In Major League Baseball, fans, players, and managers have the ultimate say in who plays in Baseball’s Midsummer Classic. Unfortunately, the fans are oftentimes ignorant and vote for random players based on absurd characteristics.
For example, I recently asked a female peer about her pick for AL starting Shortstop, in which she chose Derek Jeter instead of Michael Young. I inquired about this, and her response was, “Derek is so hot.” I countered and said that Derek Jeter was ranked 29th out of 30 in range, he is batting .282, and Michael Young outperforms Derek Jeter. There is no match. The best shortstop in the American League this season is Michael Young. She said, “Oh, I don’t care. He’ll marry me when he retires and I get older.” I said to her, “Well, if A-Rod hooks up with Madonna, then anything can happen. Good luck.” (It might be important to add that she submitted her vote multiple times, and this is rigging the All-Star voting system because many people are doing this.)
The players often vote for the first person whose name is yelled out in their clubhouse. They would vote for their friends and refrain from voting for rivals or unknown players. Managers have very little say in this process, yet, they seem to be the only ones that care about the All-Star selection process. In total, the fans pick approximately 10-11 players, the players themselves choose approximately 15-16 players, and the manager fills out the rest of the roster.
My thoughts on the selection process are relatively simple- it is useless. They should have the people that care vote for the All-Stars (baseball writers, announcers, executives) and base voting off of statistics and value. The same writers that vote for the Hall of Fame should be the ones who have the ultimate say in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Voting.
I have broken down the 2008 All-Stars for both the American and National Leagues, keeping in mind that each team must have a minimum of one representative. Overall, I am dissatisfied with thirteen of the All-Star Selections (seven in the American League and six in the National League). In the American League, the following players should not have been nominated:
1. David Ortiz, designated hitter, Boston Red Sox
Comment: David Ortiz is injured, and his production at the designated hitter position is well below average. With a batting average of .252, 13 home runs, 43 runs batted in, and a .354 on base percentage, Ortiz clearly does not qualify for the All-Star Game. His batting average ranks 153rd in the American League, tied with Robinson Cano, Cliff Floyd, Joey Gathright, Michael Cuddyer, and Gregg Zaun. To put this into perspective, Kansas City’s Alex Gordon has a higher batting average than Ortiz.
2. Ichiro Suzuki, outfielder, Seattle Mariners
Comment: Ichiro Suzuki over Jermaine Dye and David DeJesus. Let us compare numbers:
Suzuki: .302 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI, .360 OBP, 34 SB
Dye: .308, 19 HR, 52 RBI, .363 OBP, 51 R
DeJesus: .316, 9 HR, 45 RBI, .373 OBP
Of lead-off outfielders, Ichiro is the third best in the American League (David DeJesus and Johnny Damon both post better numbers than Suzuki). Jermaine Dye is a better hitter, smacks more home runs, and gets on base at a better rate than Ichiro. Despite the fact that Ichiro can steal, David DeJesus’s numbers are better, by far. Putting all considerations into play, DeJesus and Dye are all-stars, not Ichiro.
3. Jason Varitek, catcher, Boston Red Sox
Comment: Jason Varitek is in the All-Star Game purely because of his veteran leadership behind the plate. However, this guy cannot hit worth a lick and was severely outperformed by Ivan Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, and Dioner Navarro. Varitek is ranked in the 216th (or somewhere around there) in the American League with a .215 batting average (His batting average fell three points by the time I was finished writing this article.) Even if he was chosen for his defense, he only throws out a paltry 17.8 percent of base runners who attempt to steal on him (8 of 45).
4. Joe Crede, third baseman, Chicago White Sox
Comment: Not Mike Lowell? Let us compare the two.
Crede: .261 BA, 15 HR, 47 RBI, .338 OBP, .929 fielding percentage
Lowell: .296 BA, 13 HR, 54 RBI, .357 OBP, .976 fielding percentage
The final word on Crede is that he has a slight edge in power, but hits at a lower batting average than Lowell, does not get on base as often as Lowell, and to make matters worse, Crede has 17 errors this season, as compared to 4 last year.
P.S. Joe Crede has a .099 batting average vs. LHP
5. Carlos Guillen, infielder and outfielder, Detroit Tigers
Comment: Guillen was a tough decision to leave off of the roster, but it had to be done because I needed to add a pitcher to the team. Overall, Guillen has had a very nice season and is worthy of an All-Star nod. However, he had to be left off so that Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles could be accommodated on our roster.
