal and Wood were right on, while Turner’s were far too low. So, what happened?
What’s fascinating about Turner is how quietly he’s putting together such a remarkable season. Like Wood, his biggest issue is the amount of time he missed. Turner has played five fewer games than Bellinger, meaning he missed roughly 25 total games.
When he has played, Turner’s been a bonafide MVP candidate. In 251 plate appearances this season, he’s batting .382 and has accumulated 3.7 WAR, which is tied for the second-most in the entire NL.
Again, WAR is an accumulative stat, so Turner has produced the second-most wins of any player in the NL in almost two-thirds of the amount of games. That’s insane.
As some have pointed out, even though Turner remains 10 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the batting lead at the moment, if you gave him an 0-for-10, he’d still be leading by 25 points.
And yet, apparently none of that qualifies you for being an All-Star. Instead, Turner’s spot went to Arizona’s Jake Lamb, who is 19th in WAR (despite playing in 20 more games) and whose average, on-base percentage and slugging are all significantly lower than Turner’s.
Let’s also not forget Turner was a finalist for the Gold Glove last season, so it’s not as though he’s being punished for poor defense. Thus, Turner is relegated to hanging his hopes on making the Midsummer Classic via the Final Vote.
The verdict? Absolutely snubbed.
In 12 starts this season (roughly five less than the average healthy starter), Wood has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball. For pitchers with 70-plus innings this season, only Dallas Keuchel has a better ERA (1.67 to Wood’s 1.83) and only Chris Sale has a better FIP (2.01 to 2.11).
Among all pitchers, Wood is tied for sixth in WAR (a stat that he’s disadvantaged in thanks to his lack of starts) at 0.1 behind some one named “Kershaw.” In fact, Wood is the only pitcher with a WAR over 2.5 (he’s at 2.8 and tied with Zack Greinke) that wasn’t named to the All-Star team.
The only argument against Wood is the lack of innings pitched, however Keuchel — who has one less start and two more total innings pitched (Wood did make a couple relief appearances) — was named a member of the AL All-Star team.
The verdict? Snubbed again.
Having said all this, the good news is that there’s a high likelihood Turner and Wood eventually make it onto the NL roster.
As fans, that’s a positive, but for the players, I’m sure the sting of being disrespected and under-appreciated by their peers will only be slightly lessened by such an inclusion.
Then again, maybe it all works out for the Dodgers as both use this as motivation to continue dominating for the remainder of the season.