Felipe Vazquez Is This Year’s Biggest All-Star Snub
The biggest snub of the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star game is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Every season when the rosters for the MLB All-Star game are announced there are snubs. There are always players deserving of spots in the game that do not get them. For the 2019 edition of the Mid-Summer Classic, the biggest snub is a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pirate closer Felipe Vazquez is arguably the best reliever in all of baseball. This season he has been dominant at the back end of the Pirate bullpen and he is having the best season of his career. Despite this, as of now, he will not be participating in his second consecutive All-Star Game.
In 35 innings of work this season Vazquez owns a 1.80 ERA and a 2.18 FIP. His ERA is the second lowest of his career, while his FIP is a new career low. His 37.9% strikeout rate is a career high and his 6.2% walk rate is the second lowest of his career behind his 2015 rookie season. He has picked up 19 saves and is on pace to be a 3+ WAR pitcher for the first time in his career.
Vazquez’s rank among NL relievers also makes his case for being an All-Star. Among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched, Vazquez ranks 3rd in the NL in FIP, 4th in fWAR, 5th in strikeout rate and saves, and 8th in ERA.
Another reason Vazquez should be an All-Star is that he does something few people can do – he can hit 100+ MPH, regularly, as a lefty. He also has a four pitch mix, a rarity for relievers as well, that includes a wicked slider and a fall off the table changeup.
Part of the reason Vazquez was snubbed was due to MLB’s rule that every team must have at least one player in the All-Star Game. This is a ridiculous rule. Not every team will have a player worthy of playing the in the All-Star Game – sorry, Sandy Alcantara – but that’s a discussion for another day.
It remains possible that Vazquez could earn a spot in the All-Star Game. Between injuries and starting pitchers who pitch on Sunday making them ineligible for the game, roster spots will open up between now and next Tuesday. However, it should not take that to get arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball into the All-Star Game.