July 3, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones (10) celebrates hitting a double in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

2012 All Star Ballots Are In And The Losers Are…The Voters: Part 2 The National League


The American League evaluation is complete so it is time to move over to the National League.  The air is crisp here, the stench of the Designated Hitter a distant memory.  The National League is on the cusp of a trend this season, after years of frustration at the hands of the AL they have finally put back to back wins on the board.  A win this year, and we have a trend.  While I mentioned the poor choices made by voters and players in the American League (You know who you are!)  The Senior Circuit did not rest on the experience and wisdom that comes with age.  They botched it too.  As you will see, the recent home stand in San Francisco afforded their fans a wonderful opportunity to stuff the ballot box and elect more players who may not be the best representative the league had to offer.

Before we begin breaking down each individual position I wanted to discuss a bit of well timed news.  MLB announced this afternoon that Chipper Jones had already been added to the roster of the NL squad due to the injury suffered by Matt Kemp.  This is welcome news as Chipper should not be forced to face the indignity of playing half of the season yet being added to the final vote as a means of celebrating his Hall of Fame career.  Fans would be faced with voting for a statistically deserving candidate or one whose legacy is amazing.  Not the choice I wanted to make.

We will again start behind the plate.

Catcher

As with the American League, the National League catcher selections are just not right.  The difference here is that the three NL Catchers selected in one form or another were the three best choices.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Buster Posey C Giants .296 31 40 10 .835 1 6 Fans
Yadier Molina C Cardinals .311 33 44 12 .872 7 2 Players
Carlos Ruiz C Phillies .356 38 43 11 1.000 3 3 Coach
Miguel Montero C Diamondbacks .279 38 43 8 .809 0 4 Out

Carlos Ruiz is playing for a team that shockingly is terrible.  He stands out for his excellence on a team that has under-performed nearly everywhere else.  It pains me to say Yadier Molina has also been all star caliber.  Both of these individuals are better in every category than the representative voted onto the team, San Francisco Giant Buster Posey. Posey seems to have benefited along with a number of his teammates from a long home stand right before the voting deadline.  He is a good player, but in 2012 he shouldn’t have been an All Star.  At least he is better than the next best catcher Miguel Montero.

First Base

With Fielder and Pujols gone this was not a competitive position.  There is only one competitor and a couple of pretenders.  The only controversy rears its head with the players selection.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Joey Votto 1B Reds .350 50 47 14 1.103 4 4 Fans
Bryan LaHair 1B Cubs .284 30 28 13 .890 1 3 Players
Paul Goldschmidt 1B Diamondbacks .293 34 35 11 .911 6 3 Out

Bryan LaHair just doesn’t measure up to Paul Goldschmidt.  Simple as that.  Votto’s dominance is spectacular though.

Second Base

And here it is.  The focal point of the selection process.  I am sure you expect me to rant and rave at this point.  I will say this, the selections made at second were not right.  Dan Uggla should not have been elected to start in the All Star Game. In my opinion, neither should the Reds Brandon Phillips.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Dan Uggla 2B Marlins .232 52 43 11 .771 0 8 Fans
Jose Altuve 2B Astros .309 45 23 5 .803 12 8 Players
Brandon Phillips 2B Reds .288 42 46 10 .776 4 2 Out
Aaron Hill 2B Diamondbacks .301 35 38 11 .878 7 4 Final

First off, Uggla breaks my rule of hitting a quarter of the time.  His OPS is mediocre, he commits a lot of errors, but he scores a few runs.  Jose Altuve is a solid ballplayer.  Few RBI but you have to take into account he is on one of the worst teams in history.  Phillips has great production numbers though his OPS is slightly low, but his defense is without peer.  Finally there is Aaron Hill, this is the same Aaron Hill who has hit for the cycle TWICE in one month.  Amazing.  He is in this final vote and if I bother, he would be mine.  In all, Altuve should have won the starting job and Brandon and Hill the extra positions.  Uggla should be at home enjoying the show.

