Michael Conforto was named as a reserve to the National League All-Star team on Sunday. So my prediction was off by a year.
In my 2016 season preview, I wrote “Michael Conforto will be an All-Star.” It didn’t happen last year, but it did now. Conforto is worthy, even if he has slowed down a bit lately. He batted just .206 in June, bringing his average down from a high of .341 to .285. He has 14 homers and 41 RBIs and is currently on the disabled list with a bruised left hand.
Personally, I would have chosen Jay Bruce. He’s got 20 home runs and 55 RBIs to go along with a .261 batting average. Those numbers are strikingly similar to Dodgers phenom Cody Bellinger — 24 homers, 56 RBIs, a .260 average — and he’s on the team.
Ultimately, I think Bruce will end up being an injury replacement for Conforto. Conforto should be activated before the game, but I suspect the Mets will want him to sit out and give his hand a little more time to heal.
Jacob deGrom could also end up being an injury replacement or for a pitcher who started on the Sunday before the game, and thus would be unavailable.
So many deserving players were snubbed this year in part because the rosters were reduced from 34 to 32 players. This was part of the new collective bargaining agreement. I wonder if the players pushed this; many of them would rather rest for a few days than attend the game.
If not, there was no reason to cut back. Instead, let them expand to 40 or even more so there would hardly be any snubs. Really, who cares how many players are on the team? This is a game for the fans, and fans want to see their guys introduced before the game. What good does it do to have a roster limited to an average of two players per team? With many teams having more than two deserving players and every team needing to be represented, it does not leave room to include everyone. I mean, Justin Turner is hitting .382 (because of DL time, he is short by a few dozen at bats to qualify for the league lead) and he didn’t make the cut!
In any case, good for Michael Conforto. After taking a huge step back last year, there were questions if he would live up to his promise. All-Star or not, those questions are now answered.