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Monday newsletter time: Josh Smith, aka Rangers’ MVP so far, gets All-Star snub

(Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports)

 

ARLINGTON — Not too long ago, Josh Smith would be an American League All-Star.

The managers of each club used to select the rosters, but MLB took control of the selection process in 2017 and left it up to player voting. AL manager Bruce Bochy 100 percent would have selected Smith as a reserve.

Alas, Smith finds himself on the list of All-Star snubs.

He was not one of the two Rangers picked to the AL roster for the July 16 game at Globe Life Field. Second baseman Marcus Semien and closer Kirby Yates were picked, and Semien could end up starting the game as the Astros’ Jose Altuve has a knack for not playing in these things.

Shortstop Corey Seager and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi also had cases to make the team, and likely would have had Bochy been in charge.

Smith had no shot in fan balloting, leaving his fate to the player vote. Players often select their guys or go on reputation, which might have helped Semien. Smith could still be added to the team because of injury, and so could Seager and Eovaldi.

“We’re still hoping for a couple guys to get on,” Bochy said.

Smith said it was “upsetting” to not make the team after posting terrific numbers among AL third basemen — first in average and OBP, second in doubles, fourth in OPS and tied for fourth in fWAR entering Sunday.

His teammates felt as if he was robbed. Smith has filled in admirably for Josh Jung and is the team leader in batting average, on-base percentage, doubles and OPS.

He’s been as valuable as any other player on the team.

“It’s a little disappointing,” Seager said. “It sucks when you feel like a guy deserves it, and he definitely did deserve it. I’m definitely bummed for him.”

Semien hasn’t given up hope.

“I still think there’s a chance,” Semien said. “He’s been great for us all year. He stepped into a role where he got everyday at-bats, and he’s taken advantage of it. I feel like the way the ballot looked, it was going to be tough at third base. There’s so much firepower at third base. You look at the overall season that he’s having, I think he’s very deserving.”

Needed sweep

The Rangers need to win ballgames. Winning series will help get them back into contention, but series sweeps will make that happen even soon.

They collected one Sunday, polishing off the Rays with a 13-2 rout.

Eovaldi tossed seven strong innings, and Seager swatted a three-run homer to cap a six-run fourth inning. Jonah Heim collected four hits, including a home run, and Wyatt Langford also finished with four hits, including a two-out RBI double to plate the game’s first run.

Travis Jankowski drove in three.

“This is more who we are,” Bochy said.

All nine players in the starting lineup reached base, and Semien was the only Rangers starter without a hit. Robbie Grossman hit a pinch-hit homer in the seventh and took a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

Bochy said before the game that the Rangers need to start getting more production from the bottom of the lineup. In addition to Grossman, Jankowski, Leody Taveras and Derek Hill combined for seven hits and seven RBIs.

“When we can have that production from the bottom of the lineup, it’s a good sign for us,” Eovaldi said.

Up next for the Rangers is a six-game road trip to Anaheim and Houston to reach the All-Star break. While the Rangers are away, Globe Life Field and the Arlington Entertainment District will be transformed into All-Star mode.

ICYMI …

Never short on news, the Rangers lived up to that reputation on the just completed homestand and are likely to generate some headlines on the six-game road trip that takes them to the All-Star break. Sign up for full access to Rangers Today here and follow me on Twitter here to ensure that you don’t miss a thing. Our latest content is below, in case you missed it.

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Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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1 Comment

  1. deGrom Texas Ranger July 9, 2024

    It seems a defensive specialist with a terrible offensie season (Semien) beat out 2 guys with far better offense and higher bWar in Seager and Smith. I get the Smith name rec part, but Seager is a 2 time WS MVP! He finished 2nd in MVP voting last season. How does this man not get some recognition?

    Reply

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