Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently unveiled his early All-Star selections for both leagues, and boy, it’s a doozy for several reasons. Some of the Braves he left off the team should be a criminal violation, but some that he included require even more head scratching. Let’s get into it.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what Albies’ name is even doing on this list. I was shocked when I saw it, and it’s not even in the honorable mention category. Bowden currently has Albies as the backup second baseman on the National League team, despite the fact that he’s hitting .248 with a .692 OPS. I’ll be the first to say I’m not worried about how Albies will perform the rest of the season, and he could very well end the first half scorching hot and earn a spot in the All-Star game, but including him on this list is just a slap in the face to the rest of the second baseman in the NL.
Dansby Swanson (Missed)
Yep, you read that right. Bowden has Swanson missing the All-Star game in favor of Trea Turner and Francisco Lindor. Now, Swanson may not be as sexy of a name as those two, but right now, he leads both Turner and Lindor in WAR by a considerable margin. Things could change before All-Star voting is complete. We know Swanson is liable to go into a dismal slump at any moment now. However, if he plays anything like he has over the last eight weeks, there’s no way they can keep him off the All-Star team.
Deservedly, Bowden included Riley as one of the backups to Manny Machado at third base. As I wrote earlier this week, Riley has become a superstar; expect him to be in many more All-Star games as a Brave.
Ronald Acuña (Missed)
This is nothing more than gross oversight from Bowden. He must have just written Acuña off because of injury, but he’s clearly not paying attention to what’s going on in Atlanta. Acuña is currently hitting .318 with an on-base percentage of .406 and a .930 OPS. I don’t care how many games he misses; if he’s healthy, the Braves’ 24-year-old phenom will be playing in the All-Star game.
Marcell Ozuna (Just Missed?)
Whatever Bowden was smoking when he wrote this, I need some of it. After completely ignoring Acuña, he put Ozuna in the “just missed” category. That’s the same Marcell Ozuna who is currently hitting .229 and accumulated -0.7 WAR on the season. There’s absolutely no way he makes the All-Star game.
Bowden did include two starters from the Braves staff on the team in Max Fried and Kyle Wright. Both are very deserving candidates, and unless one of them falls off a cliff over their next few starts, they both should be locks to make the National League squad.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire