After years of hype and anticipation, the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., is only 11 days away. The fan vote concluded Thursday and on Sunday, the American and National League will announce 31 of the 32 members of the 2018 All-Star Game rosters. It would be a travesty if Trea Turner is not selected.
Somewhat lost amid this peculiar season for the Nationals has been Turner’s development as perhaps the best shortstop in the NL and one of the best in the majors. The 25-year-old Turner is batting .280/.357/.427 with 11 home runs, 51 runs scored and 22 stolen bases over 86 games played in 2018. This season Turner has made a particular effort to show more patience at the plate, notching a 10 percent walk rate this season compared to his career 7.2 percent.
Additionally, after years of baseball people knocking him defensively, he has quietly developed into an above-average defender at shortstop. He possesses outstanding range due to his superior speed and athletic ability. I fully admit his jump-throws to first base make me nervous like a teenager on a first date, but he has become proficient at this and has committed only nine errors all season.
Yet somehow his all-around excellence is largely being ignored by general baseball fans, as he was not among the top five in All-Star votes received for NL shortstops. San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford is having a strong season and likely was chosen by the fans to be the starting NL shortstop. This leaves Turner in a difficult predicament, as he is competing with all other NL shortstops for likely one backup position. It is a strong year at the position, as the Cubs’ Addison Russell, Dodgers’ Chris Taylor and Rockies’ Trevor Story are all having solid seasons in addition to Crawford and Turner. Turner’s numbers are arguably superior to his fellow competitors, but the competition is steep at shortstop.
Finally, with 15 NL teams and only 32 total spots, how many Nationals will be selected? Bryce Harper will probably be chosen by the fans and Max Scherzer looks poised to start the game for the NL. Fellow Nationals Sean Doolittle and Anthony Rendon have solid arguments to make the club and rookie sensation Juan Soto has already received hype as a potential option for the Final Vote for the 32nd player on the roster. Even considering Washington is the host city, it is difficult to envision the Nationals having more than three representatives.
This leaves Turner squeezed in an obvious roster crunch. And while Turner is having one of the best seasons of any National League player (sixth-best according to FanGraphs WAR), odds are he will not be selected to his first All-Star Game. This is truly unfortunate, as Turner is one of the most dynamic young players in baseball and Nationals fans deserve the chance to passionately cheer him during pregame introductions. If Turner is snubbed like Isiah Thomas from the 1992 Dream Team, I hope Nationals fans acknowledge this slight against him with an outpouring of support the rest of this season.
Ryan Sullivan blogs about the Nationals at The Nats GM and runs The Nats GM Show podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @NatsGMdotcom. His views appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.