The MLB All-Star Game is one unlike any other. It’s a requirement for every team to have a representative, no matter how poorly the team is performing. However, some teams have had no deserving candidates, which can lead to some strange selections. Here is each team’s most obscure All-Star from the last decade.
Baltimore Orioles –– Ty Wiggington, IF, 2010
The 2010 Orioles lost 96 games and were an abysmal 29-59 at the All-Star Break. Wigginton was selected after having a solid first half where he batted .252/.334/.434 with 14 homers and 45 RBI. Additionally, he was able to play first, second, and third base. However, he slumped to a .680 OPS in the second half, giving him a below average .727 OPS (98 OPS+) for the year. This was Wigginton’s lone All-Star Game selection in his career.
Boston Red Sox –– Brock Holt, IF/OF, 2015
The 2015 Red Sox were also a last place team. Holt was the team’s lone representative, as he had hit a decent .292/.379/.412, while playing every position except pitcher and catcher. However, he only hit two homers, and just like Wigginton, Holt’s second half OPS was very disappointing at .653. Holt is still a solid big league contributor, and even hit for the cycle in the 2018 ALDS. However, this is still his only All-Star Game appearance.
Chicago White Sox –– Jesse Crain, RHP, 2013
The White Sox were one of four teams not to make the playoffs in the 2010s. They lost 99 games in 2013, good for the third worst record in the majors. However, they sent two players to the All-Star Game in Chris Sale and Jesse Crain. The Canadian righty was having a fantastic year, with a 0.74 ERA/1.52 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched (11.3 K/9). However, Crain was placed on the disabled list on July 3rd with a right shoulder strain, and hasn’t pitched in the majors since.
Cleveland Indians –– Roberto Hernandez, RHP, 2010
Most people probably remember Hernandez as Fausto Carmona, the name he went by when he was selected as an all-star in 2010. He had a solid first half, with a 3.64 ERA and 1.289 WHIP in the first half. Overall, Hernandez finished the year with a 3.77 ERA/4.11 FIP (105 ERA+) and 1.307 WHIP for an Indians team that lost 93 games. He would go on to pitch for five more teams in the next six seasons, and didn’t have an ERA below 4.00 in any of those campaigns.
Detroit Tigers –– Joe Jiménez, RHP, 2018
The Tigers lost 98 games in 2018, but Jiménez had a solid first half, good enough to earn himself his first All-Star Game selection. While serving as the primary set-up man for Shane Greene, Jiménez had a 2.72 ERA, 1.093, and 48 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched in the first half. However, he had a disastrous 7.78 ERA and 1.424 WHIP in the second half of the season. Jiménez is still young, and he’s the Tigers’ closer for the foreseeable future. He has the potential to make it back to the All-Star Game some day.
Houston Astros –– Jason Castro, C, 2013
2013 was the first year in the AL for the Astros. Expectations were low, and they lived up to them by losing 111 games, good for worst in the majors. Castro, however, had the best season of his career in 2013. He was hitting a strong .269/.331/.475 with 12 homers and 31 RBI at the All-Star Break. He was even better in the second half with a .290/.387/.509 line. However, Castro fell off badly in the next three seasons with a weak .660 OPS before leaving for Minnesota in free agency. Castro remains a solid big league catcher, but he’s never reached the level of his 2013 season.
Kansas City Royals –– Aaron Crow, RHP, 2011
Crow was a rookie reliever in 2011 and had a pretty strong season. At the All-Star Break, he had a 2.08 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, and 44 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched (9.1 K/9). However, he struggled with control issues in the second half, which led to an ERA of 4.34 and an ugly 1.929 WHIP in 18.2 innings pitched after the break. Crow remained a solid part of the Royals’ bullpen, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014.
Los Angeles Angels –– Jordan Walden, RHP, 2011
Walden is best remembered for his quirky delivery, where he would jump in the middle of his delivery. The fireballing righty became the Angels’ closer as a rookie in 2011, and had a strong season. In the first half, he had 20 saves, a 2.84 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, and 41 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched (9.7 K/9). Walden finished the season with 32 saves and finished seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting. However, he was tied for the Major League-lead in blown saves with 10, giving him a weak 76-percent conversion rate. Walden struggled in 2012 and lost his closer’s role – a role he would never get back. He remained a solid relief pitcher, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with St. Louis.
