The National League and American League 2013 All Star teams were released Saturday afternoon. While there were many notable players to earn spots that they rightly deserved, there were several players that deserved spots that did NOT make the team.
Let’s start with those who made it.
The St. Louis Cardinals lead all NL teams with five players on the roster. Leading the way for the Redbirds was catcher Yadier Molina who was the top vote getter in the NL. Joining Molina in the starting lineup will be Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran.
The Cardinals also had two offensive players named as reserves; second baseman Matt Carpenter and first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig. In addition, starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was also named to the team.
After the Cardinals, the Pirates had the second most players make the team with four. However, not one of the Buc’s players is a starter. Pittsburgh has two offensive players in outfielder, Andrew McCutchen and third baseman Pedro Alvarez as well as starting pitcher Jeff Locke and closer Jason Grilli.
The Giants, Reds, and Rockies all had three players named to the team. Of their three players, both the Rockies and the Reds had two players earn starting spots. Joey Votto (1B) and Brandon Phillips (2B) will represent Cincinnati while Carlos Gonzalez (OF) and Troy Tulowitzki (SS) are the Rockies reps in the starting lineup.
Other NL teams with multiple representatives are the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, and the Brewers. Of those teams, only the Mets and Nationals have a starter, third baseman David Wright (Mets) and Bryce Harper (Nats).
Now, the snubs.
There are many who mention Dodgers’ rookie Yasiel Puig as a snub, but he has only been in the majors for a month. While he has had a great first month and even won the NL Rookie of the Month award for June, there are other players who will deserve the honor over him. So, in my view, Puig not making the team is NOT a snub.
The biggest National League snub that I saw was Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce not making the team. Yes, Bruce is a Red and Cincinnati is a Cardinals’ rival, but hear me out.
Bruce has 18 home runs, 59 RBIs and 26 doubles with a .271 batting average. His homer total is one behind Beltran and sixth highest in the NL. Bruce’s 26 doubles are tied for the league lead with Molina.
Bruce has 96 hits on the season entering play on Monday and 45 of those are for extra bases. His numbers are better than everything except batting average of Votto (15 homers, 40 RBIs, 16 doubles and a .321 BA), his own teammate.
Another snub in my book was that of Cardinals’ closer Edward Mujica. For a guy who didn’t start the season as the closer and has the third most saves (23) in the National League, that is impressive. He trails on Grilli (28) and Rafeal Soriano (24). Like Mujica, Soriano was NOT named to the all star team.
Page 2 of 3 - At the same time, Mujica has more saves than Aroldis Chapman as well as a better ERA. Chapman has blown three saves to Mujica’s one and Chapman is one of the three Reds to make the team.
In the American League there was plenty of controversy over players who made the cut and those who did not.
The Detroit Tigers led the American League with a Major League high six players named to the all star team. The Tigers had only one player voted on to the team, Miguel Cabrera.
The Baltimore Orioles had three of their four players voted in as starters; Chris Davis (1B) J.J. Hardy (SS), and Adam Jones (OF).
The Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox had three players named each. Boston’s David Ortiz (DH) and Toronto’s Jose Bautista (OF) were voted as starters while none of the Rangers players is a starter.
The Indians, Twins, Yankees, Mariners, White Sox and Royals all had two players named to the team.
This is where the all star snubs really come into play.
The Oakland A’s had ONE player named to the all star team. One. The A’s have the second best record in the American League and fourth best in all of Major League Baseball. The A’s are in first place in the AL West and their record is better than the Twins, Yankees, Mariners, White Sox, and Royals.
Left off the all star team were A’s closer Grant Balfour and Josh Donaldson.
Balfour has 22 saves this year, tied for fourth in the AL. He has also converted 40 straight save opportunities. He is the ONLY closer in the American League not to have blown a save opportunity this season.
Balfour has more saves than Perkins, (Twins) and Cecil (Blue Jays) is not even a closer. The Twins are 11 games under .500 in fourth place in the AL Central while the Blue Jays are two games under .500 in last place in the AL East. Yet both were named to the team ahead of Balfour.
Then there is Donaldson. Yes, there are already two third basemen on the team. Cabrera, is the reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner.
Donaldson is having a better year than Baltimore’s Manny Machado. Donaldson’s batting average, home runs, RBIs, walks, and strike out totals are all better. Yes, Machado has almost twice as many doubles (39 to 23) but Donaldson has almost three-times as many home runs (15 to 6). Donaldson has done this in nearly 60 fewer at bats.
Yet Machado was selected for the game and Donaldson was left sitting on the sidelines.
Another player left out was Evan Longoria. The Rays’ third sacker has 17 homers and 49 RBIs with 21 doubles and a .289 batting average. The only area Machado has a better numbers over Longoria is batting average (.312 - which still trails Donaldson’s .319) and doubles. Both have scored 53 runs, but Donaldson is right behind the two, crossing the plate 48 times so far.
Page 3 of 3 - Oakland, which is surprising no-one this year after the way the team played last year should have had more players named to the all star team. The snubs of Balfour and Donaldson were not the only players in Oakland having an all star year.
Coco Crisp has as many home runs as the Royals’ Alex Gordon (9 each) and almost three-times as many stolen bases (14 to 5). Crisp has scored more runs (47 to 46) while playing 15 fewer games.
Then there is Jed Lowrie. Hardy was voted in as the starter by the fans, but Jhonny Peralta, of Detroit, was named the backup.
This one isn’t as bad as the rest, but Lowrie has numbers very similar to Peralta. Lowrie has 6 HRs, 22 doubles, 36 RBI, 35 walks, and a .301 batting average whereas Peralta has 7 HRs, 23 doubles, 41 RBIs, 28 walks, and a .306 batting average. Both shortstops have 96 hits and 38 runs scored. But the big difference is strike outs. Peralta has gone down swinging almost twice as often as Lowrie. Peralta has 79 punch outs to Lowrie’s 45.
The all star game has become a joke in recent years. It started when commissioner Bud Selig started making the EXHIBITION game count for home field advantage in the World Series.
There will never be a fair way to honor the players who deserve all star nods, but the way it is done now is a joke.