Every year, there are inevitably players who don't make it to the All-Star rosters, who probably deserve to have gone. This can happen for a variety of reasons; sometimes their strength lies not in their obviously-sexy stats like batting average or home-runs, or they may play in a market where national media attention is hard to come by. They may be part of a very crowded position, so lose out to less talented players at other spots on the diamond. For example, but D-backs broadcaster Tom Candiotti, who had 41.0 bWAR in his career, never got to play in an All-Star Game. Nor did our manager, Kirk Gibson, though he declined the honor twice.
Even in the short history of the D-backs, there are a number of players who seem like they might have been unjustly overlooked, either in favor of team-mates or apparently inferior candidates from other clubs. After the jump, we'll look at some Arizonans who were left pressing their nose against the glass from outside.
A couple of points on numbers. I have stuck purely to the first-half statistics for each player. I know some people make the argument that the All-Star Game is really for performances from the previous contest i.e. including the second-half of last season too. But I do not know anyone who goes to the trouble of looking up the numbers and combining them when making their selections. I have also used non-park adjusted stats, partly because advanced stats like WAR aren't available in first/second half splits. And let's just say, there's a reason Troy Tulowitzki is an All-Star, even as he has hit a mediocre .270 over his career away from Coors...
1998 - David Dellucci: .290/.358/.475. Appeared in 62 games before the break and those numbers more than stand up to the man who was eventually picked, Devon White, who hit .292/.337/.478. White had the sexy home-runs though, 13 of them, compared to Dellucci's six. Travis Lee (.284/.355/.479, 17 HR) was another credible candidate.
2001 - Mark Grace: .319/.411/.504. It was a heck of a first-half for National League first-basemen, Grace one of four to post an OPS better than .910 before the break. He was the only one not to make the roster, even if Albert Pujols did so as an outfielder. Grace's numbers were as deserving as Sean Casey (.329/.387/.505), who did get to play.
2003 - Steve Finley: .308/.386/.550. This was a different era. Finley's .936 OPS was good for ninth-best among NL outfielders (min. 250 PAs): at time of writing, only Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman and Ryan Braun are even above .905 in 2011. Some asterisks likely deserve to be handed out to a few of those 2003 numbers, I suspect...
2003 - Brandon Webb: 7-2, 2.41 ERA, 97 IP. Webb's late jump on the season - his first start was April 27 - might have been crucial, though Dontrelle Willis made the roster, despite only 82.1 innings of work. Only three NL pitchers with 80 IP had a better ERA at the break than Webb. The Rockies' Shaun Chacon and his 4.27 ERA made it instead.
2005 - Shawn Green: .282/.346/.494. Gonzo went for Arizona, but his .828 OPS trailed Green (.840), Chad Tracy (.847) and Troy Glaus (.867). Tracy and Glaus, played the corner infield so had a good bit more competition. but why Green didn't get the nod is unclear. He had more HR than Gonzalez and an almost identical average.
2008 - Brandon Lyon: 2.43 ERA, 19 Sv, 1.14 WHIP. One more save might have done it for Lyon, as no closer with less than twenty saves was on the roster. Lyon certainly deserved it over Carlos Marmol. Then a set-up man to Kerry Wood with a 3.61 ERA, he was there - and not even as the sole Cub, because they had six others take part that year.
2009 - Mark Reynolds: .258/.349/.538. The two third basemen on the NL roster were Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright, but their numbers (.827 and .872 OPS respectively, compared to Mark's .888) were lower. Only Pujols had more HR in the NL before the break than Special K; he lost out in the Final Man vote to (ugh) Shane Victorino.
2010 - Kelly Johnson: .276/.374/.497. Led all NL second-basemen with an .870 first-half OPS; Charlie Manuel's reserves instead included Omar Infante and his empty .332 average, with absolutely no power (a mere two first-half home-runs, compared to KJ's 14). Taking that into account, Infante had an OPS 108 points lower than Johnson.