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The All-Star vote’s a sham. These are what the teams should be.

with 4 comments

2009 All-Star Game will be in St. Louis.I love the All-Star game.

I hate the All-Star voting.

Too often, players that should receive recognition for their first half dominance are left by the wayside while big market and undeserving stars take their places. Last time I checked, known steroid cheat Manny Ramirez was sixth place in the National League outfield voting, a glaring testament to how flawed the system is.

I vote once per season for who I think deserves a spot on the midsummer classic’s roster. My votes are based on value to team, overall stats, defense and intangibles. And that’s how it should be.

This is my roster. The real roster.

AL First Base: This is easily one of the hardest positions to pick a clear cut starter. Still, it’s hard to go with anyone other than the Yankee’s Mark Teixeira for the American League’s starting first baseman. He’s been playing at such a premier level, albeit in a stacked lineup, that any other choice would be blasphemous. His hustle during the infamous Luis Castillo error and the fact that he’s a dangerous switch-hitter secured my vote. The Mariner’s Russell “The Muscle” Branyan certainly deserves some recognition, however; as does the Twinkie’s Justin Morneau.

NL First Base: This is one of those races where there’s a choice you want, and a choice you have to make. I want the Padre’s Adrian Gonzalez to finally get some fanfare, but I have to choose the Cardinal’s Albert Pujols. I’d be able to form an alright argument for Gonzalez (pitcher’s park, no protection, blah, blah, blah), but Pujols is the only choice for the role. His well-roundedness puts him on a level above the rest of the field. I haven’t seen anyone dominate the game like him since Griffey Jr. in his prime.

Starting for the AL at first base.Starting for the NL at first base...

AL Second Base: There is two guys deserving of this vote: Toronto’s Aaron Hill and Texas’ Ian Kinsler.

Hill’s and Kinsler’s stats are so alike that it is hard to determine who to choose. They both have 15-17 home runs. They’ve both driven in 47. They’ve both scored 40-45 times. And while Hill’s batting average is 30 points higher, Kinsler has stolen more bases and produced just as much as Hill in 30 less at bats. Hill plays a much better second base, however.

For Hill’s incredible value to a lackluster Toronto offense and defense, he’s got my pick. Since half of all baseball fan’s are loyal-to-the-bone dumbasses, Hill’s currently in fourth place behind Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, and Robinson Cano.

NL Second Base: No arguments here. The Phillie’s Chase Utley deserves to be the National League’s starting second baseman for the next millenium and twice every Sunday. He plays the game right and would produce no matter which team you put him on. He’s a guy you can start a franchise around with no hesitation.

You'll never win, but it's nice to try.So damn good.

AL Shortstop: In a position full of underperformers, it’s going to come down to the Yankee’s Derek Jeter and the Ray’s Jason Bartlett. It’s already a foregone conclusion that Jeter’s going to win, so this is another of those positions that drives me absolutely insane.

Bartlett is my vote for the following reasons: he’s leads Jeter in almost every offensive category (except runs scored and homeruns) in 100 less at bats, he’s on pace to shatter his career highs in every category, he doesn’t play in the bandbox that is New Yankee Stadium, he plays the exact same defense as Jeter, and…HE’S SIMPLY BETTER. There is just no validating an All-Star selection for Jeter, other than tradition, and snubbing Bartlett. It’s a crying shame.

NL Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez. Like Bartlett, however, he’ll inevitably lose the starting job to the putrid Jimmy Rollins. Yes, the same Jimmy Rollins who’s batting .217 and pales in comparison in every offensive category. Yes, the same Jimmy Rollins who was so bad during the first half that he spent time batting fifth, sixth, and ninth in the order. Yes, the same Jimmy Rollins who holds the worst on-base percentage among starting shortstops.

Thank you Phillie’s fans for the travesty you’re perpetrating.

The rightful starter.And the other rightful starter.

AL Third Base: And finally the voters get it right. Like he should, the Ray’s Evan Longoria is leading the American League third baseman vote by a healthy margin. Alex Rodriguez, who is batting .219 is close behind, while the only other logical qualifier for the position, Mark DeRosa, is not even in the top five.

NL Third Base: This is a surprisingly tough vote. There’s the Met’s David Wright, the National’s Ryan Zimmerman, the Giant’s Pablo Sandoval, and the Diamondback’s Mark Reynolds. Wright is leading the vote and I have no problem with that. While his power numbers are down, a .357 average is nothing to scoff at and he’s above-average in every category.

Reynolds is the forgotten one here, though. His ungodly strikeout rate has followed him at every step of his major league career, but it looks like the slugger is putting together his best season thus far. Not only is he first among active third baseman in every power related stat, he’s among the league leaders in almost every category: sixth in slugging percentage, fifth in homeruns, seventh in games played, sixth in RBI, fourth in total bases, first in power to speed numbers.

While he’s not likely to finish anywhere close to the top in voting, he’s the clear choice for the NL’s starting third baseman. Charlie Manuel, the NL’s manager, would be smart to select him as a reserve and give him his just honor.

The voters finally get it right.The darkhorse candidate.

AL Catcher: Joe Mauer is batting .425. Do I need to say anything else?

NL Catcher: It’s a race between the catching Molinas and Brian McCann, in my opinion. Both Yadier and Bengie Molina have played stellar offense while also being rocks behind the plate. McCann has put his eye problems behind him and once again blossomed into the player Atlanta fans were hoping for at the season’s start.

I’d like to see Bengie get the nod, but McCann is the right pick. In hard races like this, I sometimes have to delve into the land of obscure statistics that I genuinely dislike. In this case, I went with VORP, or Value Over Replacement Player. It’s basically a numerical formula used to figure out just how valuable a player is to his respective team. McCann has a VORP of 18.0, Yadier of 8.5, and Bengie of 3.0. The higher the VORP, the more valuable you are. To put it into perspective, Mauer has a VORP of 44.5.

Mauer is heads and tails above his comerades.McCann's your starter.

AL Outfielder: Boston’s Jason Bay, Tampa’s Carl Crawford, and Los Angeles’ Torii Hunter. I am not going to go into detail on these choices unless someone has further questions, but they are the stand outs in an amazing class of outfielders. Texas’ Nelson Cruz and Baltimore’s Adam Jones are having career years also and deserve all the credit in the world.

NL Outfield: Phillie’s Raul Ibanez, Brewer’s Ryan Braun, and Rockie’s Brad Hawpe. I decided to go with Hawpe instead of the Met’s Carlos Beltran or the Diamondback’s Justin Upton and that’ll no doubt get me into trouble, but he’s done just as much as either in less time and in a less formidable lineup. It’s a tossup for that third outfield spot, but one that Beltran will inevitably win based on franchise.

You make the choice.I'm going Hawpe.

AL Starting Pitcher: It can be no other than the Royal’s Zack Greinke, even despite his recent back-to-Earth struggles. He’s among the leaders in all pitching categories: walks per nine, strikeouts per nine, innings pitched, and ERA. Plus, Roy Halladay‘s got health problems.

NL Starting Pitcher: I’d like to see Arizona’s Dan Haren get the start, but would have no problem if Matt Cain, Johnny Cueto, or Chad Billingsley got the nod.


4 Responses

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  1. I never got the point of (practically) unlimited votes. I don’t see any plus side for being able to vote more than once besides getting to boast about 500-jillion votes.

    Next election if we voted for president the way we voted for the All-Star ballot or American Idol, there would be chaos.


    June 23, 2009 at 2:15 am

    • I know I said I vote only once, but this year I voted twice. I had to write in Zobrist (since he’s not on the ballot is why I didn’t mention him in this post).


      June 29, 2009 at 11:03 am

  2. Oh and Laastings Milledge, who played what, 7? ML games this season, is on the ballot.

    How awesome would it be if a MiLB player made the MLB All-Star team?


    June 23, 2009 at 2:17 am

    • It’s horrendous that Milledge is on there, and it’s even worse that the MLB can’t find a spot for a guy like Ben Zobrist, who’s played nearly every position this year and excelled. He’ll probably make it as a reserve, but he deserves to be a starter.


      June 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

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