Soxman’s 2008 All-Star Snubs

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Everyone knows that the selection of starters in the MLB All-Star game is a popularity contest where there is often no direct correlation between who starts at a particular position and who deserves to.

For example, Kosuke Fukudome ranks 9th in batting average (.287), 20th among NL right fielders in HRs (7), 17th in RBIs (35), 10th in stolen bases (8), and 3rd in OBP and yet he was named a starter.
Several members of the Seattle Mariners were named All-Stars in the first year that Ichiro Suzuki was an All-Star…it is very possible that the fan following accompanying a first-year Japanese player helps out his teammates.  With this effect in mind, it is no surprise that seven Cubs made the all-star squad.
 
After fan voting, the remaining roster is chosen by a combination of coaches and the players.  There is also the rule that every major league team must be represented, which complicates things.  There were some obvious mistakes in this year’s selections.  As my favorite team in MLB resides in the AL, I’ll highlight a couple.

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Catcher
 
I’m not arguing with Joe Mauer as a starter.  He leads AL catchers in BA and OBP.  His on-base percentage of .415 is actually second among all major league hitters.  He also works wonders with an over-achieving Twins pitching staff.  All things considered, Dioner Navarro also earned a spot.
 
Jason Variteck?  .218 BA (31st among AL catchers), 7 HR, 27 RBI (8th among AL catchers), 18 RS (15th among AL catchers) The Red Sox already have 5 other representatives on the roster.  With his low ranking in key offensive categories one could argue several other catchers would be more qualified.  However, there are two catchers that deserve special mention.
 
Miguel Olivo, .262, 9 HR (2nd in AL in HRs for catchers), 28 RBI, 17 RS, 2 SB.  He also is one of the better defensive catchers in baseball and plays for a team with only one representative (Joakim Soria).
 
A.J. Pierzynski, .296 BA, 7 HR, 33 RBI 39 RS, 1 SB, 3rd among AL catchers in BA, tied for 3rd in Homers, and he calls games for the best pitching staff in MLB.  He has also performed well while batting in a spot (2nd) that every major league expert agrees he is not suited for.
 
Pitching
 
It is hard to argue against the selected relief pitchers as Baltimore had to have a representative and George Sherrill was one of the better choices.  However, it is still a bitter pill to swallow when Bobby Jenks has a 1.95 ERA and has blown two less saves than Sherrill. Moving on to a greater point, it is an absolute crime that the team with the best pitching staff in baseball does not have at least representative on this staff.  The Sox have the best ERA in MLB (3.38) and the best WHIP (1.24).
 
John Danks, 2.52 ERA (3rd in AL), 1.17 WHIP (10th), .234 Opponents BA (8th in the AL).
 
Gavin Floyd, 3.22 ERA (9th in AL), 1.12 WHIP (7th), 207 Opponents BA (3rd in the AL) and he has had no-hitters this season.
 
In keeping with the rule that all major league teams must have at least one representative on their staff, either one of these pitchers could have arguably replaced Ervin Santana’s 3.28 ERA.
 
In the end the reserve choices are really steered by the fans voting.  While there isn’t an exact science to these selections, some choices would have been more obvious if you simply do the math.
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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    Danks and Floyd are a crime!

  2. Agreed but so people think this article is not “sox-sided” Olivio was also robbed in my opinion. He’s working a younger pitching staff well for a small market team, and has a rocket arm in throwing out base stealers.

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