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Article:Name that MLB All-Star

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The All-Stars have been named for next week's game from Yankee Stadium. The Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs lead all teams with 7 selections. The 1st place Tampa Bay Rays will bring 2 players to the mid-summer classic in Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro. Every year it's the same thing: guys make it when they shouldn't, and guys don't make it when they should. This year is no different. 

Let's play a little game called "Name that MLB All-Star." As seen sometimes on Baseball Tonight or in March when deciding on those last bubble teams I will simply list stats (through Sunday) for certain players at a specific position without the benefit of their names, and you decide who deserves to be the All-Star. In some cases you will be able to choose more than 1 nameless player.  Scroll down to see who belongs to each stat line, with the actual All-Stars in BOLD.

Before we begin, I want to point out that I understand that the fans vote in the starters, and every team in the league must be represented. The bench players are elected by fellow players and the managers (Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle). With that said, let’s see who really should be All-Stars. 

We'll start out simple. Just 2 options here. 1 is an All-Star and 1 is not.  The position is catcher (in the American League). You decide.

Which catcher deserves to be an All- Star?

Player A:  .296, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 33 Runs
Player B:  .218, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 18 Runs

I know, it's not close. Well, player B was voted in by the players. His name: Jason Varitek. The Red Sox captain is only owned in 42.6% of ESPN Fantasy Leagues! Every team in fantasy needs a catcher right? That is unbelievable. In fact, recently released Cleveland Indians reliever Joe Borowski (42.5%) is owned in just as many leagues.    

A. A.J. Pierzynski, CHW
B. Jason Varitek, BOS

Staying in the American League, let's take a look at 3rd basemen. Choose (2) out of (5).

Player A: .281, 17 HR, 54 RBI
Player B: .261, 15 HR, 47 RBI
Player C: .286, 8 HR, 44 RBI
Player D: .297, 13 HR, 54 RBI
Player E: .281, 16 HR, 52 RBI

Looking at the numbers this one might be tough. Some similar stat lines here.  No way player B makes it over D or E right? Wrong.

A: Aubrey Huff*, BAL
B: Joe Crede, CHW
C: Carlos Guillen, DET
D: Mike Lowell, BOS
E: Evan Longoria, TBR

  • 3B eligible in fantasy

What about OF in the AL?  Here are the numbers of 7 players, choose only 2.

Player A: .272, 13 HR, 64 RBI
Player B: .278, 16 HR, 53 RBI
Player C: .307, 12 HR, 50 RBI
Player D: .271, 11 HR, 55 RBI
Player E: .302, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 34 SB
Player F: .308, 19 HR, 52 RBI
Player G: .288, 8 HR, 47 RBI, 22 SB

Chalk this one up to the fans. Only 2 players on this list were selected, and they both are starters.

A: Jose Guillen, KCR
B: Manny Ramirez, BOS
C: Magglio Ordonez, DET
D: David Murphy, TEX
E: Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
F: Jermaine Dye, CHW
G: Carl Crawford, TBR

Surprised? It's not the worst players fans have voted in, not even close, but everyone on this list not going to NY next week certainly has a beef.

The Sports Brief is not AL biased. In the National League, nearly the same scenario played out. 2 popular outfielders were named starters while other more deserving players got denied.

Choose (2) of the (6) NL outfielders.

Player A: .283, 15 HR, 40 RBI
Player B: .279, 21 HR, 53 RBI
Player C: .292, 19 HR, 67 RBI
Player D: .287, 7 HR, 35 RBI
Player E: .321, 12 HR, 53 RBI
Player F: .296, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 13 SB

You think it's a popularity contest? You're right.

A: Alfonso Soriano, CHC
B: Pat Burrell, PHI
C: Carlos Lee, HOU
D: Kosuke Fukudome, CHC
E: Xavier Nady, PIT
F: Corey Hart, MIL

And lastly how about the closers in the NL?  Take just 1 of these 4.

Player A: 0-1, 4.37 ERA, 24 saves
Player B: 4-1, 2.43 ERA, 18 saves
Player C: 4-2, 2.44 ERA, 17 saves
Player D: 2-3, 2.57 ERA, 18 saves

This one I don't understand. Saves is clearly an overrated stat, but I guess not here. 

A: Brian Wilson, SFG
B: Francisco Cordero, CIN
C: Jon Rauch, WSN
D: Brandon Lyon, ARI

This one would have made a lot more since to me if Wilson was the only selection from the Giants. But with Tim Lincecum on the squad, why take a closer with an ERA pushing 4.50? I dont get it. 

There will always be problems picking All-Star teams in every sport. But that's what makes it a fun debate. Not even mentioned above is the fact that some positions are just so loaded, that some players get left off with little to argue. Ryan Howard, for example, is leading the NL in RBI with 76 and is 2nd in HR (1 shy of teammate Chase Utley with 23), but his .223 average hurts him compared to the likes of Lance Berkman, Albert Pujols, and Adrian Gonzalez (only SD selection, and having a monster season). Mark Teixeira (.276-16-66) and Derrek Lee (.306-15-53) are others having great years, but nothing like the guys in front of them.      

Bottom line is when voting is involved not everyone will be happy. Isn’t that right Al Gore fans? 


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