The Atlanta Braves will have five players representing them at the 2022 All-Star Game. Ronald Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, William Contreras, Travis d’Arnaud and Max Fried will all be making the trip for the Midsummer Classic.
Despite the Braves’ strong All-Star presence this year, there is one glaring omission that has raised many eyebrows.
MLB insider Jon Heyman believes that Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley is the most egregious of all the All-Star snubs this year.
“How is Austin Riley not an All-Star? Has to be the most egregious of all the snubs!” – Jon Heyman
The snub seemed even more bizarre after Riley hit his 25th home run — the second most in the league — against the New York Mets on Wednesday.
In doing so, Riley achieved an incredible milestone. He became only the eighth Atlanta Braves player in history to hit 25 homers or more before the All-Star break.
Riley is currently on an astonishing .908 OPS, which is the fourth-best in the National League. His 56 RBI is the seventh highest this term.
Riley didn’t beat the likes of San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado and St. Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado after fan balloting concluded, which is understandable.
However, he was overlooked by the MLB while naming an injury replacement for Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper. Instead, Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper got the nod, which hasn’t turned out to be a popular move.
Cooper has an OPS+ of 133 this season, whereas Riley is at 147. In comparison to Riley’s 24 homers, Cooper has managed only seven.
Atlanta Braves slugger Austin Riley’s snub highlights a flawed All-Star selection process
Snubs have long been a part of the All-Star selection process, and this year is no different. Riley is one of many deserving names to not have made the cut.
Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France is another exclusion, which makes no sense. The 27-year-old has slashed .306/.379/.460 with 15 doubles, 10 homers and 45 RBIs this season.
France ranks first in batting average, on-base percentage (.384) and OPS (.851) among AL players who have played more than 50% of their time at first.
Here’s another questionable omission. Only two catchers across the NL and AL have outperformed Los Angeles Dodgers backstop Will Smith this season. He is currently on a batting average of .261 with 128 WRC+.
Smith has been performing consistently at an elite level since making his MLB debut three years ago and is yet to earn All-Star recognition. Unfortunately, that wait will go on for at least another year.
“Most egregious All-Star snubs: Carlos Rodon, Will Smith, Ty France, Tommy Edman, Dylan Cease, Zack Wheeler, Brandon Drury, Josh Bell, Devin Williams, Aaron Nola, Kevin Gausman, Austin Riley. Many more belong (Nimmo, Reynolds, Schreiber, King). And plenty will be added this week.” – Jeff Passan.
Riley, France and Smith are just three names from a very long list of deserving players to not get the coveted All-Star nod. This raises questions about the credibility of the honor and highlights a flawed selection process.
Will that be any different in the years to come? We don’t know, honestly. There has never been a year of All-Star selections without a deserving candidate being left out, and it is definitely going to remain that way.
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