Washington Nationals: Josh Bell Snubbed From NL All Star Team
By Max Rayman
Despite being top five in most major categories amongst NL first basemen, Josh Bell was snubbed from the All-Star team.
Due to the fan vote, every team having at least one representative, and a limited roster, the MLB All-Star game is always full of snubs. Sadly, this year the Nationals’ Josh Bell was the latest victim and it isn’t even close. With Juan Soto being the Nats’ required representative and four other first basemen already on the team, Josh Bell was omitted.
On the season Bell is slashing, .304/.386/.491, with 12 homers, 47 RBIs, and an OPS of .870. Amongst all NL first basemen, he’s second in batting average, OPS+, bWAR, and OBP, third in fWAR and batting average, fourth in wRC+ and OPS, fifth in slugging%, seventh in RBIs, and eighth in homers. He also has the lowest strikeout percentage (13.3%).
Yet in his place are Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso, C.J. Cron, and Albert Pujols. Goldschmidt was voted the NL starter at first and rightly so. He leads all first basemen in most major categories and is the frontrunner to win NL MVP.
Pujols made the team as a legacy pick, a new element that was added to this year’s game. His addition doesn’t take a roster spot away from anyone. Pete Alonso is having a terrific season and is a primary reason why the Mets are in first place in the NL East. He leads all first basemen in homers and RBIs, but has a massive advantage over Bell.
He’s surrounded by a much better team. Outside of Juan Soto, Bell hasn’t had much protection in the lineup and when he does bat with runners on — he isn’t being fully pitched to (24 of his 40 walks have come with runners on). Yet, he still leads Alonso in batting average, OPS+, bWAR, and fWAR.
Cron is the Rockies’ lone representative — slashing an impressive .295/.350/.551, with 20 homers, 66 RBIs, and an OPS of .901. But Cron benefits from playing his home games at Coors road and has terrible home and road splits — slashing .229/.296/.399, with five homers, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of .695 on the road. Comparatively, Bell’s numbers are almost identical regardless of if he’s playing at home or away.
With the Nats last in the NL, Bell was unfairly overlooked. Now, his only chance to make his second All-Star team is for someone to pull out, which isn’t out of the question. It worked for Max Scherzer last year.