2024 MLB All-Snub team: Christian Walker, Brandon Nimmo lead this year's list of should-be All-Stars

There aren't enough roster spots to reward every player who has had a stellar first half, but these are the most egregious omissions

The All-Star Game rosters have officially been released, with the full list of players slated to represent the American League and National League next week in Arlington, Texas, revealed Sunday after last week’s announcement of the game’s starting lineups.

Sure, we can all get excited about seeing the best the sport has to offer concentrated on one field in one game next week at Globe Life Field. Or we can react much more naturally: By scanning the rosters, identifying the most glaring omissions and emphatically claiming that the powers that be made an unforgivable error in excluding that one player who clearly deserved an All-Star invite. (While fans vote for the starters, the reserves and pitchers are determined by a combination of a player ballot and the Commissioner’s Office, if you’re wondering where to direct your ire.)

There are plenty of reasons for these exclusions, of course. Some positions are more stacked than others, and every team needs at least one All-Star — a rule I strongly support, as every fan base should have the chance to cheer at least one player during All-Star introductions next week. And remember: A handful of the omissions we’re getting worked up over right now will be added as injury replacements in the coming days, so we’re probably best off just being patient.

But for now, allow me to scratch that undeniable itch. The reality is there aren’t enough roster spots to properly reward every player who has had a stellar first half, and that leaves certain fan bases feeling unfulfilled or insufficiently acknowledged. Here’s my best attempt to validate those feelings, one position at a time.

Presenting: The 2024 MLB All-Snub team.

It’s been a tough year in Anaheim once again, but the Angels have most certainly found their franchise catcher in O’Hoppe, who had a strong case to be selected as the team’s lone All-Star. Only William Contreras and Cal Raleigh have caught more innings this season than O’Hoppe, a workload worthy of recognition in and of itself. That he has also managed to be an above-average bat (123 wRC+) while spending that much time squatting behind the dish is all the more impressive.

Walker has been underrated for a few years now, and he stands out as perhaps the most egregious snub of any player on this list, especially after his ridiculous hot stretch at Dodger Stadium (five home runs in three games!!!) that just made headlines. Already a two-time Gold Glove winner, Walker’s bat has leveled up this year from good (122 wRC+ from 2022-2023) to great (137 wRC+), helping him place third among all first basemen in fWAR, behind only Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman. With all due respect to Pete Alonso, who is awesome, this should be Walker’s first All-Star invite, not Alonso’s fourth.

Elly De La Cruz is so far ahead atop the stolen bases leaderboard that it can be easy to lose track of who else has been swiping bags at an impressive (if not Elly-level) rate. But Turang currently ranks second in steals, with 29 for the first-place Brew Crew, already surpassing his total of 26 as a rookie a year ago. More relevant to his All-Star candidacy, Turang has also become an above-average hitter, rounding out a fantastic profile that features elite defense at second base. It feels like Milwaukee deserves more than just two All-Stars, considering the first half the team has had, and Turang would be my pick to join William Contreras and Christian Yelich in Texas.

I can understand why the players or the Commissioner’s Office might have defaulted to Marcus Semien as a position-player representative for the host team, but let me put it this way: If I were a Rangers fan in attendance for the All-Star Game next week, the guy I want to cheer for the loudest is unquestionably Smith. Tabbed to fill in at third base for the injured Josh Jung and occasionally at shortstop for the oft-injured Corey Seager, Smith has improbably improved his offensive game in stunning fashion to the point that he is leading this star-studded lineup in OPS. It’s one of the more You Can’t Predict Baseball developments of this season, and I’d love to see Smith get a late invite so he can receive a proper round of recognition on the national stage and in front of his team’s fans.

While you can make reasonable cases for more established superstars such as Seager or Francisco Lindor, I think Winn’s season has gone completely overlooked, so I’m inclined to highlight him instead. Batting average might not be as cool as it once was, but consider me thoroughly impressed by Winn’s .294 average, which ranks fourth among shortstops, behind only Bobby Witt Jr., Carlos Correa and Mookie Betts. And Winn hasn’t just held his own as a 22-year-old rookie playing shortstop every day for a team with postseason ambitions; he has also been one of their steadiest offensive producers all season.

Before you even look at what he has done at the plate, the fact that Castro has comfortably bounced among five positions in a single season to a degree quite literally no player has ever done before is worthy of serious praise. But you’re telling me this switch-hitting super-utility superhero also has a higher wRC+ (129) than other actual All-Stars, including Alonso, Josh Naylor, Teoscar Hernandez, Jackson Merrill and Jarren Duran? Come on, now. That’s just wrong. Get this man on the plane with Carlos Correa; he should be in Arlington.

