Cedric Mullins was not voted into the American League’s All-Star Game starting lineup despite being the league’s best outfielder this season
With phase two of fan voting for the MLB All-Star Game concluding last Thursday, the news of which players earned the starting nod in both the National League and American League was announced. The Baltimore Orioles‘ lone All-Star ballot finalist, outfielder Cedric Mullins, was unfortunately overlooked.
Major League Baseball announced that fans had voted in Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, and Toronto Blue Jays’ Teoscar Hernandez to man the outfield to begin this year’s All-Star Game at Coors Field. What makes these fan-voted selections so difficult to understand the reasoning behind is just how much better Cedric Mullins has been than all three of the players who were chosen.
Entering play on Tuesday, Cedric Mullins is slashing .318/.385/.547 with 101 hits, the fourth-most in Major League Baseball and the most of any hitter in the American League. His defensive abilities don’t lag behind either, tied for the sixth-most outfield assists in the American League. All around, Mullins’ 3.6 fWAR is the very best of any AL outfielder this season.
As for the players selected, there are reasonable cases for each player. Fan voting will always warrant a Yankees starter, Teoscar Hernandez has played a decent role for a surging Blue Jays team, and Mike Trout is, well, Mike Trout. However, each one of the cases for these players has holes much more significant than that of Cedric Mullins.
Aaron Judge has posted the highest chase rate of his career since 2016 while the Yankees, who entered the season with World Series aspirations, flounder around .500 in the standings. For Teoscar Hernandez, an fWAR of just 1.0 this season tells the story. Hernandez has missed time due to a positive COVID-19 test and has somewhat lost his command of the plate, posting the lowest walk rate of his career to this point. Lastly, for Mike Trout, it’s simply been a case of injuries plaguing his season. Trout has not played a baseball game in nearly two months, suffering a calf strain in May.
While the size of the Baltimore market may have hindered his case for a starting role, it’s clear that Mullins belongs among the upper echelon of outfielders in Major League Baseball this season, and being awarded an obligatory reserve role simply doesn’t seem justified.