by Tony Aubry, BaseballEvolution.com
July 10, 2008
The 2008 All-Star starting rosters have recently been announced, and of
course, I am, like any other fan with a brain, upset with the results. There are
players on both squads that shouldnít be starting who are starting, and some who
donít belong at all. Usually, youíd expect a rant about how messed up the voting
is, but I digress. No matter who would vote, whether it is the fans, the
writers, or the coaches, we all know the wrong players would be chosen for all
the wrong reasons. So in a game that means so little, no matter what the
commercials say, why not let the fans vote? The Homerun Derby and the All-Star
Game are both just a lot of fun, nothing more, nothing less. And if it did
matter, the starters would play more than a few innings.
With that said, Iíd like to share what my vote would have
looked like if I would have remembered to vote before the deadline.
AL- Joe Mauer
NL- Brian McCann
Joe Mauer has been criticized for his lack of power, but
youíd have to be insane to complain about a catcher who has an OPS approaching
.900. Mauer isnít the greatest defensive catcher there is, but there is no one
on his level offensively this year to give him a run for his money.
I am glad that all three great NL catchers, McCann, Martin, and Soto,
all made the team, and Iím looking forward to these three young studs who are all
under the age of 26 battling it out for the starting spot on the team for years
to come, but I believe that McCann deserves to start this season. Martin leads
all three in BA and OBP and he is also a personal favorite of mine, but his
power numbers are not up to par with the other two legs of the tripod. I think
McCannís 20 point edge in SLG trumps Sotoís nine point edge in OBP, but Soto is a rookie, and his team is having an excellent
season , so I have no problem with him starting since it is so close.
AL- Jason Giambi
NL- Lance Berkman
I am upset that Giambi didnít make the team for a couple of reasons. One of them is that he actually deserved to make the team (Giambi led
all AL first basemen in HR and OPS) and the other is we wonít be able to see
him in the HR Derby. Giambi recently said that he would not participate in it if
he did not make the team, and that is unfortunate because I was looking forward
to see how far along the upper deck Giambi could have swatted the ball.
On the other hand, the fans got it right in the NL. Lance Berkman is having a career year, posting a line of .350/.438/.669 with 22 HR and
12 SB to boot. An argument could certainly be made for Pujols, whose rate stats
are a tad bit better, but who has played in nine fewer games than the Big Puma.
AL- Ian Kinsler
NL- Chase Utley
Kinsler not making the starting roster is probably the
worst jib job of the year, yet it comes to no surprise that Dustin Pedroia, who
plays for Boston, beat him out. Kinsler leads the league in hits, extra base
hits, and runs scored. He has also posted an OPS way north of .900 while
stealing 23 out of 24 bases. Everyone makes a big deal about how every team
needs to be represented, but I think there should be a limit on starters per
team. No more than three.
Utley is a no-brainer. Not only is he the best second
basemen in the league, but he may very well be the player in his league. He is
one of the best offensive players in the senior circuit, as his league-leading 25
HR and 68 shows, plus he is head-and-shoulders above his peers defensively. He may only be third
in RZR, but has made 43 plays out of his zone, 20 more than the next second
baseman, Rickie Weeks.
AL- Alex Rodriguez
NL- Chipper Jones
There isnít too much to say here. Both of these players are
having excellent seasons, especially the Chip off the ol' block. Jones is
enjoying a year of a lifetime, as he is flirting with .400. I have always thought
that Jones never got enough credit for the offensive force that he has been.
Hopefully, his gaudy average causes a few fans to flip through the encyclopedia
and check out how great of a hitter he was.
AL- Derek Jeter
NL- Hanley Ramirez
This is the weakest SS crop in quite some time for the AL.
You can certainly make a case for Michael Young start for the AL squad, but
I took Jeter over Young for one reason - now brace yourself - his defense.
