Clearing The Bases
The 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star game will be held a week from tonight, but we do already know who will be playing in the game, for the most part anyway as there will be players who can’t make the game due to injuries and such. While I am not a big fan of the ASG format, it is always fun to talk about players who were elected or chosen for the game that should not have been and vice versa, players who should be playing in the game yet were snubbed. Today we’re going to look at my top nine players that got the shaft. Ordinarily I probably wouldn’t care all that much as this really should just be an exhibition game for the fans, but since the game “counts” (winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series) I feel it’s only appropriate to mention these players who were snubbed. Once again, they are in no particular order.
Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers: National League manager Tony LaRussa has been digging himself a hole this week for some of his explanations as to why he didn’t select certain players, even mentioning that Greinke didn’t get the call because he is pitching on Sunday and therefore wouldn’t be able to play in the game. Two problems here. One, Greinke is scheduled to pitch Saturday, not Sunday. The Brewers made the switch so as not to cost Greinke an appearance in the game. Two, it’s written into the CBA, (Collective Bargaining Agreement), that players who pitch on Sunday can still be selected. LaRussa struck out here as Greinke is easily a top five pitcher in the NL this season.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds: Conspiracy theorists are running wild with this one, stating that the reason LaRussa didn’t select Cueto is because of his rivalry with the Reds when he was the Cardinals manager and his running feud with manager Dusty Baker. It could also have something to do with Cueto kicking then Cardinal catcher Jason LaRue in the head during that nasty brawl between the two teams a few years back. Not sure I buy LaRussa just not picking Cueto because he plays for the Reds. He did take Reds outfielder Jay Bruce over Cardinals OF Matt Holliday (talk about his more later). In the end there just may be to many top pitchers in the National League, they can’t all go. The fact that he is a member of the Reds may just be a bonus.
Madison Bumgarner/Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants: I’m cheating here by naming two players but they both could have been named to the team. Bumgarner has a 10-4 record, 2.85 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, with 92 Ks in over 110 IP. Vogelsong is 7-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, and 72 Ks in over 103 IP. Not sure what more you can ask from these two. Perhaps they were punished for their fans stuffing the ballot boxes in getting 3B Pablo Sandoval and C Buster Posey voted in as starters. Someone had to pay the price for this and the starters may have been that someone. For those of you who don’t believe what the Giants fans did was wrong, Brandon Belt received almost four million votes.
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: I have to wonder if Holliday told his former manager that he’d rather have the time off than go to the game. His numbers 13 HR, 51 RBI, .311 AVG, .908 OPS are better than Bruce who was chose ahead of him (sort of makes that conspiracy theory hard to swallow). Bruce has four more HRs and three more RBIs, but there is almost a 50 point difference in AVG and OPS. Hard to justify his inclusion over Holliday unless Matt just didn’t want to go to Kansas City.
AJ Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox: I know AJ rubs people the wrong way with his attitude and how he plays the game but he still deserves to be on this team, and should probably be the starter if we are going by who is having the best season. Mike Napoli has been average at best this season. Matt Wieters started out like he was going finally going to put together a monster campaign but has trailed off of late, and Joe Mauer is pretty close to the definition of an empty batting average, little power and no speed.
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays: Okay, so let me get this straight. Adam Dunn was selected to the team. He of the .210 AVG to go along with 24 HRs and 58 RBIs, but Encarnacion doesn’t make it with 22 HRs, 55 RBIs, .292 AVG, and an OPS almost 80 points higher than Dunn. Oh yeah, and Dunn can’t play the field to save his life. How does this make any sense. Have a feeling if EE didn’t play in Canada he would’ve had a much better chance to make the squad.
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians: Maybe this is a case of you just can’t take the starting middle infield from an average team as Asdrubal Cabrera is on the team or it’s a case of a young player who has actually played better than his initial hype being told it’s going to take a year before we believe in you. Either way it’s a shame as Kipnis has a good blend of power and speed that could really come in handy in a game like this. His name isn’t quite there yet with other great second baseman (Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler), but it may be before long.
Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins: Now if you’re only going to take one player from the Twins, shouldn’t it be the guy who has 17 HRs and 56 RBIs to go along with an OPS over .900 for a terrible team in a pitchers’ ballpark? Willingham is the definition of a professional hitter. Has very good power from the right side. Granted, he has no speed and has never met a glove he liked, but he deserved a shot to play in this game.
Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics: Once again Reddick is another example of a player that should have been his team’s long representative, instead American League manager Ron Washington chose former setup man turned closer Ryan Cook. You would think with Washington taking so many DHs to the game (David Ortiz, Adam Dunn, Billy Butler) he would want an extra outfielder on his squad, not like they needed another pitcher, they already have 12. Makes very little sense.
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