Top 10 All-Star Snubs
Disclaimer: I have my opinions about which starters should be reserves, which players on the Final Vote Ballot should have made the team free and clear, and which players have no business anywhere near the All-Star game. But I only have so much space and time, so I’m going to confine this post to the top 10 players in all of Major League Baseball who should play in the All-Star game this year and won’t.
Second Disclaimer: I really wanted to put Jhoulys Chacin on here. He’s my 11th man for sure. But his last start really sunk him in the stats. We can comfort ourselves with the fact that he is All-Star caliber and that he’s sure to be chosen within the next few seasons.
10. Mike Adams (Padres). I may be the only writer in all of baseball to put this guy on my list. I think he’s criminally overlooked. It’s not cool to like pitchers who don’t start or save, but I think Adams is the best set-up man in the game. He currently has a 1.17 ERA and 17 holds. His WHIP is 0.65. And he’s recorded 41 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings pitched. When he comes to the mound for the Friars, the opposing team had better plan on sitting down in order. I’m willing to bet most American League fans don’t even know who he is, so how great would it be to bring him on in the 7th or 8th inning of the All-Star game and watch him put everybody away? It will never happen, but I sure wish it would.
9. Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners). I guess if I’m being totally honest, this is a sentimental pick. Ichiro hasn’t quite been himself this season; he is, after all, getting up there in years. But sometimes you have to send in the guy who may be past his prime but still has all the goods his younger peers do. (If you’re a non-Rockies fan, let me take this opportunity to IMPLORE you to use that same logic and go vote for Todd Helton till your fingers are numb.) Ichiro is hitting .274 this season, which isn’t great, but he’s still got one of the best gloves in the biz. And this is the first year of his career that he hasn’t been an All-Star. That makes me sad.
8. Michael Pineda (Mariners). Pineda gets more impressive as the season goes on, and he’s got a fair shot at Rookie of the Year honors. His record is 8-5, but his ERA is 2.58 and he has 106 strikeouts, which is far and away best among rookies. His win-loss numbers are a function of playing for the hapless M’s. Felix Hernandez suffers from the same problem, but he’s the reigning American League Cy Young award winner and an All-Star this year. I wish Pineda had been given the same opportunity.
7. Michael Bourn (Astros). Bourn is another player who doesn’t always get the attention he deserves because he plays for a crappy team. His average, .290, isn’t superb, but his 35 stolen bases are. It’s the best mark in the majors, better even than Jose Reyes, the NL’s starting shortstop. Bourn also has 21 doubles and boasts a .991 fielding percentage in the outfield – 14 points better than his teammate Hunter Pence, who will be in Phoenix as a reserve.
6. Dan Haren (Angels). Haren has really come into his own since beginning his career with Los Angeles in 2010. He’s always been a good pitcher, but for the first time he’s great. In the first half he posted career bests in ERA (2.85) and WHIP (1.02). He has 98 strikeouts so far. Alas, he’s stuck playing second fiddle to the phenomenal Jered Weaver, and since only the Phillies are allowed to have more than one star pitcher, Haren is a bit overlooked. The irony is, he did appear in the last three All-Star games, but this may be the year he’s deserved it most.
5. Jhonny Peralta (Tigers). Plenty of Tigers made the All-Star team, so chances are Peralta was left off to make room for players from teams who weren’t represented. But he’s been one of the most consistent hitters in the American League this season. He’s batting .314 with 14 home runs, 49 RBIs, and a .542 slugging percentage. His previous career highs for home runs and RBIs were 24 (2005) and 89 (2008). He’s on pace to do smash both of those, and he’s a vital part of a potent Tigers’ lineup. If one day he’s able to play for a team less swollen with great hitters, perhaps he’ll get the All-Star nod he’s earned.
4. CC Sabathia (Yankees). The Yankees are another team that don’t need any more All-Stars than they already have. But Sabathia is their ace and deservedly so. His record so far in 2011 is 11-4, and he boasts a 3.05 ERA and 106 strikeouts. He’s been an All-Star four times already, but he’s on pace for better numbers than he had in any of those seasons. Ron Washington says that Sabathia was 6th on the list of pitchers chosen by the players, which means he just missed the cut. It also means there’s a good chance we’ll see him in Phoenix, since many pitchers will be unavailable due to having appeared in games the Sunday before. If we do see him, a wrong will have been righted.
3. Mark Teixeira (Yankees). I know, I know. TWO Yankees on this list and no Rockies. I ought to be ashamed of myself. You cannot argue with the glut of talent the Yankees have though. Whether or not it’s fair isn’t the topic of this post. Teixeira is one of the best defensive first basemen the game of baseball has ever seen, with a career .996 fielding percentage at the position. He’s won four Gold Gloves. His power numbers are better than they’ve ever been: his 25 home runs are second only to Jose Bautista in MLB. He was an All-Star in 2009 and 2010; it’s a shame there wasn’t room for him this year.
2. Tommy Hanson (Braves). I wrote this post yesterday and suddenly developed a twitch when I crunched the numbers and realized that the biggest pitching snub of the 2011 All-Star game belonged to Tommy Hanson, the man my hitters had to face in last night’s game. Hanson is still quite new to the game of baseball: he’s only in his third major-league season. But he is nasty. This season he’s owner of a 2.52 ERA and a 10-4 record, both of which improved when he beat the Rockies last night. He’s struck out 103 and has a 1.04 WHIP. He’s an ace on any staff, except the one that already has Jair Jurrjens. It’s about time this guy got an All-Star nod.
1. Andrew McCutchen (Pirates). If it wasn’t for the out-of-nowhere brilliance of Joel Hanrahan this season, there’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that McCutchen would be the Pirates’ representative at the All-Star game. He is a potent threat offensively, batting .294 this season with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. His OPS is .890. He’s not perfect either in the field or on the basepaths, but he always puts on a show. I think the reason why McCutchen is my choice for number one can’t be quantified. He’s just one of those players that you WANT to watch. He oozes “All-Star.” He should be one.
Did I include or leave off anyone I shouldn’t have? Tell me what you think. Comment here or tweet me (@rockieswoman1).