Eight days ago I posted a guide to selecting National League players to the All Star team. As of that day I believe it was an unbiased view of the races without any idea of who was leading in the various races. Now the first votes are counted and the races are taking shape so how is Jon Q. Fan doing? Are they worthy of the sacred trust they have been given? Let’s check it out?1st Base: Currently Leading – Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals. Let me start this by uttering words found sacrilegious among Reds fans. I am an unabashed Pujols fan, when playing at the height of his ability he was fun to watch. The All Star game though depends on fans leaving their opinions behind and selecting the best player based on the numbers. And in 2011, Albert Pujols is not the Albert we are familiar with for the last decade.
Looking at these numbers that are provided on the MLB voting page, with the addition of the OPS number that represents true excellence in my opinion, it is hard to understand how Pujols is winning beyond name recognition. He leads in no category excepting SBs and his OPS is not competitive. Votto and Fielder in my humble opinion still look best and Joey’s OPS is very strong. If you look at the vote you will see that Freddie Freeman is in 5th place, more on the Braves as we move along.
2nd Base: Currently Leading – Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds. The voting here is mind boggling to me. Phillips is slightly ahead of Weeks and that makes sense, but the simple fact that Uggla and Utley have even one vote tells me a lot of people are simply “Homers” with no concept of what the word “All Star” means.
Embarrassing. The idea that Uggla and Utley have even one vote is sad. Philadelphia and Atlanta should be ashamed. That said Phillips and Weeks are both looking very competitive and should fight it out to the end. Neil Walker is slightly behind statistically but as we see in a minute our own Bomber Bruce will show how a race can turn on a dime.
Shortstop: Currently Leading – Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies. In my first installment, I mentioned their were no front runners at this position and suggested the choice was between Drew, Reyes, and Tulowitzki. But again, the Braves and Phillies have installed underperforming representatives from their teams into the mix so lets check them all out.
In this case I must definitively say that Reyes deserves your All Star vote. The numbers are simply overwhelming. The OPS of Gonzalez and Rollins are indicative of why they have no business receiving votes.
Third Base: Currently Leading – Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies. Phillies in first, Braves in second…do you sense a theme? To avoid jumping on a soapbox let’s take a look at the numbers.
These are the top 5 in the 3B vote plus the sleeper pick I suggested last week, Ryan Roberts. Rolen, Sandoval and Wright have all missed time this season and their numbers reflect that fact. Aside from his RBI totals, Chipper Jones deserves no consideration, leaving Roberts and Polanco as the best choices. Given my disgust at the “Homer” attitude in Philadelphia I opine that Roberts is quite deserving of a write in ballot.
Catcher: Currently Leading – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants. This may be the sentimental vote many fans. Posey will not be able to appear in the All Star Game and will doubtfully return at all this season and baseball will miss him. Lets see how the other contenders fare.
This time the guilty “Homer” votes again fall to a Phillies player. Carlos Ruiz has no business being considered behind the plate. Posey’s numbers before his injury were good but not up to the standard he set last year in his rookie season. Hernandez has the most HR and the best OPS, while the Braves finally have the only member of their lineup truly worthy of consideration in Brian McCann who has the most runs batted in. Molina and Montero also make a reasonable argument for their selection. The nice thing here is that with Giants manager Bruce Bochy managing the NL team, we will truly get the best representative at this position.
Outfield: Currently Leading – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals; and Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals. A week ago I left Jay Bruce out of my recommendations. His numbers were good, but others were slightly better. The worm has turned! This report will list the 9 top contenders in votes with Bruce and Hunter Pence thrown in.
This is such a tough category. Valid arguments can be made for Braun, Berkman and Holliday but when you are leading in two of the 3 categories for the Triple Crown, you deserve a vote. Jay Bruce has taken over control of both the RBI and HR race in recent days and it is simply a joke that he is 12th in the balloting. Matt Kemp and Hunter Pence also put up strong numbers but the race should be between the three frontrunners and Bruce.
Not one to let a dead horse lie, I must return to the discussion of what is wrong with people in Atlanta. Are you simply not paying attention? Jason Heyward has almost reached half a million votes and he is batting at a .214 clip. The league should stop counting ballots from the state of Georgia.
I must return to the theme of this article. There is no reason two teams fan base should attempt to hijack the All Star game simply because of population. The MLB should continue to study and look for more effective ways of selecting this team while allowing fans a muted voice. That said the every position has a credible leader with the exception of First Base. We all know what happened to Joey Votto last year in the voting and this year he probably has lost a couple of votes due to his lack of Home Run production. It is a shame though that there at least 3 better choices than Pujols yet he leads all voting in the NL.
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