Short Stop

This is one of the least controversial positions and all three earned a place on the squad.  Here are the numbers.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Rafael Furcal SS Cardinals .280 52 31 5 .723 9 7 Fans
Starlin Castro SS Cubs .298 36 40 6 .751 16 13 Players
Ian Desmond SS Nationals .276 39 43 13 .788 8 11 Coach
Jed Lowrie SS Astros .261 35 33 14 .833 2 8 Out

Lowrie has good power numbers but Furcal’s defense puts him over the top and really does deserve his election.  I voted for Starlin Castro but can make a real argument for each of these ballplayers to win out.

Third Base

To my mind this is the biggest mistake the fans made regarding the National League squad.  I list stats for 5 players and I feel confident when I say of these five players the last one I would have selected won the starting job.  Pablo Sandoval is a decent player but I see no excuse that should have granted him the start.  None.  Here are the numbers.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Pablo Sandoval 3B Giants .307 26 25 6 .848 0 7 Fans
David Wright 3B Mets .355 52 50 9 1.013 8 8 Players
David Freese 3B Cardinals .280 35 48 13 .812 1 4 Final
Aramis Ramirez 3B Brewers .262 44 45 9 .801 2 5 Out
Chipper Jones 3B Braves .292 23 29 6 .830 0 6 Replacement

I already mentioned that Chipper Jones is going to replace Matt Kemp on the NL roster.  I am happy for the future Hall of Famer and happy that MLB had the good sense to keep him out of the final vote.  David Freese is in that vote but as I mentioned earlier Aaron Hill is a better choice for that honor.  Sandoval has exactly half of the runs and RBI that David Wright has.  This creates a strong argument against allowing fans to ever touch a ballot.  Ever.  Wright dominates this category statistically the way Votto does at first yet he is on the outside looking in.

Outfield

The starting three are not bad choices.  From there things get interesting.

Player Position Team BA Runs RBI HR OPS SB Errors Selected By
Carlos Beltran LF Cardinals .308 49 63 20 .968 7 2 Fans
Matt Kemp CF Dodgers .355 30 28 12 1.162 2 1 Fans
Melky Cabrera RF Giants .350 53 38 7 .907 10 3 Fans
Ryan Braun LF Brewers .313 49 55 22 1.005 13 4 Players
Carlos Gonzalez RF Rockies .339 59 58 17 1.000 10 2 Players
Jay Bruce RF Reds .262 44 54 17 .857 4 2 Coach
Andrew McCutchen CF Pirates .360 52 54 16 1.024 14 1 Players
Giancarlo Stanton CF Marlins .282 45 50 19 .915 5 6 Coach
Bryce Harper LF Nationals .274 38 22 8 .819 8 5 Final
Matt Holliday LF Cardinals .307 51 48 12 .889 3 2 Out
Michael Bourn CF Braves .302 52 29 7 .785 22 2 Final

My thoughts here in random order.  I have been a Beltran fan since his days in Kansas City but he should not have been selected over Carlos Gonzalez in my opinion.  Andrew McCutchen has been scintilatting of late and in light of Matt Kemp’s injury he should be the starter.  Bryce Harper is a phenom, a nice story, etc.  He is not of All Star caliber like Mike Trout.  The numbers just aren’t there.  His addition to the final vote is a joke to me.  And I hate to say this, but I think Matt Holliday should have been picked over Jay Bruce, my favorite current Reds player.  I gotta call it like I see it so there it is.

Starting Pitching

And now I stand on the precipice of anger.  The National League Starting Pitchers.  Johnny Cueto should be a part of this group.  Period.  Look at the numbers and you be the judge.

Player Position Team ERA WHIP W L Avg SO BB Selected By
Matt Cain SP Giants 2.53 0.95 9 3 .207 114 23 Players
R.A. Dickey SP Mets 2.15 0.88 12 1 .190 116 25 Players
Lance Lynn SP Cardinals 3.62 1.25 10 4 .239 98 34 Players
Gio Gonzalez SP Nationals 3.01 1.12 11 3 .195 112 39 Players
Stephen Strasburg SP Nationals 2.81 1.08 9 3 .217 122 27 Players
Cole Hamels SP Phillies 3.08 1.10 10 4 .232 111 28 Coach
Clayton Kershaw SP Dodgers 2.74 1.04 5 4 .221 103 27 Coach
Wade Miley SP Diamondbacks 2.87 1.06 9 4 .227 66 19 Coach
Madison Bumgarner SP Giants 2.85 1.06 10 4 .229 92 22 Out
A.J. Burnett SP Pirates 3.31 1.24 9 2 .235 69 29 Out
Chris Capuano SP Dodgers 2.69 1.10 9 3 .219 89 31 Out
Johnny Cueto SP Cincinnati 2.26 1.14 9 4 .246 79 25 Out
Zack Greinke SP Brewers 2.82 1.17 9 2 .251 102 22 Out

