SEATTLE -- J.P. Crawford took it personally that he was not selected to be an American League All-Star reserve over the weekend.
His teammates loudly voiced their displeasure over the past few days in interviews and on social media, but Crawford had his first chance to speak about the matter ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Yankees. Yusei Kikuchi was Seattle’s lone selection.
“I was hurt. I still am,” Crawford said. “I thought I had a shot to definitely be there. It’s a shame. I really wanted to represent Seattle. But I'm happy [for] Yusei. Yusei has been pitching really well, so really happy for him. He deserves it. So I hope he goes out there and shoves.”
Crawford certainly had a case, though those selected ahead of him -- starter Xander Bogaerts, who was selected via a fan vote, and reserves Carlos Correa and Bo Bichette -- are also having fine seasons.
Crawford entered Tuesday tied for 16th in the Majors -- with Ronald Acuña Jr., Aaron Judge, José Ramírez and Byron Buxton -- with 3.0 wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference. And Crawford is one of just three players who’ve accumulated at least 2.0 offensive WAR and 1.0 defensive WAR, along with Marcus Semien, who’s converted from shortstop to second base, and Correa.
“I really thought there was a good shot,” Crawford said. “But I fell short, I guess, and I’m playing my game here. I’ve got to lead my team every night, so that's out the window and we're here playing the Yankees, and now I’m worried about tonight.”
Crawford is also the reigning Gold Glove Award winner at the position from 2020, a year in which there was no All-Star Game played due to the pandemic.
Beyond the aggregate stats, Crawford has been on a more pronounced tear since June 1, slashing .352/.403/.520 (.923 OPS) while leading the Majors with 44 hits in 139 plate appearances. His batting average in this stretch ranks fifth best.
“I know I can compete with the best of them now, so I’ve just got to stay healthy,” Crawford said.
Numbers are typically what illuminate most when All-Star roster decisions are made, especially given that many who are assembling these groups aren’t watching every single game, day in and day out.
That’s likely a factor in what hurt Crawford, who has emerged as a leader in Seattle’s young clubhouse. Ask any teammate about Crawford in the field or at the plate, and the response always leads with how fiery of a competitor the 26-year-old is. That’s an intangible factor that doesn’t necessarily show up on an All-Star ballot.
“My first game here in ‘19, I was just trying to stay quiet, show these guys what I could do and stay out of the way,” Crawford said. “And now I feel like this is my team. And I feel that energy. Guys come up to me. I want them to come up to me. And I want to be that guy because I've always been that leader-type role, and I'm ready for it. This is my team. I want to lead us to the promised land.”
“The way he's been carrying us, leading us as a team, it's amazing,” Shed Long Jr. said. “And I feel like people don't talk about it enough, just his everyday play, not only in the box, but defensively, he's a magician out there. I mean, it doesn't get any better. It disgusts me that he's not [an All-Star]. But, man, like I told him, ‘You’ve just got to keep pushing,’ and keep doing what he's doing. They’ll notice.”