Nationals' Max Scherzer ‘most worthy but unchosen' player for 2016 All-Star Game

Here are 2016 All-Star team selections, followed by lists of players who Box-Toppers deems "worthy but unchosen" for the game. Elected starting batters for both leagues are shown at top, followed by batting reserves and pitchers selected by managers and coaches. The "Worthy but unchosen" players are listed at the bottom. Players' Box-Toppers point (BTP) total for 2016 is shown as well as their Rank among all players in Box-Toppers points for the season. (Shifts in rosters are ever-changing, so these rosters may not be up-to-date.)

American League
National League
Elected starters
Elected starters
Pos Player Team BTP Rank Pos Player Team BTP Rank
CA Salvador Pérez Royals 4.0 119 CA Buster Posey Giants 2.5 215
1B Eric Hosmer Royals 3.0 158 1B Anthony Rizzo Cubs 3.0 160
2B José Altuve Astros 8.5 21 2B Ben Zobrist Cubs 2.5 220
3B Manny Machado Orioles 8.7 18 3B Kris Bryant Cubs 7.0 31
SS Xander Bogaerts Red Sox 1.0 433 SS Addison Russell Cubs 2.0 260
OF Mike Trout Angels 6.5 48 OF Yoenis Céspedes Mets 6.0 52
OF Jackie Bradley Jr. Red Sox 2.5 210 OF Dexter Fowler Cubs 0.0 656
OF Mookie Betts Red Sox 4.7 90 OF Bryce Harper Nationals 3.0 159
DH David Ortiz Red Sox 5.0 78
Pos Player Team BTP Rank Pos Player Team BTP Rank
CA Stephen Vogt Athletics 1.0 414 CA Jonathan Lucroy Brewers 2.0 263
CA Matt Wieters Orioles 7.0 37 CA Wilson Ramos Nationals 1.5 334
1B Miguel Cabrera Tigers 4.0 117 1B Paul Goldschmidt Dbacks 1.5 312
2B Robinson Canó Mariners 5.5 68 1B Wil Myers Padres 7.2 28
3B Josh Donaldson Blue Jays 8.2 23 2B Daniel Murphy Nationals 5.0 83
SS Eduardo Núñez Twins 3.5 148 3B Nolan Arenado Rockies 4.5 94
SS Francisco Lindor Indians 2.5 222 3B Matt Carpenter# Cardinals 7.5 27
OF Carlos Beltrán Yankees 3.0 186 SS Aledmys Díaz * Cardinals 4.5 102
OF Ian Desmond Rangers 4.0 129 SS Corey Seager Dodgers 4.0 127
OF Mark Trumbo Orioles 7.2 29 OF Adam Duvall Reds 4.5 101
DH Edwin Encarnación Blue Jays 6.0 53 OF Carlos González Rockies 3.5 143
OF Odubel Herrera Phillies 2.0 246
OF Marcell Ozuna Marlins 4.0 125
Pos Player Team BTP Rank Pos Player Team BTP Rank
MR Dellin Betances Yankees 1.0 377 SP Jake Arrieta Cubs 10.7 6
MR Brad Brach Orioles 1.0 403 SP Madison Bumgarner Giants 9.0 17
CP Zach Britton Orioles 1.0 352 SP Johnny Cueto Giants 13.4 2
CP Álex Colomé Rays 4.0 116 CP Jeurys Familia Mets 3.0 162
CP Wade Davis# Royals 2.0 243 SP José Fernández Marlins 13.4 3
SP Marco Estrada# Blue Jays 6.0 55 CP Kenley Jansen Dodgers 3.0 181
SP Cole Hamels Rangers 10.4 9 SP Clayton Kershaw# Dodgers 20.0 1
CP Will Harris Astros 1.0 386 SP Jon Lester Cubs 9.7 13
MR Kelvin Herrera Royals 0.0 959 CP Mark Melancon Pirates 0.0 573
CP Craig Kimbrel Red Sox 3.0 166 CP A. J. Ramos Marlins 0.0 595
SP Corey Kluber * Indians 10.8 5 CP Fernando Rodney Marlins 3.0 193
CP Andrew Miller Yankees 3.0 183 SP Stephen Strasburg Nationals 9.4 14
SP Danny Salazar Indians 10.5 8 SP Noah Syndergaard Mets 10.0 11
SP Chris Sale White Sox 10.7 7 SP Julio Teherán Braves 5.0 76
SP Steven Wright Red Sox 5.0 80
Worthy but unchosen
Worthy but unchosen
Pos Player Team BTP Rank Pos Player Team BTP Rank
SP Rich Hill Athletics 9.4 16 SP Max Scherzer Nationals 12.0 4
SP Michael Fulmer Tigers 8.7 20 SP Drew Pomeranz Padres 10.4 10
SP Hector Santiago Angels 8.4 22 SP Zack Greinke Dbacks 9.7 12
SP Trevor Bauer Indians 7.7 24 SP John Lackey Cubs 9.4 15
SP Colby Lewis Rangers 7.7 25 SP Steven Matz Mets 8.7 19
1B Chris Davis Orioles 7.5 26 SP Scott Kazmir Dodgers 7.0 30
SP Ian Kennedy Royals 7.0 32 SP Jerad Eickhoff Phillies 7.0 34
CA Russell Martin Blue Jays 7.0 33 3B Eugenio Suarez Reds 7.0 35
SP David Price Red Sox 6.7 40 SP Juan Nicasio Pirates 7.0 36
SP Carlos Carrasco Indians 6.7 41 SP Junior Guerra Brewers 7.0 38
SP Masahiro Tanaka Yankees 6.7 42 SP Vince Velasquez Phillies 7.0 39
SS Carlos Correa Astros 6.7 43 SP Aaron Nola Phillies 6.7 45
SP Jose Quintana White Sox 6.7 44 SP Tanner Roark Nationals 6.7 46
1B Dae-Ho Lee Mariners 6.7 47 1B Matt Holliday Cardinals 6.0 57
OF Lorenzo Cain Royals 6.5 49 2B DJ LeMahieu Rockies 5.5 67
SP Edinson Volquez Royals 6.4 50 OF Jay Bruce Reds 5.0 82
SS Elvis Andrus Rangers 4.7 92 OF Michael Conforto Mets 5.0 86
CP David Robertson White Sox 4.0 112 CA J.T. Realmuto Marlins 3.5 145
# Player selected but will not play
* Player selected as roster replacement due to injury