6. Ervin Santana, pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
Comment: Although a good pitcher, Santana does not have the numbers that my other pitchers have. John Danks, Shaun Marcum, and Felix Hernandez, overall, are better pitchers and are more worthy of All-Star nominations.
7. Joe Saunders, pitcher, Los Angeles Angels
Comment: It breaks my heart when I have to leave the American League’s win leader off of the roster. However, only thirty-two players are allowed. However, the earned run average is a touch higher than the other pitchers on the roster.
So, that leaves the American League Roster at this:
OF- Jermaine Dye, Grady Sizemore, David DeJesus, Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Carlos Quentin, and Josh Hamilton
DH- Milton Bradley
C- Joe Mauer, Ivan Rodriguez, and Dioner Navarro
IF- Kevin Youkilis, Justin Morneau, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Michael Young, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Lowell
P- Justin Duchscherer, Cliff Lee, John Danks, Shaun Marcum, Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay, Scott Kazmir, Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Jim Johnson, Jonathan Papelbon, and Francisco Rodriguez
Before I discuss my dissatisfaction with the National League All-Star team, I will say the names of my top 12 outfielders in the NL (in no particular order):
Ryan Braun, Pat Burrell, Ryan Ludwick, Matt Holliday, Carlos Lee, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, Rick Ankiel, Jason Bay, Kosuke Fukudome, Ken Griffey Jr, and Alfonso Soriano. I do not like the nomination of the following three for the team:
1. Nate McLouth, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Comment: Tied for 7th in home runs (out of my top 12), 9th in batting average and 7th in on-base percentage. These are pivotal statistics in which he has middle-of-the-pack numbers.
2. Kosuke Fukudome, outfielder, Chicago Cubs
Comment: One Word- Overrated. Fukudome is ranked last out of these twelve in home runs and runs batted in. He has weak power and a weak swing. If Ichiro does not make it, Fukudome does not fly either.
3. Alfonso Soriano, outfielder, Chicago Cubs
Comment: Sorry-ano, you do not make the All-Star team. He has had a minimal number of at-bats this year (212 AB) and would not be able to play anyway. Felix Hernandez makes it because he has a good number of innings under his belt (over 100 IP). Soriano only has 212 at-bats, a good 137 AB’S shy of Ryan Braun.
The remaining three players include two infielders and an over-achieving closer in the bullpen.
4. Aramis Ramirez, infielder, Chicago Cubs
Comment: As compared to David Wright:
Ramirez: .283 BA, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 56 runs
Wright: .288 BA, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 56 runs
David Wright out-hits Ramirez and is a better defender.
5. Miguel Tejada, infielder, Houston Astros
Comment: Tejada was removed to accommodate the lone San Diego Padres representative Adrian Gonzalez.
6. Brian Wilson, pitcher, San Francisco Giants
Comment: Stick to the Beach Boys. This is the San Francisco treat?! Despite being the National League saves leader, Wilson’s ERA is 4.37 and his WHIP is 1.40. Almost as bad as Todd Jones, right?
Therefore, our National League roster should look like this:
OF: Ryan Braun, Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday, Carlos Lee, Xavier Nady, Jason Bay, Ryan Ludwick
DH: Adrian Gonzalez
C: Geovanny Soto, Brian McCann, Russell Martin
IF: Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Cristian Guzman, Chipper Jones, David Wright
P: Edinson Volquez, Tim Lincecum, Ben Sheets, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Carlos Zambrano, Jair Jurrjens, Aaron Cook, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster, Billy Wagner
In conclusion, here are my additions to both teams:
Jermaine Dye, outfielder, Chicago White Sox
David DeJesus, outfielder, Kansas City Royals
Ivan Rodriguez, catcher, Detroit Tigers
Mike Lowell, infielder, Boston Red Sox
John Danks, pitcher, Chicago White Sox
Shaun Marcum, pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Felix Hernandez, pitcher, Seattle Mariners
Jim Johnson, pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
Pat Burrell, outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Carlos Lee, outfielder, Houston Astros
Xavier Nady, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jason Bay, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jair Jurrjens, pitcher, Atlanta Braves (He is quietly assembling a nice 2008 campaign)