Each year, the fans do an all-around great job of choosing the All-Star starters. The reserves also tend to represent the best players in the game. However, sometimes a mediocre player slips on to the team, usually due to popularity, “intangibles,” or most often, the rule that mandates each team must have a representative (Ty Wigginton, seriously?).
American League Snubs
These are the 5 most-deserving players not to make the American League All-Star team, ignoring the “one team, one player” rule:
1. Kevin Youkilis – The best player on one of the best teams in the league. His bat is less special at 1B than 3B, but he remains one of the best hitters in the league. He is currently in the midst of his greatest season to date. Youkilis has done more than enough to earn a spot on the All Star roster.
2. Alex Rios – He would have been a better choice than Vernon Wells as an outfield reserve. Wells has more power, but Rios brings speed and a superior on-base ability to the game.
3. Ben Zobrist – Both Zobrist and Ian Kinsler have been zapped of their power this year. Zobrist’s far superior defense should have given him the nod for back-up second baseman.
4. Jeff Niemann – Niemann’s ERA stands almost a full run better than Fausto Carmona’s. The same holds true when comparing their career ERAs. As well, Niemann has only one less win than Carmona this season.
5. Cliff Pennington – Pennington’s not a great player, but he would have made a slightly better choice than Elvis Andrus.
National League Snubs
The National League earned themselves 6 snubs:
1. Andrew McCutchen – It is a joke that McCutchen did not make the team, but Michael Bourn did. McCutchen gets on base more often, has more power, and can match the speed of Bourn. On the other hand, Bourn plays slightly better defense. McCutchen is hands-down the superior player.
2. Miguel Olivo – Yadier Molina plays tremendous defense, while Olivo plays decently behind the plate. Still, Molina’s .229/.309/.302 line this season should embarrass the Molina family. Miguel Olivo, on the other hand, is slugging .538. The fans got this one dead wrong.
3. Josh Willingham – Willingham’s .926 OPS makes him the best hitter on the Nationals roster, as well as one of the best in the league. Chris Young, on the other hand, has been nothing but hype since he entered the league. This may be his best season yet, but it does not deserve an All-Star spot. Young need to post an OBP over .325 before his name should be listed on the All-Star roster.
4. Rafael Furcal – Omar Infante does not belong in the same class as Furcal. Infante plays mediocre defense, does not steal bases, has zero power, and does not get on base all that often. Nothing there quite screams “Infante is an All Star.” On the other hand, Furcal does every one of those things very well.
5. Billy Wagner – Matt Capps has accumulated a large number of saves this year, but he lacks the dominance of Wagner. At 38-years-old, Wagner continues to mow down hitters, with 52 strikeouts in 33.3 innings. His 1.35 ERA this season is exactly one run lower than his filthy career ERA of 2.35.
6. Joey Votto – For the past two seasons, Votto has been as good as, and often better, than Howard has ever been. Outside of 2006, Howard has not been as valuable as his huge HR numbers indicate. Votto is an on-base machine.
All stats from http://www.fangraphs.com/