Yes, I am as surprised as you are that Jeter is leading the
in revesed zone rating. I watch Jeter just about every inning he has
played this year, and I have noticed he range to his left has improved
immensely. As far as his sharp falloff offensively, I think a lot of it has to
do with him getting hit on the hand on May 21st. On that night he was
hitting .306/.349/.419, Now he is hitting .281/.343/.385.
Hanley Ramirez may have average range and poor handling
skills, but he is a great offensive player. With the bat in his hands, Ramirez is
the total package. He already has hit 21 HR this season, he hits for average as
his .302 mark would suggest, and his plate discipline is also improving. He has
drawn 44 walks this season and is averaging 4.2 pitches per plate appearance, a career high. And, of course, he has speed. Ramirez has stolen 21 bags
at a 78% clip and has only knocked into four twin killings.
AL- Jermaine Dye, Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton
NL- Pat Burrell, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady
After having an abysmal 2007 campaign, Dye has had a
resurgent 2008 season and is once again the anchor of the White Soxí offense.
With Jim Thome and Nick Swisher slumping, and Carlos Quentin having a poor June, Dye has stepped
up for the Sox. His OPS of .919 leads the team and all AL outfielders besides JD
Grady Sizemore has quickly become my favorite player since
Tino Martinez, and I was outraged when a local radio host shunned him by citing
his poor BA and mediocre RBI total. First off, you can blame his mediocre RBI
mark on his manager Eric Wedge, who somehow doesnít see that Sizemore has evolved
into a third place hitter rather than a lead off guy. And secondly, yeah, his BA
isnít too pretty, but his league-leading 22 HR, .900+ OPS, and play in CF sure
is. And Gradyís ladies seem to think his face is quite pretty, so why he didnít
make the starting squad is beyond me.
We all know about Josh Hamiltonís story, so Iíll skip it.
Hamilton is having a fine year, he has 19 HR and is OPSing .910, which is
awesome. The one stat has everyone drooling is his RBI total of 84, which is the
second highest at the ASB since Carlos Delgadoís mark of 97 back in 2003. I donít mean
to rain on his parade, but the man behind him, Milton Bradley, is having a better
year, and if you were to flip flop them in the lineup, it would be Bradley with
the huge RBI totals.
In the NL, we see that Burrell continues to be one of the
most underrated hitters in the game. Pat The Bat is on pace to set career highs
in HR and 2B, and his BA, which many people get on him for, is a solid .279.
He still struggled to make the team.
The center field vote was by far the hardest for me to
make. No one is really having a knockout season offensively. McLouth is having a
solid season putting up a line of .279/.357/.522 and the closest man to him
offensively is Carlos Beltran, who is having a poor season by his own standards.
However, he is having another great season defensively, which really narrows the
gap between the two offensively, but I favor offense and that lead me to
You think the Mets could use Nady right now? The Mets have
played musical chairs in their corner outfield spots and now Nady is having a
career year. His line of .323/.383/.538 is the best of his career, and he is on pace
to set career highs in 2B and HR.
AL- Milton Bradley
NL- Albert Pujols
There are a few reasons why Bradley is having an amazing
first half. One of them is his health. Bradley hasnít played in 100 games since
2004 and is on pace to do so by missing only 14 out of the 90 games that the
Rangers have played. The other reason that has impacted his season even more so is The Ballpark in Arlington. His OPS at home is a mind-numbing 1.282
and is a good-but-not-great .867 on the road.
As I discussed before, you can make a great case for Pujols
to start at first, but since Berkman has won the fanís vote let's put Albert at
AL- Cliff Lee
NL- Edinson Volquez
Justin Duchscherer has a better ERA than Lee does, but Lee has the
edge in IP, W, K/BB ratio, and has given up the same amount of HR despite
pitching 27 more IP.
Volquez gets the edge over Tim Lincecum because of the parks
they each play in. They both have great records, almost identical ERA, and are 1-2
in both Kís and K/9. Volquezí numbers are slightly more impressive than Lincecumís
because he plays in a launching pad while Lincecum plays in pitcher-friendly AT&T
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony resides in Queens, New York and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.