With each passing year, many of us bemoan the selection process for the MLB All-Star game. The game counts, yet the selection process rules include a popularity contest with skewed voting numbers, a requirement straight from 2nd grade P.E., and a last gasp effort to pick the final addition based on how many people can operate a cell phone for texting purposes. Dumb, dumber, and dumber-er. This is not about belittling the small-minded morons of MLB who dreamed up this silly set of rules while tripping on something often found on a postage stamp back in the 70’s. No, this is about belittling those small-minded morons about the end result.
5 Worst Snubs:
- Almost everybody not named Pablo Sandoval who plays 3B in the NL. Call this the “David Wright” list. It begins with Wright and ends about the same time SandovAl Reaches the end of the local Golden Corral buffet line. Granted, Sandoval is having a great season by Ryan Theriot standards, but his numbers fail to impress. The .300/.362/.471/.832 line with 6 HR, 25 RBI, and 26 runs helps him to a whopping 0.7 WAR total. That’s about 1/6 of David Wright’s total of 4.3 WAR. Wright boasts a line of .354/.447/.560/1.006 with 9 HR, 50 RBI, and 53 runs scored. If this game counts, then the NL has already handicapped itself.
- Chipper Jones. Larry does not deserve a nod just because he plans to retire after this season. He deserves the nod, because he has been productive when healthy, and he is currently healthy. Given his .292/.375/.455/.830 line with 6 HR, 29 RBI, and 23 runs, he basically has given everything Sandoval has but with better defense. Chipper’s 1.7 WAR total almost doubles Panda’s in a fraction of the at-bats.
- Michael Bourn. I care not for what you say/think/write about how much a mess defensive statistics appear to be this season. With an OBP of .350 and 22 stolen bases in 29 attempts, Bourn could be the best table setter / defensive stalwart in baseball. He also ranks 5th in the NL with 3.5 WAR. If you are building an NL All-Star “team”, Bourn is the leadoff hitter. Period.
- Aaron Hill. Check the .300/.360/.512/.872 line with 11 HR and 38 RBI. Glance at the 2.1 WAR. In terms of productivity, he’s almost dead even with Dan Uggla. The difference? Uggla has the range of an Easter Island statue. R.A. Dickey backed by Uggla at 2B just begs for a lot of “whiffs”. Also, sending Uggla means that MLB must employ a dedicated back scratcher, because Uggla cannot reach behind his own noggin.
- A.J. Pierzynski. AJ represents more than just a guy who hits for power and average. He can handle a pitching staff. That’s no slight against Mike Napoli who can handle 0.3 WAR for 69 games. Oh wait, it probably is a slight against Napoli who is hitting just .235.
5 Worst Flubs:
- Buster Posey is starting ahead of Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz. That would be fine, but Posey’s line of .303/.370/.480/.851 with 10 HR and 42 RBI only helps him get to 2.2 WAR. He has also thrown out just 25% of runners attempting to steal. Molina is hitting at a .312/.364/.519/.883 clip with 13 HR and 45 RBI, AND he his 3.0 WAR trumps Posey’s 2.2 by a good margin. Molina also happens to throw out would-be thieves at a 39% rate. Even worse, Carlos Ruiz deserves the start over both of them. He’s tearing up opposing pitchers to the tune of .356/.420/.579/1.000 with 11 HR and 43 RBI. His 3.8 WAR at catcher puts him on pace for an absolutely phenomenal year. And he just happens to be the 3rd string guy in the ASG. Nice work, fans.
- Mike Napoli and his 0.3 WAR are going to be in Kansas City. Why?
- Bryce Harper will likely make the team either as the last man in or via the replacement approach for the injured Matt Kemp. No doubt that a lot of fans find Harper’s story compelling, but that does not excuse sending an outfielder worth 1.4 WAR in 250 plate appearances to All-Star weekend. Spare me the argument that he deserves it more than Chipper Jones as well. If you need a hit from a pinch hitter, you best have the best on available on your bench. A switch-hitter with 460 career home runs and 2660 hits seems like a pretty good option. Also, he happens to be at 1.7 WAR despite only having 176 plate appearances. Say all you like about Harper, but Allen Craig‘s 1.3 WAR in just 170 plate appearances makes for an interesting option that few even considered. He may not be quite the defensive player Harper is, but we’re talking about a bat off the bench.
- Bryan LaHair. He plays for the Cubs, but that’s not his only issue. He’s worth a whopping 0.9 WAR, and most of his innings this season have been at 1B. Number of NL players at 1B who are worth more in terms of WAR? 7. If the road to the playoffs begin at the All-Star Game, then the NL has already hit a roadblock.
- Matt Kemp. Why is even important to vote in a guy who can’t even play? Why? More importantly, how does that happen when his teammate, Andre Ethier, is having a great season in his own right? Please make this stop.
Regardless of how this pans out, Dusty Baker most likely will have something ridiculous to say about his players getting snubbed. Maybe Dusty should try motivating his team to win a few more games, and he’ll have more input on the roster for next year. On the other hand, he’d probably find it a lot easier to sit and whine about it while ruining some guy’s arm in the process.