For the fifth consecutive season, Ryan Braun will be playing in the All-Star Game. For the first time, though, it will not be as a starter.
In his first four appearances, Braun was the leading vote-getter among National League outfielders, and was the leading vote-getter in the NL overall last season. This year, Braun held the third outfield spot in the final voting update, but fell behind San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera and was unable to edge out Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp. Kemp is unlikely to play in the All-Star Game, meaning there’s a chance Braun could still start, but it won’t be as a fan selection. Carlos Beltran rounds out the starting three.
There’s little question Braun’s numbers (.313/.394/.611, league-leading 22 HRs, .423 wOBA, 4.0 fWAR) are deserving of the Midsummer Classic, but you can’t help but wonder how much what happened over the winter affected how fans outside of Wisconsin voted. It’s hard to criticize the selections of Beltran and Cabrera too much, though, who have both turned in impressive first halves.
Despite the team’s overall disappointing play, Braun probably shouldn’t have been the Brewers’ only All-Star. Zack Greinke was left off the NL squad in favor of guys like Arizona’s Wade Miley and St. Louis’ Lance Lynn. Greinke’s numbers aren’t quite as good as they were that were, but still clearly deserving of the All-Star nod: 102 strikeouts in 102 innings, striking out 24.8% of the guys he’s faced, just 22 walks and a 2.22 FIP.
There’s still an outside chance Greinke could be named as a replacement in case of injury, but another way in — one of the starters pitching the Sunday before the break, thus becoming ineligible for the All-Star Game — doesn’t seem to be a possibility for Greinke this year. As of today, none of the starters selected will be pitching that Sunday. He wasn’t among the five selected for the NL’s “Final Vote,” either. Greinke’s only hope now is an injury or someone unexpectedly backing out, which is now much harder for a player to do under the new CBA.
If Greinke isn’t named as a replacement, this will be the first time since 2005 the Brewers have only had one All-Star.