The MLB All-Star game is set for next Tuesday, July 13th in Anaheim. Baseball’s All-Star game has many detractors but I for one enjoy it. I like seeing the best players in each league playing a game for fun with nothing really on the line. Sure it has problems. Do I think the winner should get home field advantage in the World Series? No. Do I think rosters should have been expanded to an astronomical 34 players? No. But even with those corny initiatives, the baseball’s game is far superior to the other major sports.
But I’ll tell you one thing I do hate about the All-Star game: the inevitable snub columns. As in every other sport, many players having excellent years miss the cut. That’s the way it goes. But on every sports website you will find multiple columns outlining who should have made it and why. I have read that Joey Votto was screwed by eight different sportswriters. Enough is enough.
So instead of jumping into the fray to tell you that Votto, or Kevin Youkilis, or Miguel Olivo, or Jered Weaver should have made it, I thought I’d switch it up. Instead of focusing on the obvious, I am focusing on the more obscure. Below are 13 players that many fans might not have heard of, or who were all but washed up last year. Each are having excellent years, but none were recognized with an All-Star spot.
*Note: OPS rank is per position – min. 240 plate appearances
C – Geovany Soto, Cubs (.277 avg, 8 HR, 23 RBI, .872 OPS – 2nd)
1B – Aubrey Huff, Giants (.294 avg, 15 HR, 49 RBI, .916 OPS – 9th)
2B – Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks (.265 avg, 13 HR, 38 RBI, .851 OPS – 4th)
3B – Casey McGehee, Brewers (.274 avg, 13 HR, 52 RBI, .806 OPS – 9th)
SS – Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays (.258 avg, 15 HR, 42 RBI, .782 OPS – 4th)
OF – Josh Willingham, Nationals (.281 avg, 15 HR, 46 RBI, .926 OPS – 4th)
OF – Colby Rasmus, Cardinals (.278 avg, 16 HR, 40 RBI, .916 OPS – 6th)
OF – Brennan Boesch, Tigers (.344 avg, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 1.001 OPS – 1st)
You won’t find any superstars on that list. Huff is a journeyman who has bounced around a lot of bad teams over the years. Johnson was deemed expendable by the Braves. Rasmus is a second year player and Boesch is a rookie. Gonzalez was supposed to be an all-glove no-bat player, and Soto was coming off an abysmal year where he was criticized for being overweight and getting caught with marijuana at the world baseball classic. If anybody stands up and says they saw excellent seasons coming from this bunch they are both a liar and a coward.
Now for some pitchers. I named three starters and two relievers, but did not include any closers. Closers get all the attention – middle relievers get none.
SP – Mat Latos, Padres (9-4, 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.22 K/9)
SP – Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (8-4, 2.10 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.35 K/9)
SP – Colby Lewis, Rangers (7-5, 3.35 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.34 K/9)
RP – Luke Gregerson, Padres (2-3, 2.23 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 11.38 K/9)
RP – Tyler Clippard, Nationals (8-5, 2.65 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 10.06 K/9)
Again, take a look at the names. Coming into this year Latos had 10 career starts and Garcia had one. Gregerson is in his second major league season. Clippard plays for the Nationals. Colby Lewis spent the last two seasons in Japan. Enough said.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know some other players I might have missed, or if you think any of these shouldn’t be included.