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Major League Baseball announced the 2nd round of voting for the All-Star game over the past two days. The American League voting is still being dominated by the legions of Texas Rangers fans voting at will and having their players hold down five starting spots. With just over two weeks left before the starters are announced, I think it’s time to announce what my ballot will be for my 125 votes. (Like you don’t have more than one e-mail account to use too.) My National League ballot will be coming out tomorrow, but for now here’s who I think should start for the American League. I will break this up into my pick, who’s acceptable to vote for, and players that are currently placing that you probably shouldn’t be throwing support to.
Mapes Pick: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
American League catcher is a mess right now. Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, and Joe Mauer have been slight disappointments so far. It’d be a nice final All-Star appearance (probably) for Pierzynski who last made the Midseason Classic in 2006. Pierzynski leads AL catchers in OPS and RBI currently, while being 2nd behind Mauer in batting average (.288), and 3rd in home runs, just one behind Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (Author’s Note: As I was writing the blog, Pierzynski tied Napoli and Saltalamacchia with his 11th HR of the year.)
Acceptable to Vote For: Joe Mauer, Twins, Mike Napoli, Rangers, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox
Please Stop Voting For: Russell Martin, Yankees
Mapes Pick: Paul Konerko, White Sox
I’d like to think my first All-Star injustices column helped propel Konerko past Mark Teixiera into the #2 spot at first base. Konerko leads the American League still in batting average and OBP. Plus, he leads A.L. 1st baseman in OPS and has more home runs than current leader Prince Fielder. Fielder does have the advantage in runs scored and batted in.
Acceptable to Vote For: Prince Fielder, Tigers
Please Stop Voting For: Mark Teixiera, Yankees, Mitch Moreland, Rangers, and Albert Pujols, Angels
Mapes Pick: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Ian Kinsler has six more runs scored than Cano. Cano just has four more home runs, the same RBI, a better batting average and OPS and is playing Gold Glove 2nd base compared to his Texas counterpart. Kinsler is having his typically solid year and I think should be picked by his skipper Ron Washington to head to Kansas City, but Cano should be getting the starting nod.
Why Jason Kipnis is in 5th is beyond me, he’s the only 2nd baseman with double digit steals and home runs. Kipnis is hitting .285, is tied for 2nd in the A.L. in runs scored (behind Kinsler), and is tied for the A.L. lead in stolen bases with someone we’ll get to later.
Acceptable to Vote For: Ian Kinsler, Rangers and Jason Kipnis, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox and Robert Andino, Orioles
Mapes Pick: Derek Jeter, Yankees
It’s closer than the near million votes that Jeter is leading the pack by. It’s Derek Jeter though, if he’s having a good season, then he should start the All-Star Game. Fans are getting this one right.
Acceptable to Vote For: Elvis Andrus, Rangers and Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Mapes Pick: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Like his fellow teammate on the left side of the infield Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre should be coming off the bench for the All-Star team not starting it. Cabrera is one of is the not the most feared hitter in the American League. Cabrera is better than Beltre in every statistical category this season. If I was to choose one player currently not starting to track down his positions leader, it’s Cabrera first, then Konerko.
Please stop voting for Evan Longoria, I beg of you. You’re making all of us look bad. You’re better off trying to swing the vote for hometown player and underrated this season Mike Moustakas. It’s also pretty embarrassing that Angels Mark Trumbo isn’t in the top five at this position. I mean he’s only 4th in AVG, 2nd in OBP, 3rd in OPS, and 7th in HR’s in the entire league.
Acceptable to Vote For: Mark Trumbo, Angels, Adrian Beltre, Rangers, Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, and Mike Moustakas, Royals
Please Stop Voting For: Evan Longoria, Rays
Mapes Pick: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Hard to go against Adam Dunn who has bounced back from a horrific 2011 to have over 20 home runs already. The difference between Ortiz and Dunn is seven home runs, but I value Ortiz’s lead in average (massive), OBP, SLG, and OPS more. Fun Adam Dunn stat: he currently leads the American League in both walks AND strikeouts.
The underrated player in this position is Edwin Encarncacion who has been fantastic for the Blue Jays this year, but doesn’t make the top 5. Michael Young is one of my favorite players of the past decade, but doesn’t belong 2nd based on what he’s done. He’s just getting the Ranger fan bump.
