The 2015 MLB All-Star Game is set for Tuesday, July 14 at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, and two members of the Oakland Athletics will be on-hand for the festivities.
On Monday, pitcher Sonny Gray and catcher Stephen Vogt were named to the American League roster, marking the first time either player has been selected as an All-Star.
Gray’s selection was a no-brainer, considering he’s among the top pitchers in the AL this season. Entering play Monday, Gray is 9-3 with a 2.09 ERA, having only allowed 25 earned runs in 107 2/3 innings pitched. Batters are hitting just .205 against him, too.
If not for Gray’s recent bout with bacterial gastroenteritis (which caused him to miss two starts and puts him in line for a start the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game), he’d be a viable option to start for the AL. Instead, he could wind up pitching out of the bullpen unless the A’s hold him back for health reasons.
As for Vogt, that he’s made it all the way to an All-Star Game is a remarkable accomplishment. Vogt’s had a career renaissance in Oakland over the past season and a half, after being a minor league player for much of his professional career prior to joining the A’s.
So far in 80 games in 2015, Vogt is slashing .290/.380/.502 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs, while accumulating a WAR of 3.0. How good has he been? His teammate Sean Doolittle laid it out on Twitter after hearing the news on Monday:
Vogt said more to Jane Lee of MLB.com: "Today’s been a pretty cool day. Bob [Melvin] told me this afternoon and let me know I’d been chosen by the players to be on the All-Star team. For me, that was just unbelievable to be getting that call. When he told me it was a player vote, it made it even more so special."
Gray, too, is looking forward to sharing the experience with Vogt, with whom he’s experienced much of his success with the A’s: "It’s really exciting. It’s something you kind of work towards, and not many people get to be part of an All-Star team, and me and Vogty both have worked really hard this year. It’s very exciting."
The A’s are still in last place in the AL West despite some stronger play over the past few weeks, yet they still could have had three players picked for the Midsummer Classic. Right fielder Josh Reddick, hitting .288/.346/.463 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs, was not listed as an AL reserve, probably due to the depth of American League outfielders as well as the A’s status as a last-place club. Still, if somebody wanted to call Reddick a ‘snub’ due to his omission, a case could be made.
In Vogt and Gray, however, the AL roster will have two very deserving players being justly rewarded for standout first halves of the 2015 season.