Major League Baseball
2023 MLB All-Star Game snubs: Fernando Tatís Jr., Wander Franco among biggest misses
Major League Baseball

2023 MLB All-Star Game snubs: Fernando Tatís Jr., Wander Franco among biggest misses

Updated Jul. 5, 2023 2:23 p.m. ET

(Editor's note: The following story has been updated to reflect the selections of Wander Franco, George Kirby and David Bednar as injury replacements for the 2023 All-Star Game.)

Here’s the good news: Major League Baseball is practically overflowing with exciting talents who continue to amaze and impress us on a daily basis. 

The bad news? They can’t all be All-Stars.

The result: Every year, without fail, all 30 fan bases feel that at least one of their players has been the victim of a grave injustice in not being invited to the Midsummer Classic. Thousands, if not millions of fans are disgruntled over a select few players whose brilliant showings over the season’s first few months have failed to be properly recognized. The timelines are disgruntled, to say the least. And on behalf of these passionate, aggrieved fans, I am here to participate in said disgruntledness. (Is that a word?)


All those players who did make the team? They are incredible, of course. Almost entirely deserving, worthy candidates. And as always, we must also remember that several of those excluded will assuredly end up with invites to Seattle in the coming days. Four players from each of my 2021 and 2022 All-Snub teams were ultimately selected as All-Stars in place of injured players. With several known injuries to All-Stars like Aaron Judge and Yordan Álvarez all but certain to necessitate replacements, it’s only a matter of time before these rosters grow to include some of the names mentioned below. 

But this is about capturing what we the fans are feeling at this moment, with some of our favorite players failing to be celebrated during the initial wave of announced All-Stars. 

Certain positions were more crowded with convincing candidates than others — the truth is, we saw a lot of these coming. The reverse is also true, with a notably weak AL second base crop resulting in the inclusion of the Blue Jays' Whit Merrifield via the player ballots despite a good-not-great season from the eight-year veteran. Factor in the rule that every team must have at least one representative — a rule I fully support as a vehicle to guarantee every fan base at least one player to cheer for — and there will always be limitations to crafting the best possible rosters. 

Still, I wanted to offer up alternatives at every spot on the diamond and make sure as many fan bases’ grievances were represented as possible. Without further ado, your 2023 MLB All-Snubs:

C William Contreras, Brewers

It’s hard to argue with the catching crop, especially considering Kansas City (Salvador Pérez) and Colorado (Elias Díaz) both needed All-Stars. Even without the team representation requirements, Díaz has a reasonable case over Contreras, but Contreras has actually been a better park-adjusted hitter and deserves recognition for developing into a legitimately plus defender at the game’s toughest position since arriving in Milwaukee with a poor reputation behind the dish. 

1B LaMonte Wade Jr., Giants

I think his teammate across the diamond, J.D. Davis, has a decent All-Star case, as well. But it’s Wade who has been driving the Giants' offense all season long, especially as an on-base machine in the leadoff spot. His .416 OBP is third in baseball only to Luis Arráez and Juan Soto, so it’s safe to say he’s doing something right! 

2B Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks

I recently highlighted Marte’s spectacular June as an underrated part of Arizona’s grip on first place in the NL West. He hasn’t just been playing like an All-Star, he’s been playing like the guy who finished fourth in NL MVP voting in 2019. He’s clearly one of the game’s best second basemen and deserves to be in Seattle where his career began back in 2015. 

SS Wander Franco, Rays

This one is so glaringly obvious that it almost feels like a waste of time to even bother making an All-Star case for the guy who is third in MLB in bWAR behind only Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. I have to imagine Franco will be first in line as an injury replacement in the coming days. (Note: Franco was announced as an injury replacement for Aaron Judge on Tuesday.)

Tampa Bay Rays superstar Wander Franco makes baseball more fun with dazzling play

3B Spencer Steer, Reds

He’s bounced around a few different positions to help accommodate the Reds' fluctuating positional needs, but Steer has quietly been one of the NL’s best rookies at the plate and the hot corner is his natural position. He may not get the recognition of fellow Reds rookie infielders Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain, but his 131 wRC+ trails only only José Ramírez and fellow snub Isaac Paredes among third basemen. 

OF Luke Raley or Josh Lowe, Rays

Speaking of Paredes, he is one of several Rays hitters with legitimate gripes alongside not just the obvious in Franco, but also two sluggers in the outfield in Raley and Lowe. Raley’s 166 wRC+ is sixth in MLB among players (min. 200 plate appearances), while Lowe has broken out big time in his first full-season of big-league opportunities. He's one of just five players with at least 12 homers and 19 steals this season.  

OF Fernando Tatís Jr., Padres

I’m not especially shocked that a player with a PED suspension wasn’t selected by either his peers or the league office. But if this game is supposed to be a showcase of the game’s best and brightest stars, Tatís — who could realistically go 30/30 this year while playing excellent defense at his new home in right field — belongs as much as anyone. 

