[I'm doing this as a fan post so I can be as ticked off as I want to be. Content is still family friendly and safe for work, but I don't have to pretend to be professional towards a certain manager who apparently needs help with his tasks, like picking All Stars. Do they have an assisted-living facility that can handle that?]
First, the TL;DR version:
Jake Lamb joins Larry Walker in 1995 as the only NL slugging percentage leader to be left off the All Star team. After the list, more explaining as to how bad this is.
1974 is the first season for which first half splits are available, so this list is 1974-Present
- 1974: Mike Schmidt, .563. Was reserve, walked twice, scored a run.
- 1975: Greg Luzinski, .599. Pinch hit in seventh and struck out.
- 1976: Joe Morgan, .612. Starting at second base, batting third.
- 1977: Mike Schmidt, .632. Got into game as a pinch runner. The two other NL players with a SLG higher than Lamb's .612 were Luzinski and George Foster, and both of them started.
- 1978: Jack Clark, .554. Struck out in eighth inning.
- 1979: Dave Kingman, .634. Was named to team but didn't get into game, possibly injured. Schmidt and Dave Winfield had SLG% higher than .612, and both started.
- 1980: Mike Schmidt, .608. Named to team, did not play. Likely injured.
- 1981: Andre Dawson, .598. Starting center fielder.
- 1982: Gary Carter, .588. Starting catcher.
- 1983: Dale Murphy, .592. Starting right fielder
- 1984: Ryne Sandberg, .548. Starting second baseman.
- 1985: Pedro Guerrero, .582. Named to team, did not play.
- 1986: Hubie Brooks, .569. Backup shortstop, two plate appearances, scored a run.
- 1987: Eric Davis, .694. Starting left fielder. Jack Clark was only other player above .612, and he started at first base.
- 1988: Andres Galarraga, .607. Backup first baseman, two plate appearances.
- 1989: Kevin Mitchell, .692. Starting left fielder.
- 1990: Barry Bonds, .615. Backup outfielder, two plate appearances.
- 1991: Barry Larkin, .557. Backup shortstop, one plate apperance.
- 1992: Barry Bonds, .588. Starting left fielder.
- 1993: Barry Bonds, .696. Starting left fielder. Galarraga also had SLG over .612, was Rockies representative.
- 1994: Jeff Bagwell, .698. Backup first baseman. Went 2-for-4. Kevin Mitchell had a .661 SLG and wasn't on the team
- 1995: Larry Walker, .651. Walker was left off the team. Ron Gant was second at .613 and was starting DH.
- 1996: Ellis Burks, .629. Backup outfielder. Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, and Bagwell also had SLG over .612, and all were on the team.
- 1997: Larry Walker, .741. Starting right fielder. Ray Lankford and Bagwell also had SLG over .612, and both started as well.
- 1998: Mark McGwire, .769. Starting first baseman. Sammy Sosa, Greg Vaughn, and Galarraga all were above .612, and all were on the team.
- 1999: Larry Walker, .738. Starting right fielder. Bagwell, Sosa, and Sean Casey were all above .612, and all were on the team.
- 2000: Mark McGwire, .747. Unable to play due to injury, but on team. Nine other players had a slugging percentage equal to or above .612. Only Ryan Klesko (ninth in the NL at .625) was not on the team.
- 2001: Barry Bonds, .826. Starting left fielder. Ten other players were .612 or higher. Every single one of them was on the team.
- 2002: Barry Bonds, .780. Starting left fielder. Five other players were at .612 or higher. Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds, and Brian Giles were left off the team with SLG of .612 or higher (Edmonds and Giles were .616 and .612, respectively.)
- 2003: Barry Bonds, .719. Starting DH. Jose Guillen, fifth in slugging at .616, was only player higher than .612 left out.
- 2004: Barry Bonds, .794. Starting left fielder. J.D. Drew (.628) was left out.
- 2005: Derrek Lee, .733. Starting first baseman. For the first time since 1992, he was the only player above .612.
- 2006: Albert Pujols, .703. Starting first baseman.
- 2007: Prince Fielder, .620. Starting first baseman.
- 2008: Lance Berkman, .653. Starting first baseman. Chipper Jones was at .614 and started at third base.
- 2009: Albert Pujols, .723. Starting first baseman. Raul Ibanez (.649) also started, and Prince Fielder (.614) backed up Pujols.
- 2010: Joey Votto, .589. Backed up Pujols at first base.
- 2011: Lance Berkman, .602. Starting right fielder.
- 2012: Andrew McCutchen, .625. Backup outfielder. Votto, at .617, was the starting first baseman.
- 2013: Carlos Gonzalez, .610. Starting left fielder.
- 2014: Troy Tulowitzki, .613. Starting shortstop.
- 2015: Bryce Harper, .704. Starting right fielder.
- 2016: Jake Lamb, .612. Watching from his couch.
Since the end of the steroid era (2005-Present) only two players have posted a slugging percentage of .612 or higher and not started the All Star Game. One of those players (Prince Fielder in 2009) was backing up the league leader in slugging percentage. By that alone, not only should Lamb be on the roster, maybe he should be starting? I wouldn't go quite that far, but it is patently ridiculous he isn't on the team.
Even at the height of the steroid era (1998-2001) 88.5% of players with an SLG of .612 or higher made the All Star team.
Even players who were not big stars and not playing for good teams or in big markets made the team. Ellis Burks is one example, Andres Galarraga in 1988 another, and Sean Casey in 1999 a third. (OK, the 1999 Reds were a good team, but Casey was a relative unknown, and he was fourth in slugging percentage, barely above Lamb's mark.)
Had Terry Collins been left to select a Diamondback and picked Lamb over Goldy, I doubt too many people would have complained. But Goldy was voted in (by the players), so Collins apparently decided he didn't have to worry his little head over any other Diamondbacks. I'm not even sure the farce of a final vote counted the votes correctly (I received hundreds of error messages about an hour after the vote closed, which makes me doubt any text votes were actually counted.) Putting Jay Bruce (a terrible fielder with an OPS over 100 points lower than Lamb's) on the team was a total farce. Seriously, the Reds already had a representative, and if the D-backs being bad hurts Lamb, that should hurt Bruce more, as the Reds are even worse.
At least when Larry Walker was snubbed in 1995, it could be argued that his numbers were the beneficiary of the pre-humidor Coors Field. Still, Walker should have been included (and Felipe Alou, of all people, should have known that. His absence makes me wonder if they had issues in Montreal.) Interestingly enough, the knock on Walker, as on Lamb, was his supposed inability to hit lefties. For his career, though, while 90 points lower, he still posted an OPS over 900 against LHP.
At least Jake Lamb can sit on his couch and realize he's in good company. Maybe he can go out and put together Hall of Fame numbers like Walker did, so that he can get snubbed on that front like Walker is, too.