The Yankees will be well represented for a third place team at this year’s All Star game in Minneapolis. Derek Jeter will be voted the starting shortstop in the future first ballot Hall of Famer’s last season. Masahiro Tanaka should be the starting pitcher, but will likely be ineligible as he is scheduled to start the last game of the first half. He will likely make the team but not play in the game. Dellin Betances, the rookie phenom, may also make the team. However, two other Yankees are also deserving of a place on the roster, but will likely be overlooked, Brett Gardner and David Robertson.
Brett Gardner was once referred to as a poor man’s Jacoby Ellsbury. This season Gardner has been better than his center field counterpart, and performed for a fraction of the cost. Gardner has a slash line of .287/.359/.435 . He has shown surprising power with eight home runs and 34 RBI. He has also stolen 15 bases. Ellsbury, on the other hand, has a slash line of .282/.351/.386 with only four home runs and 36 RBI. Gardner is also hitting leadoff while Ellsbury has been in the run producing three hole for much of the season. Looking at Gardner against the rest of the AL outfielders shows he is among the elite. He is fifth in steals (15), ninth in batting average (.287), eighth in hits (91), fifth in runs (52), third in triples (6), seventh in on base percentage (.359), and seventh in WAR (3.0). Those numbers are not a shoe-in for an All Star selection but they are certainly worthy of consideration.
David Robertson has an even stronger case for inclusion on the American League All Star team. Robertson is in his first season as closer for the New York Yankees. He has the unenviable task of replacing the greatest closer who ever lived in Mariano Rivera. He has done so spectacularly. He is currently third in the AL with 20 saves this season, despite spending two weeks on the DL in April. He has a respectable ERA of 2.73 to go along with 54 strikeouts in only 29 2/3 innings of work. His 16.38 strikeouts per nine innings ratio is even better than Betances (13.95). He has blown only two save opportunities all season and has been an anchor at the end of the bullpen.
Neither Robertson or Gardner are likely to be making the trip to Target Field next week. They will likely be among the list of players who fall just short. But they are deserving candidates nonetheless. A third place team can only have so many representatives and each team must be represented. However, Gardner and Robertson should not be overlooked. They are certainly more deserving than several other candidates. In any case, the Yankees can only hope for second halves from both that as good as their first halves have been.