MLB All-Star Voting Update: San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr should be an All-Star

OF Brandon Nimmo, Mets

It’s hard to believe that Nimmo has never made an All-Star Game, but he’s certainly played well enough to earn an invite to Seattle this year. Some wondered if Nimmo could replicate what appeared to be a career season in 2022 after signing a massive eight-year, $162 million deal to stay in the Queens, and he’s been every bit as good, if not better in 2023. It wasn’t especially shocking to see the disappointing Mets get only one All-Star in Pete Alonso, but I think Nimmo had an even stronger case than the Polar Bear to be that lone representative. 

SP Jesús Luzardo, Marlins

Rookie sensation Eury Pérez has understandably gotten the bulk of the attention as the Marlins starter who has stepped up the most in the wake of defending NL Cy Young Sandy Alcantara's struggles, but Luzardo deserves way more love. The 25-year-old southpaw has the sixth-highest strikeout rate among all qualified starters and a 3.28 FIP that ranks 12th-best. He’s carried over the momentum from his tremendous second half in 2022 and is primed to be one of the better left-handers in the game for years to come atop the Miami rotation.  

SP Joe Ryan or Pablo López, Twins

Sonny Gray was certainly worthy of getting the nod, but this legitimately excellent Twins rotation deserves more than just one starter considering how much its carried the club during the first half. Ryan and López have each leveled up in different ways since arriving to the Twin Cities at the time of their respective trades, and both have dominated the strike zone to support their strong run prevention efforts: Ryan ranks third among qualified starters in K-BB%; López ranks fifth. 

SP George Kirby, Mariners

The host Mariners landed just one All-Star in right-hander Luis Castillo, and while I don’t think he’s an egregious pick by any stretch, Kirby feels like the one who has elevated his game to a greater level in 2023. His 2.2% walk rate is comfortably the lowest in baseball, and he’s pitched deep into games when the Mariners have needed it most. Thirteen of his 16 appearances have been quality starts, the best rate of any starting pitcher in baseball. (Note: Kirby was announced as an injury replacement for Shane McClanahan on Tuesday.

SP Blake Snell, Padres

While his teammate Michael Wacha has the lowest ERA among non All-Star starting pitchers, it’s Snell who has looked utterly dominant for the past month, racking up a ridiculous 60 strikeouts to just 11 walks across 37 innings of work over his past six starts to go with a 0.73 ERA. It wasn’t the prettiest start to the season, but this is the best Snell has looked since his 2018 Cy Young campaign. He belongs in the All-Star Game, especially in his hometown of Seattle. 

SP Tyler Wells, Orioles

It’s rare to see two relievers from the same team make the All-Star team, but Félix Bautista and Yennier Canó absolutely earned it. That said, Wells’ breakout this year also warrants recognition. His 0.88 WHIP leads all qualified starting pitchers and his .184 BAA is second only to Ohtani. It’s been a massive step forward for the massive right-hander, and he’s been the steadiest starter for one of the best teams in the AL. 

RP David Bednar, Pirates

The Pirates’ ridiculously volatile first half has made it difficult to spotlight a closer in Bednar, but he’s been even better than he was during his first All-Star season in 2022. The 1.44 ERA with 16 saves passed the traditional eye test, but the ridiculous underlying data demonstrating how hard it is for hitters to make meaningful contact against Bednar is arguably even more impressive. (Note: Bednar was announced as an injury replacement for Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday.)

RP Jhoan Duran, Twins

Duran might top the list of pitchers whose stuff is so patently absurd that it is hard to fathom how anyone ever gets a hit against him. I could argue he belongs in the All-Star Game on his stuff alone, headlined by the hardest average fastball in the sport and a 99 mph splitter, but his stats aren’t too shabby, either. It’s not great that I’m making this case coming off Duran’s first outing all year in which he allowed two runs, but that also goes to show how consistent he’s been until his clunker on Sunday in Baltimore. 

RP Clay Holmes, Yankees

Holmes was one of the best stories of last season’s first half, a revelation in the Bronx as one of baseball’s most invincible relievers. He hasn’t been quite as elite this year yet remains one of the game's best bullpen arms. In fact, he’s been the most reliable button for manager Aaron Boone to press within a bullpen that boasts the lowest ERA of any relief corps MLB. There are a lot of hard-throwing back-end guys to choose from as in any year, but I’ll still roll with Holmes as a worthy All-Star in 2023.

Jordan Shusterman is half of @CespedesBBQ and a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He has covered baseball for his entire adult life, most notably for, DAZN and The Ringer. He's a Mariners fan living in the Eastern Time Zone, which means he loves a good 10 p.m. first pitch. You can follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.

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