Trevor Bauer was nearly an All-Star snub

That is reason enough to consider him snubbed

Alex Hooper
July 09, 2018 - 5:02 pm
Jun 23, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (47) tips his hat to fans as he leaves the field during the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

© Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Trevor Bauer is an American League All-Star. Barely.

The American League leader in fWAR among pitchers was selected as a replacement for former MVP Justin Verlander despite having better advanced statistics than the Houston Astros starter. Verlander will not pitch because of his scheduled outing on Sunday, July 15 against the Chicago White Sox, just 2 days prior to the mid-summer classic.

How he got in was not as important to the righty as getting to go.

“You always hope. I think that I've put together a worthy case, but it's not something where I get to pick the team. I'm happy it turned out this way.”

The question remains, how was that Bauer’s avenue in?

The 27-year-old could have – and technically still may be – been considered to start the game based on his success in 2018, let alone if one wanted to look back to his numbers since last All-Star Game.

In truth, Bauer’s reputation as an outspoken, perhaps brash pitcher precedes him, much longer than his reputation as one of the game’s best arms. Such a standing among your peers may make things difficult to be voted in by them.

Also worth consideration is that the Indians are already carrying four other All-Stars, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber; and that every team must have a representative. The positional crunch and subsequent addition of Bauer could also be blamed for Mike Clevinger’s omission.

Tying together the outspokenness, a lot of which is tied to the forward-thinking nature of his mind, and the overall quality of Bauer’s actual pitching, what may have factored in to the righty’s late admission to Nationals Park may have been that his traditional numbers are not mind-blowing. His advanced numbers are.

As previously mentioned, Bauer leads all of baseball in pitcher fWAR. His 4.25 ERA is just 11th in baseball, 5th in the AL. Bauer’s 2.17 FIP leads baseball as well, but his 8 pitcher wins are 21st.

That is not to say that all of Bauer’s traditional stats are outside the realm of All-Star-worthy. His five home runs allowed are the fewest of all qualified pitchers.

Bauer’s 156 strikeouts are 4th, despite having one fewer start than Max Scherzo and Chris Sale ahead of him. Gerrit Cole has only two more Ks.

The Indians’ number-three starter may be the poster-child for having their advanced metrics overlooked, Tampa Bay ace Blake Snell is that for traditional stats. The 25-year-old Rays righty leads baseball in ERA at 2.09, and his 12 wins are 2nd-most in the game, tied with Corey Kluber.

Obviously there is no clear-cut way to get into the All-Star Game, but apparently being the best in the league is not a way to get in. Had Justin Verlander’s last start before the break not fallen on Sunday, neither the best pitcher by advanced metrics and standard statistics would have been selected to the original team.

The topic of conversation around baseball on Monday has been the antiquated way players are forced to vote, as well as the pre-historic way they go about determining their selections.

In an interview with SiriusXM MLB Network radio, former big leaguer Ryan Spilborghs said he does not expect big leaguers to look beyond record and ERA when voting. Listen to the whole clip below:

There needs to be further change to how players are selected, or players need to be given time to do their due diligence. If the lion's share of the voting value is going to be placed on players, they need to take the responsibility seriously.

Regardless, Bauer is in, and it is something he has wanted to be a part of his entire life.

“I'm extremely excited for it. You watch the game growing up. I watched every year,” he said. “You tune in for the Home Run Derby and see the best of the best guys. I remember watching Torii Hunter rob Barry Bonds and Pedro Martinez punch out six guys in a row, and just moments like that from growing up that are kind of iconic baseball moments for me and for a lot of other people. And to be able to go and play in the same game against the best players that this game has to offer right now -- that the world has to offer right now -- is really fun.”