Minnesota Twins –– Eduardo Nuñez, IF, 2016
The Twins were the worst team in the majors in 2016, losing 103 games. In the first half of the season, the Twins had no All-Star caliber players. The only thing noteworthy about this team was that Brian Dozier ended up hitting 42 homers on the season. However, it was Nuñez who was deemed most worthy of an all-star nod. He was hitting a strong .321/.347/.489 with 12 homers, 40 RBI, and 22 steals. Nuñez was traded to the Giants shortly after the All-Star Game, and hit a weak .244/.297/.357 in the second half. Since then, he’s been traded to the Red Sox and recently signed a minor league deal with the Mets.
New York Yankees –– Phil Hughes, RHP, 2010
Hughes won 18 games in 2010, and was one of eight Yankees named to that year’s All-Star Game. In the first half, he went 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, and 91 strikeouts in 101 innings (8.1 K/9). However, he struggled to a 4.90 ERA in the second half. In 2011, Hughes struggled with dead arm syndrome and was demoted to the bullpen. He eventually became a solid big league starter again with the Twins, and last pitched in the majors with the Padres in 2018.
Oakland A’s –– Ryan Cook, RHP, 2012
This was a tough battle between Cook and Derek Norris. Cook gets the nod though, as he was forgotten quicker than Norris, who was part of Oakland’s fire sale after the 2014 season. Cook was a valuable part of Oakland’s bullpen, racking up 14 saves on the year. In the first half, he had a pristine 1.41 ERA, 0.887 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched (9.1 K/9). Cook remained an effective pitcher until 2015, when he began to battle injuries, and had to undergo Tommy John Surgery in 2017. He even pitched in Japan’s Yomiuri Giants for a year, before signing a minor league contract with the Marlins in 2020.
Seattle Mariners –– Michael Pineda, RHP, 2011
Pineda burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2011, and was one of three Mariners to make the 2011 All-Star Game. Additionally, he finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. In the first half, Pineda had a 3.03 ERA, 1.035 WHIP, and 113 strikeouts in 113 innings pitched (9.0 K/9). However, he struggled to a 5.12 ERA in 58 innings in the second half.
Pineda was traded to the Yankees for Jesús Montero in January of 2012. The Yankees didn’t get to see Pineda pitch in the majors until 2014, after he underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He was an effective pitcher from 2014 to 2017, but then had to undergo Tommy John Surgery in July of 2017. Most recently, Pineda was suspended 60 games after a failed drug test in 2019 while pitching for the Twins.
Tampa Bay Rays –– Brad Boxberger, RHP, 2015
Boxberger led the AL in saves in 2015 with 41. He had 23 saves in the first half with a 3.25 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched (12.0 K/9). However, he struggled to a 4.33 ERA and 1.444 WHIP in the second half, including an ugly 6.55 ERA in September. Boxberger has been bouncing around the majors since while battling injuries. Most recently, he inked a minor league contract with the Marlins for the 2020 season.
Texas Rangers –– Alexi Ogando, RHP, 2011
Ogando was one of five Rangers selected to the 2011 Midsummer Classic. He followed up his strong rookie season by pitching to a 2.92 ERA and 1.013 WHIP in 104.2 innings pitched in the first half. While he struggled to a 4.48 ERA in the second half, Ogando had a strong postseason showing with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings pitched. He remained effective in 2012 and 2013, but began to battle injuries. He last pitched in the majors in 2018 with Cleveland.
Toronto Blue Jays –– Steve Delabar, RHP, 2013
Delabar earned his lone All-Star Game nod by winning the AL Final Vote. He was the Jays’ primary set-up man, working to a strong 1.71 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 42 innings (12.4 K/9) in the first half. However, he slumped to a 7.02 ERA in the second half. Additionally, he struggled out of the gate in 2014, and was demoted to the minors in June. He then bounced around to a few different organizations and even pitched in Japan in 2016. Delabar also was issued an 80-game suspension after testing positive for ostarine in 2017. He retired in February of 2019.
Arizona Diamondbacks –– Jake Lamb, 3B, 2017
Lamb was one of four Diamondbacks to earn an All-Star Game nod in 2017. He had a fantastic first half, batting .279/.376/.546 with 20 homers and 67 RBI. However, Lamb’s production took a big nose-dive in the second half, where he slumped to a .204/.332/.403 line. Since 2017, Lamb has put up a paltry .665 OPS (75 OPS+) while battling shoulder injuries.
