The Cleveland Indians have multiple players who will be playing in this year’s MLB All-Star game. However, there is one player who definitely should be included but will not get the opportunity to play.
It is that time of year again: the MLB All-Star game and its festivities are here. History has shown that when fans decide on the all-star rosters, that it is simply a popularity contest.
The Cleveland Indians will have shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitchers Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar representing the team during the game. They are an impressive trio, but it would have been even better had first baseman/designated hitter Mike Napoli received the publicity.
With no all-star recognition, there will not be a “party at Napoli’s”. Should the American League win the all-star game, they get home field advantage in the World Series. Can you imagine what that would be like if the Tribe can get back to possibly winning a championship?
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Although all-star games are heavily focused on popularity, they also revolve around winning teams. The Cleveland Indians’ all-stars certainly has had a hand in helping the organization get back to its winning ways.
Still, without Napoli, who was a free agent signing in the offseason, the Indians would not be where they are today. Napoli has given Cleveland a reliable spark and has come through often in crucial moments.
Had Napoli played poorly for most of the first half of the season, the Indians would be lucky to be over .500. Heading into today’s game, Napoli averaged a .241 batting average with 18 home runs, 60 RBI, and a .786 OPS.
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Given Napoli’s impact, it would not be out of the question to believe that he is the biggest snub on both the Cleveland Indians’ roster and in all of MLB. If the all-star game was in an American League stadium (this year it will be at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres), then naming Napoli as an all-star likely would have happen because of his DH ability.
As great as Napoli has been for the Cleveland Indians, there are players at his or similar positions who have better stats. Coming into today, Toronto Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion has averaged a .267 average with 23 home runs, and 80 RBI. Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz is averaging a .331 average with 21 home runs and 70 RBI.
Those are just two the more notable hitters who has played well and in turn affected Napoli’s votes. There are only so many spots for certain players on an all-star roster.
Toronto came into this season with plenty of hype and Encarnacion is a huge part of that. Ortiz is closing out his hall of fame caliber season and the A.L.’s starting 1B is Eric Hosmer of the reigning World Series Champions Kansas City Royals.
It is clear unfortunately, that the popularity aspect has favored the voting much more than other aspects. Then again, what else can you expect? Those players deserve to be called all-stars.
Even though we will not see Napoli part of the MLB All-Star game, his play has been on an all-star level. Cleveland fans have seen why he deserves the honor, but around the country that was not the case. Going forward Napoli will need to keep up his current level of play to help maintain the Cleveland Indians’ success.