Mariners Gamel getting left off the All-Star team is the biggest sham of 2017
Whether you enjoy the All Star Game or not, think that players should take time to rest instead of play, or feel some other way, there is no way you can deny the Mariners Ben Gamel has been an All-Star in 2017.
The Mariners outfielder with the impeccable flow, sweet hitting stroke, and saver of runs extraordinaire, was left off the 2017 All-Star team and I am left scratching my head as to why.
If you just look at the basic stats, he’s leading the AL in batting average. He’s hitting .336, a whole nine points higher than Aaron Judge. He doesn’t slug or drive runs in like Judge, but that’s not his job. He hits leadoff so the M’s other bats can drive him in. The guy hits, and it doesn’t quite seem right that the AL’s best average hitter is getting left off the All Star team.
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Now you could say that he just crossed the threshold for minimum plate appearances, but he’s still there, and a four hit game in Los Angeles this past weekend shows you just how talented of a hitter he is.
I won’t claim that Gamel is on the tier of Mike Trout, George Springer or Aaron Judge (the ASG starters), because his season’s body of work just isn’t as good, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t deserving of an alternate spot for the All-Star team or even one of the “Esurance Final Vote” spots.
The outfielder alternates for the American League All-Star team are: Mookie Betts, Avisail Garcia, and Michael Brantley.
If you extrapolate Gamel’s 2.1 offensive WAR out to the same number of games as Garcia, he would be sitting at a cool 2.7, besting Garcia’s oWAR of 2.5. If you do the same thing to Betts’s 79 games, the advantage would still be Gamel 2.8 to 2.5. Betts obviously has an incredibly strong defensive component to his game far superior to that Gamel, Brantley, and Garcia , but just on offense right now, Gamel has the edge on all three. Brantley has played one game more than Gamel so we won’t adjust the numbers, and Gamel still blows Brantley’s 1.2 oWAR out of the water.
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Obviously WAR isn’t everything, but it seems to be a pretty fair representation of skill in the league today. And I haven’t exactly looked at every other outfielder in the AL, so there may be another player more deserving of one of the alternate spots than Gamel. That said, statistically he could take Garcia or Brantley’s spots, but he didn’t, and now Mariners fans will be left upset with the system, that lets the fan vote be law.
Ultimately though, the ASG means very little, and if Gamel can play like an All-Star the rest of the year, that will mean more to the Mariners than having a second representative in Miami.