Three Cincinnati Reds received nods as reserves for the All-Star Game: first baseman Joey Votto (his 2nd), second baseman Brandon Phillips (his 2nd), and right fielder Jay Bruce (his 1st). We should not be surprised that none of the three were not voted in as starters even though in our staff vote (and subsequent 25 votes to MLB.com), all three were starters. Those that were named as starters have had sensational seasons and are deserving.
Let’s go over the Reds that will be in the National League dugout and how they stack up against others at their position…
Of course, you have to start with Votto, last year’s NL MVP. He made the NL team last year in a big push to win the final vote. No need to sweat it out this year. And those that may say that Votto’s numbers are down are correct. This is a well-known fact. We have covered a number of times why this is the case. It’s simple as to why: he’s not getting the pitches in 2011 as he did in 2010.
But if anyone is saying or thinking that Votto does not deserve to go, you still have to revert to his numbers. Votto currently sits 2nd in batting average (behind Colorado’s Todd Helton), 1st in OBP (by 20 points), 3rd in RBI (only starter Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard have more) and 2nd in OPS (to Fielder). In fact, only Votto and Fielder own an OPS over .900 (Votto at .941 and Fielder at 1.004). What is helping his OBP and OPS are his 62 walks, which leads the NL and ties for 2nd in MLB with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.
The selection of Brandon Phillips isn’t a surprise either. Known more for his defensive prowess, sometimes BP’s contributions with the bat are overlooked. They will not be now. Granted, he only has 8 HR (toes for 5th among NL second basemen that qualify), but he has added those 45 RBI (3rd), a .296 batting average (3rd), an OBP of .346 (1st), and an OPS of .773 (3rd).
It is BP’s defense and popularity with the general public that aided him to come in second in the vote. He is more on the more active players to follow on Twitter. I would imagine that everyone that reads BRM already follows him. If not, you MUST follow him (@DatDudeBP). You’re missing out if you don’t.
With being chosen as NL Player of the Month for May, Bruce seemed destined to make the squad. This could give him even more confidence heading into the next series against the Cards and even spill over to the second half of the season. We only hope that is the case.