Michael Brantley was the only Cleveland Indians player named to the American League All-Star team Sunday night.
This is Brantley's first time being an All-Star. He is having a career year, batting .321/.385/.511 (top ten in the AL for all three categories), with 13 home runs and 10 stolen bases (Mike Trout and Brian Dozier are the only other AL players with doubles figures in both those categories), 58 runs scored (3rd in the AL), and 57 runs batted in (9th). In short, he has been one of the five best offensive performers in the league, making this honor richly deserved.
There are three other Indians with a case for making the team, but who did not:
- Corey Kluber has a 2.86 ERA (8th in the AL) and 137 strikeouts (4th). Entering Sunday (when he allowed just 1 run in 8.1 innings, with 10 strikeouts), Kluber was 2nd in the AL in FIP, behind only Felix Hernandez. He's probably been one of the five best starting pitchers in the American League so far this season, and has certainly been one of the top eight (which is how many were named to the team). I wrote yesterday that I didn't think he'd make the team, so I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. His absence if an oversight on the part of AL players and manager John Farrell.
- Kluber is one of five candidates for the AL's Final Vote. Click here and vote for him!
- Lonnie Chisenhall is hitting .338/.395/.544 with 2 doubles and 9 home runs. He's three plate appearances shy of being officially qualified, but if he were, he'd lead the American League in batting average, and be among the top ten in on-base percentage and slugging. wRC+, which adjusts for ballparks, has Chisenhall second only to Mike Trout among AL hitters. A lack of playing time in April probably doomed his chances though, and between his lack of playing time and poor defense at third base, he was a borderline candidate on merit, not a slam dunk.
- Yan Gomes is hitting .269/.312/.436, with 12 doubles and 10 home runs. After a slow start, he's gotten back to being one of the very best defensive catchers in baseball, and when combining his above average hitting with his very strong defense, he ranks 2nd among AL catchers in fWAR, giving him a very solid case, but I never expected him to make the team, because defense is only considered in very rare cases, and Gomes hasn't been excellent back there long enough to have the kind of reputation needed.
The 33 players named to the team tonight are not the only guys who will actually be All-Stars this year, as injuries and unavailability will open up more spots in the next week. Chicago's Chris Sale wasn't named to the team either, and he's probably next in line if one of the starting pitchers backs out, but the Klubot might be next after him. Lonnie and Yan will have to hope someone at their position is unavailable if they're to find their way onto the team.
We'll have to wait and see.