Checking on the American League MLB All-Star ballots
By Adam Hoff
Every year the All-Star game comes along and causes nothing but trouble. Fans vote like morons, entire countries stuff the online ballot box, the "every team must have a representative" rule rears its ugly head, and the managers inevitably make dumb choices when rounding out their rosters. In short, it's almost never done right. You could probably go back through the last 25 All-Star games and find horrible selections and omissions alike. Based on the initial results of fan voting that were released on Tuesday, it's going to be the same old story for the 2004 game.
What can be done about? Probably nothing. However, in this column space, we're going to do our best to follow along through the process and offer up the Insider All-Star ballot; one that will be released each time the voting tally is announced. Feel free to write in and argue my selections … maybe we can turn this thing into a monthly debate or something.
Last year I announced my All-Star
picks based purely on
American League "Insider" All-Star Ballot.
The American League is known as
the power league, but over the past few seasons, the best offensive seasons have
belonged to players in the Senior Circuit.
Last year five National Leaguers had better OPS marks than the
Leading vote getter: Ivan Rodriguez.
My starter: Rodriguez.
Reserves: Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada.
Apologies to: Jason Varitek and Javy Lopez.
Comments: It's hard to argue with the fan vote here. Pudge is hitting .333, has driven in 40 runs, and completely changed the attitude of the Detroit Tigers. He's had a profound affect on the young pitching staff (just look at Nate Robertson) and is driving in clutch runs just as he did for the Marlins last year. Indians rookie Victor Martinez is on the team for his incredible 42 RBI while Posada makes the cut despite a recent slump and time missed with a broken nose. After all, he does lead the Yanks with 9 home runs and is third in the American league with a 1.052 OPS. Varitek and Lopez have also been outstanding, as the position arguably has more depth that at any time in the last three decades.
Leading vote getter: Jason Giambi.
My starter: David Ortiz.
Reserves: Frank Thomas.
Apologies to: Travis Hafner.
Comments: Let's be honest; the
position is having an awful year.
There really isn't a single
Leading vote getter: Alfonso Soriano.
My starter: Soriano (barely).
Reserves: Juan Uribe.
Apologies to: Nobody.
Comments: This is positively
grisly. Bret Boone has been dinged
up and ineffective, Soriano's numbers are down across the board, Mark Bellhorn
has the OBP and runs scored but leads the league in strikeouts and is hitting
only .247, and Brian Roberts was on fire for a while and has 18 stolen bases,
but is sporting an OPS of only .713 and hadn't scored a run in 11 games until
finally crossing the plate on Memorial Day. Yikes. Basically it comes down to Soriano and
Uribe with the edge going to Alfonso for three reasons: 1) He's an everyday
second basemen, whereas Uribe moves around a lot. 2) He has 29 RBI to Uribe's 17. 3) Since Soriano has arrived in
Leading vote getter: Alex Rodriguez.
My starter: Melvin Mora.
Reserves: A-Rod, Hank Blalock.
Apologies to: Eric Chavez and
Comments: If not for the injuries
to Glaus (possibly season-ending) and Chavez (broken wrist suffered last night),
this position would be stocked with All-Stars. As it stands, there are still three easy
choices. Blalock has tailed off
lately but is still hitting close to .300 with an OPS over .900 and playing an
integral role on an exciting young
Leading vote getter: Nomar Garciaparra.
My starter: Michael Young.
Reserves: Miguel Tejada.
Apologies to: Carlos Guillen.
Comments: Come on, people! Nomar? He hasn't even played a game yet! Regardless, the
Leading vote getters: Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Johnny Damon.
My starters: Guerrero, Ramirez, and Carlos Beltran.
Reserves: Matt Lawton, Jose Guillen, Carl Crawford, and Ichiro Suzuki.
Apologies to: Hideki Matsui, Magglio Ordonez, Rondell White, and Alex Sanchez.
Comments: Wow, that's a lot of
names. We'll go in reverse
order. White and Matsui have been
surprisingly good, but not great, so they just miss the cut. Sanchez is hitting .359 at the top of an
Of the seven
As for the starters, the fans are doing a pretty good job here, choosing Manny and Guerrero, the two best players in the American League so far. Ramirez is hitting .356 with 39 RBI and AL-best totals of 14 home runs and a 1.105 OPS. Guerrero has been just as good, hitting .345 with 12 home runs and standing as the only outfielder in all of baseball to have more than 40 RBI and 40 runs scored. Carlos Beltran is my third starter on the strength of his all-around numbers and stellar play in centerfield. His batting average has slipped down to .267, but he does have 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases.
Should I do the pitching staff? After all, the fans don't vote for pitchers … oh well, let's just do it.
Starting Pitchers (7)
Gets the starting nod: Curt Schilling.
Other starters: Mark Mulder, Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, Pedro Martinez, Javy Vazquez, and Roy Halladay.
Apologies to: Mark Buehrle, Cliff Lee, Esteban Loaiza, Freddie Garcia, and Tim Hudson.
Comments: Schilling has been the
only dominant starter in the
The next two selections were
tougher. All of the remaining
names, from Vazquez to
My picks: Mariano Rivera, Keith Foulke, Joe Nathan, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Apologies to: Francisco Cordero and Eddie Guardado.
Comments: This is a pretty easy group to
pick. Rivera's ratios (K/BB and
WHIP) aren't as good as they've been in the past, but he still sports a 1.26 ERA
with 19 saves. Foulke has been
nearly as good with a 1.01 ERA and .79 WHIP to go with 10 saves. Nathan is the third closer on the list
thanks to his identical 1.14 ERA and WHIP, plus 14 saves and 29 strikeouts in 23
innings. It's hard to believe his
job was in jeopardy during the first few weeks of the season. To round things out, I went with
Francisco Rodriguez. I've always
been fond of rewarding middle relievers for their efforts and he's been the best
setup guy in the game this year. A
.64 ERA to go with a .93 WHIP and
45 K's in 28 innings … wow. The
eighth inning has been lights out in
So there you have it; the 30 guys that I'd put on the All-Star team if the rosters were due today. Every team is represented and there were only a few painful omissions. See, it doesn't have to be that hard. Of course, many of you may disagree. Be sure to write in and let your voice be heard! In the interim, I'll get cracking on the National League and attempt to find a member of the Expos worth putting on the squad.
Adam Hoff is a columnist for WhatifSports.com and can be reached at email@example.com or by sitemail at adamo112.