Nimmo was one of the biggest snubs from last year’s NL squad, and he somehow has come up short once again. He remains in search of his first career All-Star appearance despite nearly a decade of above-average production. This is arguably as big of a head-scratcher as Walker, as Nimmo appeared to be the most compelling candidate on the Mets’ roster and ranks in the top 10 in both wRC+ and fWAR among MLB outfielders. Let’s hope he’s an injury replacement in due time.

Like Nimmo, Santander has never made an All-Star team despite nearly a half-decade of steady performance in the middle of Baltimore’s lineup. This season, only Aaron Judge has hit more home runs among outfielders than Santander’s 22 long balls. But perhaps most impressive about Santander’s power production is how balanced his splits are as a switch-hitter: Over the past five seasons, Santander has slugged .470 batting right-handed and .471 batting lefty. Pretty cool!

You can quibble with the modest peripherals, but I don’t think we need to overthink this one: The guy with the fourth-lowest ERA (2.53) among qualified starters should be an All-Star. I also think Blanco deserves bonus points for the degree to which his out-of-nowhere breakout has bailed out Houston amidst an awfully tumultuous season on the mound. The Astros are 12-4 in Blanco’s 16 starts, a hugely important mark for a team still trying to navigate its way out of the massive hole it dug in April. Where would Houston be without this guy? It’s a funny question to imagine pondering before the season, but it’s a very real one to consider when evaluating the 30-year-old right-hander’s impact.

What if I told you the Phillies’ leader in pitcher fWAR isn’t All-Star Zack Wheeler (2.8) or Ranger Suarez (2.7) but, rather, Sánchez (2.9)? The 27-year-old has definitively graduated from a nice development story to something much more: one of the best ground-ball pitchers in the league, alongside his teammate, Suarez. The (deserved) invites to relievers Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm might have cost Sánchez a spot, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s one of the first pitchers tabbed as an injury replacement if the situation arises. He has been that good.

Last year, Ryan was at times the weak link on a standout Minnesota starting staff headlined by Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray. But with Gray gone to St. Louis and Lopez’s run prevention regressing substantially, Ryan has emerged as this season’s Twins ace: His 0.97 WHIP is tied with Garrett Crochet for fifth-best among qualified starting pitchers.

If Angels lefty Tyler Anderson gets an All-Star nod for his 2.81 ERA across 18 starts, then so should Irvin, with a 2.80 ERA in the same number of outings and significantly stronger peripherals (3.39 FIP to Anderson’s 4.53). Irvin has been arguably the biggest revelation on a revitalized Washington pitching staff that has kept the Nationals on the fringes of the NL postseason picture, rather than in full-blown rebuild mode like many expected. Irvin should be a mid-rotation anchor for the Nats for years to come.

It might be a stretch for the worst team in baseball to get multiple All-Stars, but I think Fedde deserves it. His successful sojourn to the KBO to reestablish his credibility as a starting pitcher after a failed tenure in Washington is one of the best stories of the season, and his cutter has become one of the more effective pitches of any individual offering in the game. If the White Sox don’t end up trading Crochet, Fedde should fetch them a nice return in a deadline deal.

I have no issue with the Phillies getting two relievers on the NL squad. That said, if you had me guess which team would end up sending multiple relievers to Texas, it’d certainly be the team with the best bullpen ERA in baseball by a mile. Gaddis is one of several strong choices (I see you, Cade Smith!) beyond the closer Clase, who unsurprisingly got the invite. Gaddis leads Cleveland in holds, has the second-lowest WHIP among relievers behind only Clase and is top-five in reliever fWAR. He has been tremendous.

The funky righty Walker was low-key awesome as a 27-year-old rookie last year (3.23 ERA in 61 1/3 IP) and has gotten even better in Year 2, increasing both his K% and his GB% while lowering his ERA to a sterling 1.91 through 47 frames. His sinker/slider combo is an absolute nightmare for opposing hitters, and only his teammate Tyler Rogers has appeared in more games than Walker’s 45 among relievers this season. If you like bright red Baseball Savant pages, Walker’s will not disappoint.

I was underwhelmed when Jansen made the All-Star team last year, but he has been definitively better across the board in his second season with Boston and has quietly reasserted himself as one of the league’s most reliable game-enders. He has yet to allow a home run in 2024 and is 17-for-18 in save opportunities. Not bad for a guy who turns 37 in September.