All-Star picks: Many were called, many were chosen
I’m done caring about the outcome of the All-Star Game.
Oh, I know I shouldn’t say that as a faithful employee of FOX Sports. This time it counts. Every time it counts! But to those who would accuse me of betraying the company line, I say, au contraire.
Gimme the stars, man. The biggest names, young and old, the leading trade candidates, the notorious drug cheats. And if it means sacrificing a deserving utility man, gifted defender or brilliant setup man, so be it.
In choosing my rosters, I’m considering only one advanced metric.
Seriously, the game should be about whom people want to see, and I’m not just talking about the good people of Kansas City.
If the game truly is about winning, baseball should abolish the rule requiring every team to be represented. But the selection process, like so much else in the sport, is full of mixed messages.
I’ll play along and include a player from every club on my 34-man rosters for each league. Don’t worry about your favorites getting snubbed, by me or anyone else. By the time the injured players and ineligible starting pitchers are replaced, nearly everyone will get a trophy, just like in Little League.
Anyway, here goes.
Notable omissions: Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles; Yovani Gallardo, Rangers; Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles; Hector Santiago, Angels.
I’m starting Sale just to see him strike out the side, then I’ll alternate righties and lefties: Gray, Keuchel, Archer, Price, Kluber, etc.
Buchholz is fourth in the AL in Fielding Independent Pitching, but I’ve got Xander Bogaerts on my team and can’t justify more than one player from the Red Sox.
Wish I could have included Jimenez — terrific comeback story.
Notable omissions: Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays; Will Harris, Astros; Carson Smith, Mariners; Chasen Shreve, Yankees; Brad Boxberger, Rays.
In general, I lean toward established relievers with consistent track records (though Boxberger would certainly qualify by that standard).
Davis has allowed one earned run — one! — in 34 innings. Perkins is 25 for 25 in save opportunities. Betances is averaging a mere 14.52 strikeouts per nine innings.
Notable omission: Brian McCann, Yankees
McCann is 51 points ahead of Perez in OPS, but it’s reasonable to exclude him to put in the Royals’ heart and soul. Plus, I’m thinking of manager Ned Yost, who starts to lose his equilibrium when an inning passes without Perez at catcher.
Notable omissions: Jose Altuve, Astros; Brock Holt, Red Sox; Eric Hosmer, Royals; Mitch Moreland, Rangers; Mike Moustakas, Royals; Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox; Mark Teixeira, Yankees.
Correa did not make his major-league debut until June 8. He has only 94 career at-bats. No matter, he already is the best shortstop in the American League.
I love Hosmer, but, c’mon; six other first basemen boast a higher OPS; Teixeira is the one truly getting shafted. The only reason I excluded Moustakas was to create an additional spot for an outfielder/DH.
That’s right, A-Rod, serving as the arch-villain for the proceedings. Martinez has been better offensively, and Kiermaier leads the majors with 20 defensive runs saved. But “Mr. Entertainment,” as Kevin Kernan of the New York Post calls A-Rod, will give Reds fans someone to boo while they go hoarse cheering for their own scoundrel, Pete Rose.
Notable omissions: Jake Arrieta, Cubs; Jeurys Familia, Mets; Cole Hamels, Phillies; Kenley Jansen, Dodgers; Francisco Liriano, Pirates; A.J. Ramos, Marlins; Drew Storen, Nationals; Michael Wacha, Cardinals; Brad Ziegler, Diamondbacks.
See, this is the problem when no one can hit. The pitching statistics get completely out of whack, to the point where 20 guys look like Koufax and Eckersley in their primes.
I badly wanted to include Arrieta, but Miller is the Braves’ only representative, and which other starters would you drop? And the relievers, sheesh; Melancon, for example, has not allowed an earned run since May 11. All of the omissions are legitimately deserving.
Notable omission: Nick Hundley, Rockies; Derek Norris, Padres.
Pretty self-explanatory. Norris has 11 homers and 20 doubles, but his OBP is .292. Hundley is enjoying typical Coors success: great at home, not so great on the road.
Notable omissions: Yunel Escobar, Nationals; Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers; Adam Lind, Brewers; Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies.
Gonzalez had a big April, then tailed off. Tulowitzki had a monster June but isn’t deserving over Peralta or Crawford.
Yes, I wanted all four third basemen. The lowest OPS in the group belongs to Carpenter at .828.
Notable omissions: Andre Ethier, Dodgers.
The choices would be much more difficult if Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Holliday were healthy.
McCutchen gets the nod over Pederson in center due to his veteran status; the metrics rate Pederson higher.