(Note: As this piece was seconds away from being posted, it was announced Max Scherzer would replace Stephen Strasburg on the NL All-Star Game roster. While circumstances allowed the "right thing" to be done, I'll let the post stand as is—Scherzer should have been among the unquestioned first chosen, not among the later replacements.)

“Snub” is such an ugly word.

Top 10 players

Here are the top 10 players in Box-Toppers points (BTP) for the 2016 season as of July 7:

Player Pos Team BTP
1 Kershaw, Clayton 2494 pi sp lad nl 20.0
2 Cueto, Johnny 2400 pi sp sf nl 13.4
3 Fernandez, Jose 3147 pi sp fla nl 13.4
4 Scherzer, Max 2588 pi sp dc nl 12.0
5 Kluber, Corey 3200 pi sp cle al 10.8
6 Arrieta, Jake 2738 pi sp chi nl 10.7
7 Sale, Chris 2806 pi sp chi al 10.7
8 Salazar, Danny 3223 pi sp cle al 10.5
9 Hamels, Cole 2135 pi sp tex al 10.4
10 Pomeranz, Drew 3061 pi sp sd nl 10.4
What are those numbers after players' names?

So let’s say instead that Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is the most worthy player not chosen (as of this writing) for the 2016 Major League All-Star Game to be played next Tuesday in San Diego.

Scherzer was not selected to the National League pitching staff and so far hasn’t been named as an injury replacement (NOTE: He now has been named an injury replacement), even though he has 12.0 Box-Toppers points on the season, fourth-most of any player in 2016.

On top of that, Scherzer had a stellar 2015 with 21.0 Box-Toppers points, sixth among all players and fourth among National League pitchers. In 2015 and 2016 combined, he has 55.1 points, third-most among all players behind only Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (45.7) and Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta (39.8) (both of whom were named All-Stars, though Kershaw is out with an injured back and will not play in the game).

The chart above shows players selected for the All-Star team and others who were not selected but who by their Box-Toppers point totals for 2016, are deemed worthy. The chart shows the Box-Toppers point total and their overall season player rank for both leagues’ elected (batting) starters, the reserves (batters), the pitchers and the players that Box-Toppers deems “Worthy but unchosen.” (Much nicer than “snub,” right?)


