Options Abound: AL All Star Balloting


I received a twitter direct message from BRM Editor in Chief (sounds impressive doesn’t it?!  And did I just promote him to a new title?) Steve Engbloom suggesting that the American League All Star balloting was worse than the National League.  I found this difficult to believe given the disgust I have for the National League All Star balloting as I wrote about yesterday and set out to test his theory.  First I went to the MLB article providing the votes for the top 5 contestants in this annual beauty contest.  Imagine my surprise and horror when I discovered the New York Yankees lead in 6 of 9 positions.  Remember the significance of this game, it determines which league will be the “home team” for the World Series.  Given this reality, it is in the Yankees best interest that Derek Jeter not be the Yankees representative to the 2011 All Star Game.  So after just a quick glance I realized my illustrious editor was correct and this really does deserve exposure in all its lurid detail.  For this edition of Options Abound, I used the top 5 voted players at each position and added a few overlooked players who deserved attention for their success.  Let’s dive in!

First Base:  Currently Leading – Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees.

Teixeira is a good candidate but his batting average is a bit weak though his production numbers are strong.  Adrian Gonzalez seems to have a slight advantage at first but to be fair the vote here does not get me excited in the least.  Teixeira, Gonzalez and Cabrera are all viable candidates.

Second Base:  Currently Leading – Robinson Cano, New York Yankees.

Of the five players receiving the most votes Cano has the only batting average above .260.  Kind of makes the whole American League look a bit pathetic.  I added in Howard Kendrick to this discussion as he has a far better Batting Average and OPS than anyone in this group but Cano has more Runs and RBIs .  Either choice seems valid.  My question here is why are Pedroia,  and Cabrera even receiving votes?

Shortstop:  Currently Leading – Derek Jeter, ESPN Yankees (Oops keyboard malfunction)

On what basis is Derek Jeter earning votes?  Captain of the Yankees you say, ah how nice… Well at least he has a respectable amount of Runs scored, that is something.  Jeter is a quarter million votes ahead of Asdrubal Cabrera which is so fascinating as he is losing in most every statistical category except TMZ paparazzi photos over Asdrubal.  I also added in Alexei Ramirez who is having a great season in his own right.  Of course voters skipped Alexei since he has 3 less stolen bases than 37 year old Jeter.  I was reminded yesterday that not all voters for well known players are “homers” as I decried in the NL version of this post.  Sometimes it is simply name recognition.  As I alluded two in the heading for this position, the fact that ESPN seems convinced that the only good baseball is played at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium so the names of every starter are exposed nationally with far more regularity than anywhere else in the country.  But you already know this right?  Moving on…

Third Base:  Currently Leading – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees.

I mentioned while evaluting 2nd Base that the American League seemed kind of pathetic.  This adds to that general theme.  I know that batting average is not the most effective measure of a quality offensive player but it is sad that not one player on the AL 3B ballot has a .300 batting average.  Rodriguez is close but really that is kind of sad.  I went to the MLB stat page and discovered that Kansas City is effectively using Wilson Betemit as their third baseman and he is the only starting third baseman in the American League with a .300 batting average so I added his numbers here.  Betemit is no George Brett but he has posted respectable numbers.  Longoria shouldn’t have votes here and I think the best candidates are Youklis, A Rod, and Beltre who has a great RBI total.

Catcher:  Currently Leading – Russell Martin.

Alex Avila is the only one behind the plate with a batting average over .250.  Again pathetic.  This category is a joke really, but the decision must be between Avila and Russell.

Outfield:  Currently Leading – Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays; Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees; Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers.

American League voters have one thing right.  JoeyBats deserves your vote.  His OPS is hard to believe.  Running in second with almost as gaudy numbers is the most deserving Yankee, Curtis Granderson.  After this AL voters just picked names they knew.  MVP Josh Hamilton is third but he has been injured almost all season.  Ichiro Suzuki is having his worst season in MLB and probably the worst of his career yet both players have over half a million votes.Nelson Cruz is 5th and he is not deserving of this honor either.  I would point to Matt Joyce, the Tampa Bay Rays RF as one deserving recognition and votes.

DH:  Currently Leading – Micheal Young, Texas Rangers.

Of all the categories this is the one I most abhor.  First, I have an intense dislike for the DH position for starters.  It always reminds me of a men’s softball league.  The, shall we say, large man steps to the plate knowing he has two choices.  Hit the ball over the fence or risk a heart attack and run to first base.

With that in mind, I also have discovered that 771, 219 Yankee voters may not be idiots.  I realize this number presumably should be divided by 25 but I am giving the benefit of the doubt.  The number I arrived at is the votes Cano received minus the votes Jorge Posada was given.  Clearly each of the 414, 733 votes represents someone I NEVER want to hang out with and talk about baseball over an adult beverage…or even a can of soda (pop where I come from.)  The man has a .169 Batting average and minimal production this season from the position with the highest average salary of any position in baseball, and he plays for the team with the largest payroll.  Yanks are sure getting the bang for those bucks.

Anyway Young or a resurgent David Ortiz are the best choices at DH.  If you must.

Final Thoughts:  Looking over the lineup here, I imagine if National League pitchers just intentionally walk Bautista every time he bats they should win this All-Star game running away.  Good thing the Cubs aren’t stuffing the ballot box…

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