For me the automatic pitchers in the game are Cain, Dickey, Strasburg, Cueto and Bumgarner.  Hamels, Kershaw, Gonzalez, and Capuano  also have solid arguments.  I would leave Lynn, Miley, Grienke and Burnett at home.  ERA matters and I am giving Hamels a slight pass just because he is winning for a terrible team.

Concerning the comments Tony LaRussa has made regarding Johnny Cueto‘s ommision I will leave you with this rule from the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement:

(ii) Sunday Pitcher Rule. Any starting pitcher elected or selected to the All-Star team who makes a start on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game (“Sunday Pitcher”) shall have the option to participate or not participate in the All-Star Game. If such starting pitcher elects to participate in the All-Star Game, he will not be permitted to pitch for more than one inning, and he may also inform his manager that he should be removed from the game if he reaches a certain pitch count (irrespective of whether he has completed one inning), provided such pitch count is reasonable. If a Sunday Pitcher who was originally named to the team elects not to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars who are excused from participation, and he will be encouraged to attend and be announced at the All-Star Game.

I hate this breaking down into a legal discussion but TLR’s remarks caused it to become one.  5 pitchers were selected last year who had pitched on Sunday and were unavailable but they still were honored for their body of work.  LaRussa is a petty, vindictive man and my opinion is that when a manager retires, he should forfeit his right to manage in the All Star Game regardless of the post season.  Let Mike Metheny do it.  And let Johnny take a bow.

Relief Pitching

After the fireworks between the Starters the relievers a bit anticlimactic.  Let’s look at stats:

Player Position Team ERA WHIP Sv Hld Avg SO BB Selected By
Aroldis Chapman RP Reds 1.98 0.77 13 6 .127 64 12 Players
Joel Hanrahan RP Pirates 2.10 1.07 20 0 .163 31 14 Players
Craig Kimbrel RP Atlanta 1.50 0.77 23 0 .126 50 10 Players
Jonathan Papelbon RP Phillies 3.03 1.08 19 0 .223 37 7 Coach
Huston Street RP Padres 1.29 0.67 12 0 .114 28 6 Coach
Sergio Casilla RP Giants 2.70 2.70 21 1 .217 28 10 Out
Tyler Clippard RP Nationals 1.83 0.90 13 10 .137 39 15 Out

The Cuban Missile is no longer the lock he was but he is quite good.  Huston Street has the best numbers after Chapman’s mini meltdown.  Hanrahan and Kimbrel are solid.  The only mistake I see is LaRussa picking Papelbon over Tyler Clippard.  That is the only change here I would suggest.

In closing, the teams are set.  I would change a few things but ultimately the game I look forward to is not the All Star Game itself, it is the All Star Futures Game that excites me.  I want to see Billy Hamilton tested by the best arms in the game.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz

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Tags: 2012 All Star Game A.J. Burnett Aaron Hill Andrew McCutchen Aramis Ramirez Aroldis Chapman Billy Hamilton Brandon Phillips Bryan LaHair Bryce Harper Buster Posey Carlos Beltran Carlos Gonzalez Carlos Ruiz Chipper Jones Chris Capuano Clayton Kershaw Cole Hamels Craig Kimbrel Dan Uggla David Freese David Wright Giancarlo Stanton Gio Gonzalez Huston Street Ian Desmond Jay Bruce Jed Lowrie Joel Hanrahan Joey Votto Johnny Cueto Jonathan Papelbon Jose Altuve Lance Lynn Madison Bumgarner Matt Cain Matt Holliday Matt Kemp Melky Cabrera Michael Bourn Miguel Montero Pablo Sandoval Paul Goldschmidt R.A. Dickey Rafael Furcal Ryan Braun Sergio Casilla Starlin Castro Stephen Strasburg Tyler Clippard Wade Miley Yadier Molina Zack Greinke