American League All-Star Snubs
With the MLB Final Vote in full swing and the All-Star game looming, I thought it would be a good time to address the obvious American League All-Star team snubs and omissions. Manager Jim Leyland opted to add five relievers to his squad and a 6th will be added at the conclusion of the fans Final Vote. The Tigers big man selected Brett Cecil, Glen Perkins, Mariano Rivera, Jesse Crain and Joe Nathan to anchor the bullpen when in previous years managers have opted for a roster laden with starters.
The influx of relievers saw many worthy starters excluded from the mid-summer classic. The most glaring omission for me personally was Tampa Bay Rays youngster Matt Moore who is 12-3 with a 3.42 earned run average. You would have to assume fans would rather see Matt Moore take the bump over reliever Jesse Crain (No disrespect to Crain). Moore is one of the sexiest arms in all of baseball and Leyland dropped the ball for a chance to showcase the Rays prodigy.
The likes of Hiroki Kuroda, John Lackey and Ervin Santana all have earned run averages under 3.00 and each would have been deserving of a selection in their own right. Some other deserving notable pitchers that will not be in attendance at Citi Field are Chris Tillman of the Orioles and Derek Holland of the Rangers.
The American League third base position had 5 candidates who could have been just as worthy as Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado (ok, maybe not as worthy as Miggy). The aforementioned Beltre, Evan Longoria and Josh Donaldson all have All-Star credentials. The Athletics’ Donaldson is having a career year surprising everyone with a .316 BA with 15 HR, 58 RBI and a .914 OPS.
The Los Angeles Angels Howie Kendrick and Astros speedster Jose Altuve could have gotten the nod at second base had they not been blocked by fantastic first half’s from perennial All-Star Robinson Cano and the tribes Jason Kipnis.
The shortstop position is represented by the two best candidates however I am surprised that Toronto Blue Jays’ shortstop Jose Reyes wasn’t voted in seeing the game is in New York, his former stomping ground. Reyes was injured for most of the season however the voting always seems similar to a high-school class president election with the most popular person getting the nod.
The big bopper position was similar to third base with many worthy players being ignored. The ageing Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Adam Dunn and James Loney were all passed on this time around. The players elected and selected were the correct choices, how can you argue what Chris Davis, Prince Fielder and Edwin Encarnacion have done.
The 6 outfield selections are premiere talents in the game that you cannot argue their presence. The likes of Ibanez, Chris Carter, Alex Rios, Daniel Nava and Colby Rasmus could have all garnered attention but were a step behind that of Trout, Jones, Bautista, Cruz, Gordon and Hunter.
The 3 catching selections were a good representation of the three best catchers in the league. Carlos Santana could have gotten the nod as well seeing his stat line is comparable to that of Jason Castro.
The talent pool around the American League could have fielded two All-Star teams so no doubt the selections and roster jockeying is not an easy task. The worthy snubs will now have to wait for injury vacancies for a chance to attend the mid-summer classic.