Baseball fans made KC Royals catcher Salvador Perez their overwhelming choice to start for the American League in next week’s All-Star Game, but he’ll be the only Royal making the trip to Colorado’s Coors Field for the annual midsummer game and festivities.
The League announced Sunday the pitchers and reserve position players, selected by AL player vote and the Commissioner’s Office, who’ll join the fan-chosen starters, and none are Royals.
Not a one. And unless a KC player is named to replace an injured or unavailable starter, pitcher or reserve, that’s the way things will stay.
It is, to be sure, the proper outcome. No other Royals truly deserve All-Star honors this season. No one was snubbed.
Not Whit Merrifield, a 2019 All-Star who arguably should have been selected in 2018 but wasn’t. A superb June—he slashed .351/.375/.544 with 12 multi-hit games—simply wasn’t sufficient to undo the damage to his chances a terrible May (he hit only .229) did.
Not Danny Duffy, although falling short of his first All-Star Game selection has everything to do with injury and nothing to do with performance. Duffy was one of the best starters in the league (4-3, 1.94 ERA) when the mid-May discovery of a left forearm flexor strain sidelined him for over a month; that his pitching had been stellar is an understatement He’s pitched four times with no decisions since returning June 23 and looks to be recovering nicely. Had injury not interrupted his season, he might well be pitching for the AL in Colorado next week.
And not Andrew Benintendi, who ended up in the same unenviable position as Duffy after suffering a rib fracture three weeks ago. Benintendi had recovered from a long slump at the time—he’d raised his average to .283 and his OBP to .340 with a .340/.377/.443 May after entering the last four games of April with a .194 average. An All-Star reserve spot certainly wasn’t out of the question until he landed on the Injured List. (Benintendi was back in the KC Royals’ lineup Sunday and went 0-for-3 in the club’s loss to Minnesota).
A busy and good KC Royals relief pitcher didn’t make the All-Star team.
Not even Scott Barlow, who among Royals not named Perez had the best case for making the All-Star team, should have been selected. Barlow, Kansas City’s Pitcher of the Month for May and June, is 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 39 relief appearances, and may now be KC’s closer—he saved the Royals’ Friday and Saturday victories over the Twins while Greg Holland pitched the eighth inning Friday and Saturday, and Staumont pitched the sixth Saturday.
But justifiably or not, the save remains an important measure of relievers’ effectiveness, and Barlow’s four don’t measure up to the numbers of this year’s four American League All-Star relievers. Chicago’s Liam Hendriks leads the league with 21, Boston’s Matt Barnes has 19, the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman has 16, and Houston’s Ryan Pressly has 14. So, despite his excellent work for the Royals, it’s not surprising Barlow didn’t make the team.
Only Salvador Perez will represent the KC Royals in next week’s All-Star Game. No other Kansas City players merited selection.