Since his debut in 2006, Nick Markakis has done some pretty impressive things in the majors. He’s posted a .400-plus OBP in a season, as well as eight seasons with a batting average above .290. He’s won two Gold Gloves. By OPS+, he’s been an above-average MLB hitter in all but two of his seasons. He’s made over $100 million in his career.
By sheer volume of decent seasons, you’d think Markakis would have started a season hot enough to make an All-Star team. And yet, he didn’t.
That long wait ended Sunday for Markakis, who received his first career All-Star nod while in the midst of a career year powering the Braves’ first place lineup. Markakis made the team through the All-Star fan vote, leading all NL outfielders in votes with 3,556,469.
One of the happiest people to see Markakis make the team was his longtime Orioles teammate Adam Jones.
My man Nick Markakis finally got the recognition he’s deserved. 13 years! Plays everyday! No excuses! Grinds!!!!! Maaan I’m sooo happy for you pimp. Allstar player. Finally and looong over due. Maaaaan I’m so happy right now. Like a kid in a candy store!!!
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) July 8, 2018
Nick Markakis posting career year at 34 years old
Through 88 games in 2018, Markakis is third in the batting race with a .324 average and leads the NL in hits. He’s also on pace for a career high in slugging percentage at .494. Not bad for a player who hadn’t topped a .400 slugging percentage since 2012 entering this season.
“Whether it came my first year or this late in my career, it’s going to be an exciting time,” Markakis told reporters after the nod was announced. “I know my family and my kids are going to be ecstatic, especially my two older ones. My little one, he’s getting it a little bit, but my older ones, they’re pretty on point with baseball and the players.”
Markakis’ selection isn’t the only one that’s a long time coming
While Markakis is well known for having never reached an All-Star Game, there’s another player out there who has been arguably an even bigger snub throughout his career. And he just happens to be heading to D.C. as well.
That player would be Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The 35-year-old Korean has made his name in the last decade on an elite on-base ability, ranking 12th in all of MLB in on-base percentage since 2008 with a .381 mark. Choo also recently passed Hideki Matsui to become MLB’s all-time home run leader among Asian-born players, currently at 185.
Choo has lit pitchers up lately, breaking a Rangers record with a 47-game on-base streak. That, as well as a Rangers-leading .911 OPS, was enough to get Choo into the All-Star Game as the team’s lone representative. He as pretty happy about the news.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) July 9, 2018
The New Nick Markakis
Markakis and Choo making the All-Star game means the list of best players to never make an All-Star Game will lose its two highest-ranked active members. Going off Baseball Reference’s Play Index, the list of top players by career bWAR to never reach the All-Star Game now looks like this:
Tony Phillips 50.9
Tim Salmon 40.6
Kirk Gibson 38.4
Eric Chavez 37.5
Garry Maddox 36.8
Ken McMullen 34.0
Mark Ellis 33.6
Dwayne Murphy 33.2
Richie Hebner 33.0
Andrelton Simmons 32.9
Right at the bottom of the top 10 is one Andrelton Simmons, who now stands as the top active player by bWAR left to never make an All-Star Game.
Simmons never making an All-Star Game might be as big a surprise as Choo and Markakis, considering the Los Angeles Angels shortstop has matched Markakis’ career bWAR (32.9) as Markakis only six and a half seasons into his career. Considered one of the best defensive shortstops in all of baseball, Simmons finished eighth in the MVP voting last season.
Simmons might not have to wait too long to leave the list though, as he’s one of five players in the AL Final Vote.
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