Felipe Rivero, among the top tier of National League relievers, has been left off the all-star team.
Rivero has been electric in his first full season in Pittsburgh, with an 0.82 ERA that ranks second among qualified NL relievers. He’s third-best among that group in fWAR, at 1.4.
While Rivero touches 100 MPH with a quality slider and changeup, he hasn’t ticket the old-school boxes that more often lead to an all-star selection. Namely, he hasn’t exclusively been closing games, only somewhat recently being given a share of a “closer role” with the Pirates, leaving Rivero with just three saves. Never mind his actual performance that has often come in more crucial, earlier situations and the emergence of his unhittable stuff.
NL manager Joe Maddon filled his pitching staff with starters Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and relievers Wade Davis, Brad Hand, Greg Holland, Kenley Jansen, Corey Knebel and Pat Neshek. Knebel (Brewers) — a deserving selection — Davis (Cubs), Hand (Padres) and Neshek (Phillies) are the only all-star representatives from their respective teams.
Maddon was effusive in his praise of Rivero during the Cubs’ visit to Pittsburgh in mid-June.
There will be no final-vote redemption for Rivero, as that field is filled with five position players. The all-star pitching staff is notoriously fluid, with pitchers dropping out due to injury or use in the days before the game. Regardless, Rivero indicated to the Post-Gazette he won’t be going.
UPDATE: Per the linked PG article, the commissioner’s office controls these selections; it’s no longer the league manager. So, blame Rob Manfred.