We’re about a month away from the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego. So let’s check in with some of the Tribe’s candidates and place odds on their chances of selection…
Danny Salazar – chance of selection: 95%
If the All-Star game were held today, Salazar would be a strong candidate to take the mound to start the game. The only reason I won’t put his odds at 100 percent is due to the fact that there is a long list of All-Star worthy pitchers in the American League.
If he flops in his next few starts, there’s a chance he could fall out of contention. But if his ERA remains in the range where it stands now (2.16) he will be in San Diego.
Francisco Lindor – chance of selection: 90%
Lindor is having a stellar season and should be a shoo-in for the game. However, there are two shortstops (Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado) who are clearly ahead of him, which could potentially complicate things.
The good news for Lindor: Machado is currently leading the voting at third base, despite playing the majority of the season at shortstop for the injured J.J. Hardy.
If Machado is selected at third base, then Lindor is virtually guaranteed to be selected as the backup shortstop behind Bogaerts (who is running away with the voting to start).
If Machado loses out at third base, he is an absolute lock to make the team as a reserve, which means the AL would need to take three shortstops to include Lindor (very likely, but not guaranteed).
Corey Kluber – chance of selection: 50%
Advanced stats show that Kluber is having another strong season, but the more traditional numbers (which, unfortunately, are what matters for All-Star selections) are working against him.
Kluber currently ranks 15th in the league in ERA (behind both Salazar and Tomlin). That puts him in the conversation depending on how the rest of his first half goes, but it’s a toss up.
As of right now Salazar, Steven Wright, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Chris Tillman all look like near locks. This means Kluber is competing with a group of about 15 others for the final three to five spots.
Josh Tomlin – chance of selection: 25%
Tomlin’s ERA and W-L record puts him in the mix. None of his advanced stats indicate that he’s having an All-Star worthy season, but he’s 8-1 and ranks 11th in the AL in ERA.
If Tomlin enters the break with a similar ERA and double-digit victories, there’s a reasonable chance he gets one of the final spots on the AL staff—especially once the starters who are ruled ineligible are removed from the roster.
Jose Ramirez – chance of selection: 15%
As an Indians fan, I would be excited for Ramirez to make the team. As a baseball fan, I think it’s a joke.
Ramirez is having a solid season, and far exceeding expectations, but his numbers fall well short of an All-Star caliber level. That said, he is arguably the best super utility man in the AL, which makes him a somewhat viable candidate in this era of All-Star Game silliness.
In 2015, Royals manage Ned Yost selected Red Sox utility man Brock Holt with very similar numbers to Ramirez. Ramirez is currently slashing .298/.367/.426 while Holt slashed .292/.379/.412 in the first half last season.
Holt was listed as the fourth second baseman on the roster, his primary position, but ended up being used as a pinch runner and playing left field in the game.
I hope the All-Star Game can eventually go back to being a meaningless exhibition of the best talents in baseball, but until then, players like Ramirez will be valued by the coaching staffs.
Cody Allen – chance of selection: 5%
This is a long shot, but since pitching staffs can get kinda silly with all the players dropping out Allen is worth mentioning.
A couple of rough early outings caused Allen’s ERA to rise, but he is 13-14 in save opportunities and his ERA has dropped back down to 3.38, thanks to 1.17 ERA in his last 14 outings.
If Allen continues to pitch at a high level and drops his ERA below 3.00, he’ll at least have a reasonable case. It then comes down to how others around him perform.
There are a few relievers who look like locks (Zach Britton, Alex Colome, Wade Davis, Andrew Miller), so his margin for error is very slim. But with a couple of injuries and bad outings by others, Allen could end up in the conversation.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Allen is perfect in four save opportunities against Yost’s Royals over the past two seasons and hasn’t yielded a run to them since 2014.