Every year, the MLB All-Star Game fan vote brings an equal amount of excitement and outrage. The story is usually the same from year to year -- players who shouldn't make the team end up making it, while players who appear to be locks, don't.
Such is the case again in 2019. This years crop of notable snubs (Fernando Tatis Jr, Luke Voit, Xander Boegarts) are no different, and it is Gleyber Torres' omission that stands out the most for Yankees fans.
The 22-year-old infielder has quickly cemented his status as one of the games brightest young players, the same group that includes the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr and Juan Soto, among others. His national prominence is somewhat quieted by the sheer starpower and production found throughout the Yankees' lineup, but his numbers speak for themselves.
His steady production has him ranked in the top three of numerous important offensive categories, and it could be argued that Torres is already among the games most complete middle infielders. His ranks among qualified AL second basemen highlight his value:
- .295 AVG (3rd)
- 19 HR (1st)
- 47 RBI (2nd)
- .913 OPS (2nd)
- .365 OBP (2nd)
His home run ability in particular has been an unexpected luxury for New York. Never considered much of a power threat in the minors, he clubbed 24 in 123 games last season. This year, he already has 19 through 76 games.
While the All-Star Game is set to feature the Angels' Tommy La Stella as the reserve middle infielder, Torres may have made the most sense. Let me be clear - this is not a slight against La Stella, who is in the midst of an impressive breakout season and entirely deserving of his All-Star spot.
It's about the numbers, and in this case, Torres is on top. He leads La Stella in homers, RBI, OBP, OPS, walks and WAR. The only area that Torres falls "short" is batting average at .304 to .295.
The 22-year-old's value to the Yankees is magnified when considering what he was asked to do for most of the first half -- anchor shortstop while Didi Gregorius rehabbed. It was a seamless transition to his natural position, despite playing just 21 games at the position last season. Offensively and defensively, Torres more than did his part (.278, 16 HR, 37 RBI) with Gregorius out, while DJ LeMahieu began his tear through the AL.
Torres' response to the omission was in line with the veteran mentality he's displayed before.
"I don't control that situation," he said to the New York Post. "I put up really good numbers to make the team. I don't have the last word. I knew I put up good numbers and if it doesn't happen, I will take those days for rest."
The fact that he was an All-Star last year (his rookie season) and on the edge this season offers a key takeaway for the Yankees: acquiring Torres may go down as one of GM Brian Cashman's defining moves.
In the Aroldis Chapman trade with the Cubs, he acquired the teams likely infield cornerstone for years to come. To consider that Torres already has the makings of a .300+ hitter with power and slick defense is icing on the cake. He's just 22 and nowhere near his prime, either. That's a scary thought for the rest of the American League.
There's a reason why the Tigers (somewhat ridiculously) asked about Torres in a potential deal for Matthew Boyd. More so, there's a real chance that Torres winds up as the Yankees' most important player in a few years, and a strong case to be made that he's already a top-three player on the team.
So for Torres, not getting a spot on this year's All-Star squad is inconsequential. At 22, he already has one under his belt and plenty more in his future.
More importantly, he's blossomed into an important star on a team already full of them.