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The Indians in the All-Star cupboard

For the first time since 2004, the Cleveland Indians will be sending five players to the All-Star game, in Miami, Florida. That 2004 All-Star team was an eclectic group that included Matt Lawton, Ronnie Belliard, CC Sabathia, Victor Martinez and Jake Westbrook. While none of the 2004 Indians’ All-Stars were elected via the fan vote, this year Indians fans voted one player in, but also saw four others make it to the American League squad.

The following Cleveland Indians were selected to the 2017 All-Star Game:

Jose Ramirez, 3B

Ramirez became the first player fan-voted as a starter to the American League All-Star team since Juan Gonzalez during the 2001 season. 10 days ago, Ramirez trailed Minnesota third baseman Miguel Sano but more than 400,000 fan votes. Ramirez has a .325/.379/.584 slash, with a career high 15 homers, a .330 BABIP, and a 3.0 fWAR. This is JRam’s first appearance in an All-Star Game.

There appears to be some bitter Minnesota fans:


Please, let’s never let that die.

Michael Brantley, LF

There were a lot of people that wrote off Michael Brantley. After missing most of the 2016 season, and the last month of the 2015 season, it looked like the dominoes were heading towards a Grady Sizemore-like, injury-prone finish to his career.

If the first half of 2017 is any indication, Michael Brantley is far from finished.

This will be Brantley’s first appearance in an All-Star game since 2014, and is his second overall. Brantley has a .304/.365/.434 split, and continues to be the rock in the Indians line-up. If Brantley continues, he’s a lock to win the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year.

Outside of Cleveland?

Francisco Lindor, 2B

Lindor, who is fighting through the first slump of his career, carried the Indians through the second half of April and the start of May, showcasing a continued power-hitting prowess that started in 2016. His selectivity seemed to get his 2017 season heading in the right direction.

Lindor has a .250/.311/.462 slash, but has seen a power spike. He currently has 14 homers, one less than his entire total for the 2016 season. While some are saying Lindor is struggling defensively, he’s still flashing the leather as one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, and continues to be the face of the franchise, and an ambassador for the league. This won’t be his last All-Star appearance.

And, this Lindor selection is bringing joy to fans across the globe:

Corey Kluber, SP

Corey Kluber has continued his American League dominance. Kluber’s 11.76 K/9 represents the best K rate of his career, combined with a still elite 2.24 BB/9. His 3.02 ERA is solid, but his 2.60 FIP (2nd to Chris Sale) and 2.69 xFIP (tied for first with Sale and Lance McCullers) are a better indicator of just how dominant he continues to be. Kluber’s two complete game shutouts are second in the league to fellow All Star Ervin Santana, and his 2.7 WAR is tied for seventh in the league as well. Kluber is 7-2 on the season, and continues to be the ace of a staff that also includes Carlos Carrasco.

Kluber is currently on a streak of four games in which he’s struck out 10 or more, and has done so in five of his past six. The four game streak is a Cleveland Indians record, which says a lot, considering the starting pitching royalty that have worn that Tribe jersey.

Kluber won’t start, and famous writers have, well, some hottakes:

Andrew Miller, RP

Andrew Miller is arguably the best reliever in baseball, and when his tenure is done here in Cleveland, he will certainly rate as one of the top two or three relievers of all time, if you don’t already place him there. His 1.8 WAR is second in the A.L. to Craig Kimbrel, and third overall. His 1.49 ERA is 12th in the league, while his 1.60 FIP is seventh, and his 2.34 xFIP is tied for eighth. Miller has a 13.82 K/9, with a still elite 2.13 BB/9, which is actually his best rate in his stellar career.

It’s funny, but as nearly perfect as this season has gone for Miller, this is about as close as he gets to “struggling.” Yeah, good luck if you make it to the eighth inning and beyond.

In hunting for an Andrew Miller rip, what I’ve found is that Miller’s name is more or less the standard-bearer for relievers. There are a lot of “The Andrew Miller of the National League,” and, “His numbers are comparable to Andrew Miller.”

I mean, both statements are a travesty, but it’s good having the lightning rod, and not the short-lived lightning.


The miss?

Lonnie Chisenhall, LF

You can make a solid case that Lonnie Chisenhall, based on his 2017 numbers (which is what this is about, right?), should be on this All-Star team. Chisenhall’s fWAR prior to yesterday’s game was 1.5, 0.4 ahead of Michael Brantley, in one less game. He has six more homers than Brantley, 20 more RBI, and a .303/.371/.564 slash. His defense is also better. But, what are you going to do?

Perhaps this slight, will carry him through the second half of the season.