Atlanta Braves –– Jair Jurrjens, RHP, 2011
Jurrjens was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the first half of 2011. He had a 12-3 record with a 1.87 ERA and 1.066 WHIP in 110.2 innings pitched. However, he struggled mightily in the second half with a 5.88 ERA, before missing the last six weeks of the season due to a knee injury. After a rough 2012 season that included a trip to the minors, the Braves non-tendered Jurrjens. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014.
Chicago Cubs –– Bryan LaHair, 1B, 2012
LaHair won the Cubs’ starting first baseman job in 2012, and got off to a rip-roaring start. However, his .286/.364/.519 first half slash line is a bit deceiving. In April, LaHair hit .390/.471/.780 with five homers and 14 RBI. He would continue to produce in May, but at a much lower level. In June, LaHair slumped to a .231/.286/.400 slash line. By the time of the Midsummer Classic, LaHair wasn’t even the Cubs’ starting first baseman, giving way to top prospect Anthony Rizzo. LaHair only received 119 plate appearances in the second half and struggled to a .202/.269/.303 line with just two homers. Following the season, he signed with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, ending his time in the majors.
Cincinnati Reds –– Alfredo Simón, RHP, 2014
Simón made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2014 at the age of 33. He was 12-3 in the first half with a 2.70 ERA and 1.046 WHIP in 116.2 innings pitched. However, he struggled in the second half, with a 4.52 ERA and 1.444 WHIP in 79.2 innings. After the season, the Reds shipped him off to Detroit in exchange for Jonathon Crawford and Eugenio Suárez. This trade looks more lopsided every day, as Suárez has developed into a big-time power bat, while Simón was out of baseball just two years later.
Colorado Rockies –– Ubaldo Jiménez, RHP, 2010
It felt as if Jiménez was unstoppable in the first half of 2010. At the end of May, Jiménez had pitched a no-hitter, and was 10-1 with a 0.79 ERA. Additionally, he was the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999 to win Pitcher of the Month in both April and May. All told, Jiménez was 15-1 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.047 WHIP, and 113 strikeouts in 127 innings (8.0 K/9). He was selected by NL manager Charlie Manuel to start the Midsummer Classic. While Jiménez cooled off a little bit in the second half, he still finished third in the Cy Young voting and 23rd in the MVP voting.
However, Jiménez was never able to replicate the success he had in 2010. He was dealt to Cleveland in the summer of 2011, before signing a four-year contract with the Orioles in 2014. Additionally, he was infamously the losing pitcher in the 2016 AL Wild Card Game. Jiménez hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017.
Los Angeles Dodgers –– Hong-Chih Kuo, LHP, 2010
Kuo‘s 2010 season was remarkable. The Taiwanese lefty pitched to a sparkling 0.99 ERA and 0.768 WHIP with 36 strikeouts in 27.1 innings in the first half. He continued to dominate in the second half, and even assumed the closer’s role after Jonathan Broxton struggled. However, Kuo struggled with injuries and an anxiety disorder in 2011. In 2013, Kuo returned to Taiwan to pitch in the CPBL, where he pitched until his retirement in 2018.
Miami Marlins –– Gaby Sánchez, 1B, 2011
Sánchez followed his strong rookie campaign by earning an All-Star Game selection in 2011. In the first half, he hit a solid .293/.374/.472 with 13 homers and 50 RBI. However, he slumped .225/.320/.359 line in the second half, and he was never able to regain form. Sánchez struggled so mightily in 2012 that he was demoted to the minors, and eventually shipped off to Pittsburgh. He only managed a weak .686 OPS (91 OPS+) from 2012 to 2014, and hasn’t played in the majors since.
Milwaukee Brewers ––Jesús Aguilar, 1B, 2018
Aguilar ran with the starting first baseman job after Eric Thames got injured in 2018. Aguilar won the NL Final Vote for the All-Star Game and participated in the Home Run Derby. In the first half, he hit a robust .298/.373/.621 with 24 homers and 70 RBI. However, Aguilar cooled off considerably in the second half, only hitting .245/.324/.436 with 11 homers. He continued to struggle in 2019, and was traded to the Rays at the Trade Deadline. The Rays designated Aguilar for assignment following the 2019 season, and he was claimed by the Marlins shortly thereafter.
