By John Perrotto
Andy Warhol claimed that everyone would have 15 minutes of fame in their life. Clint Hurdle believes every major-league manager has 45 seconds a year to complain about the composition of the rosters for the All-Star Game.
Hurdle, the Pirates’ manager, took his 45 seconds and a little bit extra on Monday to plead his case on why center fielder Andrew McCutchen should be part of the National League squad for next Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic in Phoenix. Not only was McCutchen left off the NL’s 33-man roster that was announced Sunday but he also isn’t one of five players on the fan ballot for the All-Star Game Final Vote, which is currently being conducted online.
“Everybody whiffed,” Hurdle said before the Pirates beat the Houston Astros 5-3 at PNC Park. “The fans whiffed by not voting him into the starting lineup. The players whiffed by not voting him as a reserve. (NL and San Francisco Giants manager) Bruce Bochy whiffed by not naming Andrew to the team. Major League Baseball whiffed by not putting him on the last man ballot.”
That’s a whole lot of whiffing on a guy who is hitting .294 with a .392 on-base percentage, a .498 slugging percentage, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 83 games for the surprise team of baseball. The Pirates are 44-41, the first time they have been as many as three games over .500 this late in a season since the final day of the 1992 regular season.
“I went through the process of putting an All-Star team together once and I understand how difficult it is,” said Hurdle, who managed the NL squad in 2008 after leading the Colorado Rockies to the pennant the previous season.
“I got my share of complaints from different managers. Now, it’s my time to take my 45 seconds to complain.
“Andrew is everything you’d want in building a team. He can hit for average, hit for power, steal bases and play great defense. I don’t know who wouldn’t want to him on their team.”
One thing was certainly clear in the selection process–the voters and Bochy paid no attention to the advanced statistical metrics that measure players’ all-around worth.
McCutchen is third in the major leagues in Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with a 4.7 mark, trailing just Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Jose Bautista (5.8) and New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (5.3). In Baseball Prospectus’ Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), McCutchen is also third at 4.0, behind Bautista (6.3) and Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (4.4).
WAR is used to show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to a replacement-level player, defined as a bench player or Class AAA player at that position. WAR for position players is calculated by using various hitting and fielding metrics.
McCutchen, for his part, is taking the snub in stride.
“The way I look at it is the more your team wins the better your chances or of winning individual awards becomes,” McCutchen said. “We’re winning ballgames and that’s the more important thing. If we keep winning then everyone is going to notice the Pittsburgh Pirates and the various players on our team. The more you win, the more people remember your name.”