In the American League, the top four starting pitchers in Box-Toppers player rankings were selected (Corey Kluber, Indians; Chris Sale, White Sox; Danny Salazar, Indians and Cole Hamels, Rangers). In the National League, the three top starting pitchers in Box-Toppers player rankings were selected (Kershaw; Johnny Cueto, Giants and Jose Fernandez, Marlins), but the fourth-best, Scherzer, was left out.

A slew of middle relief and closing pitchers were selected by both managers and while I’m sure they are very good at their limited-role jobs and can be the most responsive pitcher in the course of an actual All-Star game, given a specialized situation, I’m just not sure they are actually All-Stars. Their contributions rarely contribute most to a team’s win and are frequently overshadowed by other starting pitchers and other position players.

Of the 15 pitchers selected in both leagues in the chart above, seven of them—nearly half—have 1.0 or fewer Box-Toppers point on the season. Three of them have yet to earn a single point this season—middle reliever Kelvin Herrea of Royals and closers Mark Melancon of the Pirates and A.J. Ramos of the Marlins.

Meanwhile, 10 starters with more than 7.0 Box-Toppers points on the season and who rank among Box-Toppers’ top 25 overall players, are left on the sideline.

Given that the All-Star Game is far from a traditional game and more of a Little League exhibition in which everyone gets to play, it would make more sense to name more worthy starters to the team and limit relief pitchers to the absolute best one or two players—at the most.

Fan-elected starters (batters)

Who did fans pick as All-Stars who have not fared well so far in Box-Toppers points in 2016? Here are starters with fewer than 3.0 Box-Toppers points—three of them are Cubs players:

  • Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox was elected starting AL shortstop, but he has only 1.0 Box-Toppers point. Better choice: Carlos Correa of the Astros, 6.7 points, who was not selected for the reserves and is among the “Worthy but unchosen.”
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox was elected starting AL outfielder, but has only 2.5 Box-Toppers points (however, he had 9.5 points in 2015, eighth among AL batters). Better choice: Given his late 2015 performance, Bradley may not be a bad pick, but based on 2016 stats, the better pick might be either Mark Trumbo of the Orioles, 7.2 points (reserves) or Lorenzo Cain of the Royals, 6.5 points, who was not selected for the reserves and is among the “Worthy but unchosen.”
  • Ben Zobrist of the Cubs was elected starting NL second baseman, but he has only 2.5 Box-Toppers points. Better choice: DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies, 5.5 points, who was not selected for the reserves and is among the “Worthy but unchosen.”
  • Addison Russell of the Cubs was elected starting shortstop, but he has only 2.0 Box-Toppers points. Better choice: Aledmys Diaz of the Cardinals, 4.5 points, who was selected to the reserves as an injury replacement.
  • Dexter Fowler of the Cubs was elected starting outfielder, but has 0.0 Box-Toppers points in 2016. Better choice: Since Fowler ranks 58th among NL outfielders, there are many who are more deserving. But let’s go with Jay Bruce of the Reds, 5.0 points, who was not selected for the reserves and is among the “Worthy but unchosen.”

Who should be among reserves?

Who among the “Worthy but unchosen” should have received more consideration to be named a reserve?

  • Chris Davis of the Orioles, 7.5 Box-Toppers points, ranks first among AL first basemen (while elected starter Eric Hosmer of the Royals ranks sixth).
  • Russell Martin of the Blue Jays, 7.0 Box-Toppers points, ranks first among AL catchers (while elected starter Salvador Perez of the Royals ranks third).
  • Eugenio Suarez of the Reds, 7.0 Box-Toppers points, ranks third among NL third basemen (while elected starter Kris Bryant ranks second). Suarez, however, ranks fourth in Box-Toppers points among all NL batters.
  • Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, 6.0 Box-Toppers points, has played both first base and left field this year. He ranks sixth in Box-Toppers points among all NL batters.
  • J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins, 3.5 Box-Toppers points, ranks first among NL catchers (while elected starter Buster Posey of the Giants ranks second). It’s not a huge lead or a very big sample size based on the rarity for catchers to earn Player of the Game honors, but over the 2015-2016 seasons, Realmuto also leads all NL catchers with 8.5 Box-Toppers points, ahead of Posey’s 6.5 over that same period.

About Box-Toppers—Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. In regular season games, players earn 1.0 Box-Toppers point for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.

A look at how Box-Toppers All-Star teams stood at the time of the last report, Friday, July 1.