Acceptable to Vote For: Adam Dunn, White Sox and Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Please Stop Voting For: Michael Young, Rangers and Raul Ibanez, Yankees
Mapes Picks: Josh Hamilton, Rangers, Adam Jones, Orioles, and Mike Trout, Angels
I’ve spent enough time this season talking about Hamilton, he’s the clear-cut A.L. MVP right now and should be the top vote-getter.
Adam Jones has done everything in his power to carry the Orioles. He’s the top reason that Baltimore is in contention right now in the A.L. East. In addition to Gold Glove defense he’s top five in the league in home runs, total bases, hits, and offensive WAR. Plus, Jones is adding a .300 batting average and nine stolen bases to the mix. The closest battle for a starting spot right now is for the 3rd A.L. outfielder. Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, and Jones are separated by a shade over 80,000 votes. Jones is the clear-cut choice of those three to me.
Curtis Granderson is 2nd in the voting and will be included in my “acceptable to vote for”, but who wouldn’t want to see Mike Trout in the outfield. Trout has turned the Angels fortunes around since getting called up. If Trout currently qualified, he would be 2nd in batting average, 4th in OBP, 9th in SLG, and 6th in OPS. For good measure he’s tied for the American League lead in stolen bases and he didn’t even play the first month! Trout has earned a spot. Only problem is you have to vote for him as a write-in candidate.
The true atrocity at this position is Josh Reddick and Josh Willingham not cracking the top 15 at the position. They are both having breakout seasons and will more than likely be their respective teams solo representatives (unless the A’s Ryan Cook is picked over Reddick). Willingham is 2nd in the league in on-base. How can you not be #WildForWillingham after watching this either?
Acceptable to Vote For: Curtis Granderson, Yankees, Josh Reddick, Athletics, and Josh Willingham, Twins
Please Stop Voting For: David Murphy, Rangers, Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, Brett Gardner, Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners, and Nick Markakis, Orioles
Anything you think I’m completely crazy on? Want to defend a player that currently has a starting spot? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
The initial balloting for the 2012 All-Star Game was announced today and as usual the fans haven’t gotten it completely right. Luckily, there’s still time to fix this. Let’s band together and get some votes in for these players. I will heap some praise on the fans for having Albert Pujols 5th at American League 1st base.
Mark Teixiera over Paul Konerko
I can see the case for voting Prince Fielder into the #1 spot even though I think Paul Konerko should be in the top spot. Konerko isn’t even #2 though as Yankees 1st baseman Mark Teixeira has 26,000 more votes. It’s not like Konerko is playing in a small-market here. Konerko demolishes Teixeira in every single statistical category. Don’t let the Yankee fan base win this one.
Carlos Ruiz 4th at National League Catcher
I nearly spit out my drink when I saw this. Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Brian McCann are bigger names for sure, but Carlos Ruiz has been the best catcher in the game this season. Philadelphia fans need to band together and get Chooch some votes, it’s pretty embarassing. Ruiz would need to double his current votes to be in contention with Yadier Molina.
Adam Jones 5th at American League Outfield
I had Jones 3rd in the entire league in my “Too Early MLB Awards” at this point in the season. Jones is currently being hurt by the flood of Texas votes as he sits behind Nelson Cruz who has the last starter role and just ahead of David Murphy. ADAM JONES IS ONLY ONE SPOT AHEAD OF DAVID MURPHY, get on this Baltimore fans.
Carlos Gonzalez 13th and Giancarlo Stanton not in top 15 at National League Outfield
I don’t think either of these players will start or should start in the outfield, but where they’re currently placed is terrible. CarGo leads the NL in slugging percentage and has been on a tear. Stanton was the May Player of the Month for the Marlins, breaks scoreboards on grand slams and has continued to developed as a stud. Stanton isn’t even on the voting list. Jon Jay made the top 15! Jason Heyward is 7th! It doesn’t make sense. Braves fans if you’re going to vote, throw the support to Michael Bourn and Chipper Jones, not to Jason Heyward! Rockies and Marlins fans need to get out the vote for their outfield studs.
What’s your biggest All-Star vote transgression so far? I’m sure my fellow podcast host Jeremy Dorn is still searching the list for A.J. Ellis.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Each year, 68 Major League Baseball players (34 from each league) descend upon a pre-determined city to wear tacky uniforms and watch their friends and teammates hit ridiculous home runs. This year, it is Kansas City’s turn to host the All-Star Game.
And as with every year, there are more than 68 deserving players. Even more intriguing sometimes than the players who do make it to the All-Star Game are the ones who got snubbed.
With the game determining home-field advantage for the World Series (one of the worst rules ever created in any game anywhere…ever), stakes have been raised in recent years. Still, with fan vote factoring in and the inevitable, biased manager’s choices to fill out the rosters, players are going to get snubbed.
Here are five guaranteed snubs of this year’s All-Star Game from each league, ten in total:
1. A.J. Ellis, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ellis has handled the Majors’ 2nd-best pitching staff flawlessly to this point in the season, and has kept his average fluttering around .330. The most impressive stat that the National League squad will miss out on is his ability to get to 1st base. As of play today, Ellis has racked up an astounding .444 on-base percentage.
The crop of deserving N.L. catchers is just too large this season. You have to think Yadier Molina (St. Louis) and Buster Posey (San Francisco) will make it on fan vote alone. And I can’t see Carlos Ruiz of Philadelphia being snubbed, which leaves no room for the quietest great catcher of the season. Lucroy’s line right now: .343/5/29/.386.
3. James McDonald, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Erik Bedard is getting a ton of credit for his comeback performance in the rotation this season, and deservedly so. But the guy nobody is talking about is the electric righty who has finally put all his talent together into one unhittable package. One that won’t be making the All-Star Game, despite a 2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and .198 batting average against.
4. Anthony Bass, SP, San Diego Padres
Three Up, Three Down’s first MLB player to join the podcast has been stellar since joining the rotation in San Diego. Aside from two hiccups, he’s allowed 3 ER or less in all of his starts in 2012. In 54.1 innings as a starter in 2012, Bass has given up just 22 earned runs. Unfortunately, his run support hasn’t been all that great, so his record doesn’t reflect his performance.
5. Bryan LaHair, 1B, Chicago Cubs
LaHair was a sight to behold for the first month of this season. He’s cooled off considerably, which won’t help him get to Kansas City. Not only is the poor guy going to miss the All-Star Game even with a .301/10/21/.397 line, but he’ll probably lose his starting spot to Anthony Rizzo as soon as the Cubs call him up. I hope LaHair can play outfield!
1. Fernando Rodney, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
David Price is going to get the Rays’ guaranteed All-Star bid, and James Shields might sneak in as well. That leaves the most dominant closer in baseball to this point (you read that right), wondering what he could have done better to get to K.C. It’s a popularity contest, and there just won’t be room for poor Fernando and his 15 saves or 0.38 ERA.
2. Jason Hammel, SP, Baltimore Orioles
I can’t imagine anyone besides Jim Johnson and Adam Jones (who are absolute locks) going to the All-Star Game from the first-place O’s. Despite a ridiculously hot start to the season, Hammel is going to be squeezed out by pitchers like C.C. Sabathia, Yu Darvish and Felix Hernandez. Poor guy. His 6-1 record and 2.78 ERA is going to waste.
3. Derek Lowe, SP, Cleveland Indians
How about D-Lowe this year? The old man still has some nasty sinkerballs in him, and he’s showing it. Lowe has been the veteran anchor on a first-place Cleveland staff, but we all know this kind of success won’t last; ask a Braves fan. Just because we know it’s a fluke, doesn’t mean Lowe and his 6-2 record and 2.15 ERA are any less deserving of a spot.
This may be the biggest snub of them all, but nobody knows who Cook is outside of Oakland. His 0.00 ERA so far in 22.2 innings is incredible, as is his 21 K’s, 4 hits allowed and 0.78 WHIP. But how is Cook going to be selected over Jim Johnson, Jonathan Broxton and Chris Perez for the bullpen? This may be the first time ever a pitcher who hasn’t allowed a first-half run gets snubbed.
5. Billy Butler, 1B, Kansas City Royals
Sigh. What a shame. Playing in his team’s stadium, no less. But you’ve got to understand that the American League DH spot is going to David Ortiz, and the first baseman slots will be filled by Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez. Don’t forget, this is still a popularity contest. Butler has been the best of the bunch at .292/9/32, but he may need the Final Vote to get the spot he deserves.
Who else do you think will be snubbed? Let me know in the comments below! Also, is the home-field advantage rule stupid? Comment away!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)