It's that time of year when we all get to read about how stupid the fans are. "They shouldn't be deciding who starts the All-Star Game!" I read that over and over again on blogs and on various baseball sites. And as much as I enjoy calling people names, I really don't think the voters are that far off...at least not this year. Let's take a look, shall we? By the way, my projected starters here are based off of the last released fan voting data.
Who's gonna win? AL: Joe Mauer, NL: Yadier Molina
Who should win? AL: Joe Mauer, NL: Brian McCann
Mauer isn't even debatable. The guy is hitting close to .400. His OBP is .467 and SLG is .667. He's only made one error. And those sideburns! He's so dreamy...
On the NL side, McCann has much better offensive numbers than Molina Brother #64. But Yadier just might be the best defensive catcher in the game today. His numbers are good for a catcher and I have no problem with him starting.
Who's gonna win? AL: Kevin Youkilis, NL: Albert Pujols
Who should win? AL: Kevin Youkilis, NL: Albert Pujols
Youkilis and Justin Morneau are a toss up. I went with Youk due to his fifty point lead over Morneau in OBP. He is "The Greek God of Walks", after all. Both guys would be great starters for the AL, but I think they fans got it right. Props to our boy, Miguel Cabrera, and especially surprising Russell Branyan on having great seasons so far, too.
In the NL, Pujols is in a league of his own. He's the best hitter I've ever seen and should have the MVP Award named after him.
Who's gonna win? AL: Ian Kinsler/Dustin Pedroia, NL: Chase Utley
Who should win? AL: Aaron Hill, NL: Chase Utley
The AL race was too close to call at the last reports I saw. Kinsler has a slight lead, but I'm sure Red Sawx Nation will pull their boy over the top in one of only two of this year's representitives I'd have a problem with. (I'll get to the other one later.) Kinsler is my second choice next to Aaron Hill, who is quietly putting up a great season for the Blue Jays hitting .301, 19, 56, .341, .504. It's a shame no one knows who he is.
The NL vote is much easier with the fans getting it right with Philly's Utley. Chase is having his usual solid year over .300 with 17 homers and a .560 SLG.
Who's gonna win? AL: Evan Longoria, NL: David Wright
Who should win? AL: Evan Longoria, NL: David Wright
Apologies to all my 13 year old female readers, but Brandon Inge's career year isn't enough to displace Longoria's solid 2009 campaign, thus far. He's right around the .300 mark with 16 homers, a .377 OBP, and is slugging .558 while making only 8 errors. Evan's come a long way from me watching him play against the Toledo Mud Hens in last year's hope opener.
Wright deserves to start, despite being a very curious case this year. He's hitting .340 with a .427 OBP, but has hit only 5 homers this season. The past four seasons, King David has gone yard 27, 26, 30, and 33 times. The new stadium can't be completely to blame. As much as the home run total is down, Wright continues to be the cream of the NL crop at third base.
Who's gonna win? AL: Derek Jeter, NL: Hanley Ramirez
Who should win? AL: Jason Bartlett, NL: Hanley Ramirez
Tampa's Bartlett is making the Twins look like fools for trading him, hitting .362 this year and racking up 17 steals to go along with it. But am I going to crap on the fans for voting for Mr. Baseball...the Tom Brady of MLB...the man that can walk on water and cure cancer if he wants to, Mr. Derek Jeter? Um...no. I'm not. Despite my distaste for Jeter, the guy's still a quality hitter. Overrated? Yes, at this point in his career. But the guy is still a .300 hitter in the toughest market in baseball to play in. He is this generation's Cal Ripken and I'm not going to complain about it.
The NL has the best player in baseball that most people have never seen play in Hanley Ramirez. I'll take a shortstop that hits .345 and slugs .569 with little protection in the lineup any day.
Who's gonna win? AL: Jason Bay, Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Hamilton, NL: Raul Ibanez, Ryan Braun, Carlos Beltran
Who should win? AL: Torii Hunter, Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford, NL: Raul Ibanez, Ryan Braun, Brad Hawpe
Outfield is always a tough one. There's so many deserving guys with only three spots that there will always be room for debate. That's why I'm not going to argue with five of the six chosen by the fans here. However, even though I said earlier than I was against Pedroia starting if he wins, this is the only huge problem I have with the fan vote this year.
Josh Hamilton should not be in the All-Star Game this year. Either the ballot box have been stuffed by crackheads in Arlington or people are voting based off of last year's Home Run Derby. Hamilton's been injured much of the year and when healthy, only hit .240, 6, 24, .290, .456. Josh says he'll play if voted in, but I think he should rest up for the second half of the year and the Rangers' playoff run instead of taking the spot deserved by another guy.
And that's that. Two big fan mistakes out of a possible sixteen spots? That's not the travesty that I keep hearing about. Lay off the fans this year, angry sports writers. Go back to tracking every time Manny Ramirez has a bowel movement, or something.
Since I've gone on for this long, here's my top three choices in each league to be the starting pitcher. Why not?
AL: Zach Greinke, Roy Halladay, Edwin Jackson
NL: Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain