This was the anticipated result, with Ozuna reaching via the fan vote at the third starting outfield spot in the National League and Stanton being voted to the team by his peers. Also anticipated (but still disappointing) was the exclusion of the other two deserving Marlins candidates: Justin Bour and JT Realmuto.
The Marlins backstop is putting up yet another fine season, batting .289/.348/.449 in 279 plate appearances with a .160 ISO and 1.8 fWAR to date. He’s only .1 fWAR away from matching his first full season in 2015 and is threatening to match his stellar campaign from last season where he notched 3.5 fWAR.
As with most All-Star snubs, Realmuto’s main problem wasn’t with his own performance but rather the performance of his peers. Buster Posey will be the NL starter at catcher and deservedly so, slashing .339/.416/.521 with 3.1 fWAR already. As long as Buster Posey continues to be BUSTER POSEY, no one will be dethroning him anytime soon.
That being said, I had hoped there might be some room for Realmuto to sneak onto the squad as a reserve back-up catcher, but the presence of another long-time stalwart in Yadier Molina dashed that dream. Realmuto stacks up favorably to Molina by most every statistic, but he simply doesn’t have the name recognition that Molina has garnered by playing at a high level for ten plus seasons (and playing in St. Louis).
I’d break out some defensive catching metrics but...well, let’s keep it real. Unless you’re awful behind the dish, those play no role in getting onto the All-Star team. It is, at it’s core, a popularity contest.
Bour is unquestionably in the midst of a break-out season, slashing .285/.358/.550 with 1.5 fWAR to his name, already the best contribution of his career. He’s hitting the ball with authority like he always has, but he’s added an important tool to his arsenal that kept him from being an everyday player previously: The ability to hit lefties. Bour can boast a robust .321 average against left-handers this season with six homeruns and 18 runs driven in (I will take this opportunity to pat myself on the back, thank you very much).
It’s made him a valuable commodity not only to the Marlins but to teams around the league trying to boost their own lineups. You add all that up together with the fact that the All-Star game is IN Miami this year, and Justin Bour looked like a decent shot to make his first All-Star appearance this season.
Unfortunately, the NL first base field is filled with deserving candidates. Ryan Zimmerman, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto all made the team. Los Angeles Dodgers rookie phenom Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs superstar Anthony Rizzo, and the powerful Eric Thames will all be sitting this one out (short of being selected as an injury reserve).
There is yet hope for Bour, though. He has been included in MLB’s “final vote,” which is designed to give the fans one more shot to select a deserving player from each league to make their respective rosters.
The Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins have teamed up in an attempt to get both Justin Bour and former Marlin Logan Morrison into this game.
Like Captain Planet, with their Floridian powers combined, the two Sunshine State first basemen might just make it in. Let’s make it happen.