While the Yankees have stumbled into the All-Star break with a 45-41 record, they are still sitting in second place in the American League East. Their recent struggles have really taken away from their excellent start to the year, but they are certainly well represented in this year’s All-Star game on July 11th. The Yankees who will be in attendance are outfielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, second baseman Starlin Castro, starting pitcher Luis Severino, and reliever Dellin Betances. Judge and Sanchez also announced that they will both be taking part in the Home Run Derby on July 10th. There was also a possibility that the Yankees ended up with six All-Stars, but shortstop Didi Gregorious did not win the “Final Five” vote in the American League.
Judge was the only Yankee voted in by the fans as a starter, but that’s not at all a surprise. The rookie phenomenon actually led the entire American League in votes. He’s currently leading the AL home runs (30) and RBI’s (66) and he’s in the top three among qualifiers in batting average. If he ups his average a bit, he could be the first rookie to ever win a Triple-Crown and just the second player to win the Triple-Crown since 1967 (the other player was Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers in 2012). It’s crazy to think that Judge was fighting for a starting spot in right field (and maybe even a roster spot) and now he’s emerged as one of the best hitters in all of baseball.
One could argue that Gary Sanchez deserved to be the AL’s starting catcher this year, but serving as the backup after missing a month of the season will have to do. Sanchez has tallied 13 homers, 40 RBI’s, and 38 runs scored. The runs are the most for an AL catcher and the home runs and RBI’s trail only All-Star starter Salvador Perez of the Royals. One could argue that Sanchez has played better than Perez this season. Sanchez edges Perez is several important categories like on-base percentage, OPS, and WAR. Sanchez also has the advantage in batting average, even if it is only by a single point. It would’ve been nice to see Sanchez get the starting nod, but the Yankees look like they have a fantastic pair of franchise cornerstones in Sanchez and Judge, as both reached the All-Star game in their first full seasons as starters.
Starlin Castro is another Yankee who may have deserved a spot in the starting lineup, although it’s a tougher case to make. It’s incredibly difficult to say that he should be starting over Jose Altuve, as the Astros’ diminutive second baseman is one of the best hitters in all of baseball. However, Castro’s season has been quite impressive. Castro is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but he’s still managed 12 home runs, 45 RBI’s, 52 runs scored, a slash line of .313/.348/.486, an .835 OPS, and a 1.6 WAR. His stat line is excellent, and while he doesn’t lead in any category among AL second baseman (like he was a few weeks ago), there’s no denying that he belongs on the All-Star team.
Luis Severino is one of nine American League starting pitchers on the roster, and there’s no doubt he’s earned it. While his last two starts against the Houston Astros and the Milwaukee Brewers weren’t great, he has still had an incredible, bounce-back year. Last season, Sevy really struggled between starting and coming out of the bullpen, as his ERA at the end of the year was a terrible 5.83. He didn’t look like the same pitcher that he was in his rookie season, when he posted a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. This year, he’s been excellent in his 17 starts, and he’s starting to look like the “ace” of the rotation. While his ERA is 9th among AL starting pitchers, and he only has a 5-4 record, you could make the argument that he’s been a top five or six pitcher in the AL this year. He also has a major-league leading six games that have be blown by the bullpen, which means that his record would currently be at 11-4 if the Yankees’ relievers had held up in those games. Severino has been roughed up in a couple starts recently, but he’s certainly having an excellent year.
The final Yankee All-Star is a guy who is rather familiar with the event, as Dellin Betances has now been selected to his fourth consecutive All-Star game. You might look at Betances’ stats and see that his ERA is not great at 3.18, but that’s not why he’s still an All-Star this year. While his name certainly helps, most of the important pitching stats are in Betances’ favor. Going into the Yankees’ June 22nd contest with the Angels, Betances had an absolutely ridiculous 0.40 ERA. Since then, he’s really struggled with his command, as he’s been walking batters at an alarming rate and teams are also taking advantage of his slow delivery and running on him at will. There’s no denying he’s still an elite reliever. Seeing Betances in the All-Star game should surprise no one
Even though Gregorious did not get voted in, the Yankees are certainly well-represented. The fact that most of these guys are incredibly young also bodes well for the future of the team. With Judge (25), Sanchez (24), Severino (23), Castro (27) and Betances (29), the Yankees are clearly in good hands and have several guys who can be All-Stars for years to come.