New York Mets –– Matt Harvey, RHP, 2013
The players that the Mets sent to the Midsummer Classic in the 2010s were not very obscure. However, younger baseball fans who are just getting into the game now probably don’t know who Harvey is, or just how dominant he was. The man people called the “Dark Knight of Gotham” got to start the All-Start Game in his home stadium in 2013. In the first half, he had a dominant 2.35 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, and 147 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched (10.2 K/9). Harvey was kept pitching well in the second half, but suffered a torn UCL in August and underwent Tommy John Surgery. He made a triumphant return to the mound in 2015, helping the Mets reach the World Series.
However, Harvey began to struggle in 2016. He was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and never recovered from it. The 31-year-old is currently a free agent after a disastrous 2019 season.
Philadephia Phillies –– Odúbel Herrera, CF, 2016
The Phillies lost 91 games in 2016, but Herrera was having a solid season when it came time for All-Star selections. In the first half, Herrera had a solid .294/.378/.427 batting line with 10 homers, 12 steals, and 33 RBI. He would continue to play well throughout the season, but hasn’t regained his form since. Additionally, Herrera has had some off-the-field issues, and was suspended for a majority of the 2019 season after he assaulted his girlfriend in Atlantic City. The Phillies designated Herrera for assignment in January of 2020.
Pittsburgh Pirates –– Evan Meek, RHP, 2010
The 2010 Pirates were the worst team in the majors, losing 105 games. Meek was having a strong season, and as a result, was the team’s lone representative at the Midsummer Classic. In the first half, Meek had a sparkling 1.11 ERA and 0.945 WHIP in 48.2 innings pitched. However, he cooled off in the second half, and began to struggle with injuries. The Pirates designated Meek for assignment in July of 2012. He last pitched in the majors for the Orioles in 2014, with whom he gave up Derek Jeter‘s walk-off single in his last ever home game.
San Diego Padres –– Everth Cabrera, SS, 2013
Cabrera was a speedy shortstop who wasn’t necessarily known for big offensive numbers. He had a strong first half of 2013 though, racking up a .291/.373/.396 line with four homers, 25 RBI, and 34 steals. However, he only played in 16 games in the second half, as he was suspended 50 games after being implicated in the Biogenesis steroid scandal. Cabrera hasn’t played in the majors since 2015.
San Francisco Giants –– Marco Scutaro, IF, 2013
Scutaro was a journeyman infielder when he won NLCS MVP and drove in the World Series clinching run in 2012. In 2013, Scutaro earned his lone All-Star Game selection at the age of 37. In the first half of the season, he batted a solid .316/.367/.400, drawing more walks than strikeouts. However, he only hit two homers all season, and slumped to a .648 OPS in the second half. Scutaro battled various injuries in the following seasons, which led to his retirement in 2015.
St. Louis Cardinals –– Edward Mujica, RHP, 2013
Mujica was a solid big league reliever for a few different teams before landing with the Cardinals in the Summer of 2012. In 2013, he assumed the closer’s role after Jason Motte got injured, and Mujica performed quite well. In the first half, he had 26 saves with a 2.20 ERA and 0.732 WHIP in 41 innings. While Mujica continued to produce good results in July and August, he had a disastrous 11.05 ERA in September. As a result, he relinquished the closer’s role to Trevor Rosenthal. Mujica never replicated his 2013 performance and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017.
Washington Nationals –– Matt Capps, RHP, 2010
The Nationals picked up Capps on a one-year contract in January of 2010 after he had a down year in 2009. Washington lost 93 games in 2010, and Capps wasn’t having a particularly dominant first half, but the team needed a representative. He had 23 saves and a 3.18 ERA, but had an ugly 1.412 WHIP in 39.2 innings pitched. However, Capps had a fantastic second half of the season, with a 1.62 ERA and 1.080 WHIP in 33.1 innings. The Nationals traded Capps to the Twins that Summer in a deal that brought Wilson Ramos to the Nation’s Capital. While Capps would remain a solid bullpen option in 2011 and 2012, he began to battle injuries, and hasn’t pitched in the majors since then.
The 2010s saw many players earn surprising All-Star Game selections. Some players couldn’t even sustain their success throughout a full season, while others were derailed by injuries. Requiring every team to have a representative has given some obscure players a chance to shine on national television.
Want to discuss this further? Head to our forum and make sure to follow me on Twitter @Mathias_A_K