Over the weekend, MLB revealed the 2021 All-Star finalists at each position.
Based on fan voting, the top three vote-getters at each position (plus the top nine vote-getters among outfielders) were named finalists.
Only players named finalists will have a chance to be named a starter for the 2021 Midsummer Classic, but the door is still open for non-finalists to be named to the team as reserves.
There were several notable omissions from the list of finalists this weekend.
These three American League players in particular were snubbed.
3. Mike Zunino – Tampa Bay Rays Catcher
It might irk some old-timers that a .197 hitter is making the list, but Mike Zunino is actually having a very good 2021 MLB season.
He is slugging .535 and has an excellent 132 OPS+.
The 30-year-old has 16 home runs and five doubles on the season and has been one of the best catchers in the AL.
— el patrón 💎 (@ExtendKevinCash) June 26, 2021
Perhaps the most egregious part of Zunino’s snub is the fact that Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado was named a finalist, and he has been borderline unserviceable this season.
Maldonado’s strong defensive campaign (0.7 defensive WAR) is the only reason he is still a net positive overall (0.1 overall WAR), as his offensive production has been miserable.
Maldonado has a slash line of .171/.256/.285 on the year to complement an OPS+ of 50, which is 50 percent worse than league-average.
2. Jared Walsh – Los Angeles Angels Outfielder
Jared Walsh is having a breakout 2021 season for the Los Angeles Angels, but he isn’t getting the recognition he deserves on the MLB All-Star ballot.
So far, Walsh is batting .286 with an outstanding .915 OPS and 152 OPS+.
He has 18 home runs, 19 doubles, and a triple to his credit.
The misfortune of having to compete with a crowded outfield in the AL likely didn’t do Walsh any favors here, but he certainly should have been named a finalist.
Walsh finished seventh in the Rookie of the Year race in 2020 and is proving that he belongs in the rising star conversation.
1. Matt Olson – Oakland Athletics Outfielder
Matt Olson remains one of the most underrated players in baseball despite doing everything he can to break the spell.
Olson entered the 2021 season with some solid career numbers, like a lifetime .838 OPS, but this year, he is showing that the sky is the limit for his success.
Olson is currently slashing .296/.375/.588 for an Oakland Athletics team that is firmly in the mix in the AL West.
He has 20 home runs and 18 doubles on the year and has struck-out just 50 times in 309 plate appearances.
Perhaps the most impressive element of Olson’s success is that he—as a left-handed batter—has been able to absolutely mash against both right-handed and left-handed pitching.
On the season, Olson is batting .289 with a .947 OPS against righties, and against lefties, he is batting .306 with a .987 OPS.
Matt Olson’s ranks among AL first baseman this season:
• 20 HR (2nd)
• 53 RBI (2nd)
• .963 OPS (2nd)
• 38 XBH (2nd)
• 2.9 WAR (2nd)
He was not named a finalist for All Star voting (finished 5th). pic.twitter.com/FbCBb3YK4x
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) June 27, 2021
There is no justification for leaving Olson off the list of finalists.
It seems like a sure thing that he will be named to the team as a reserve, and he’d better be, because he deserves every bit of that All-Star distinction.