Sunday, July 3, 2011
CC, McCutchen lead list of All-Star snubs
By David Schoenfield
Sixty-six All-Stars were announced Sunday and somehow they still messed it up. Here are my five biggest All-Star snubs.
1. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates. I figured he was a lock for the team, but Bruce Bochy was put into a bit of a bind when the players voted in Jay Bruce as one of the three outfield reserves in the NL (along with Hunter Pence and Matt Holliday). Justin Upton was added as the deserving lone representative of the Diamondbacks, but Bochy selected Carlos Beltran over McCutchen, even though McCutchen has a higher average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, more steals and plays a superior center field as opposed to a mediocre right field. I can only guess Bochy viewed this as an opportunity to talk with Beltran and persuade him to drop his no-trade clause if the Giants attempt to trade for him.
(And, no, Bruce is not better than McCutchen. Bruce has more home runs, but is hitting .230 with a .314 OBP on the road.)
2. CC Sabathia, P, Yankees. He's scheduled to start the Sunday before the All-Star Game, so would have been replaced on the roster anyway, but he deserved the honor of making the squad. Manager Ron Washington could have resolved the CC situation in one of two easy ways: Pick him over Tigers closer Jose Valverde (very mediocre numbers for a closer) or Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson (whom I think is a deserving All-Star).
3. Tommy Hanson, P, Braves. Bochy had four roster spots for pitchers and picked Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain (no issues there, even if they are his own guys), Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard (the lone Nats rep and having a dominating year in middle relief) and ... Ryan Vogelsong, a journeyman right-hander who had been out of the majors for four seasons. Look, Vogelsong's story is one of the best of the season. His numbers are excellent (6-1, 2.09), but you can't pick Lincecum and Cain and a guy who has had 12 good starts with no previous track record of success. Bochy said Vogelsong will be his emergency long man in case the game goes extra innings, so he's unlikely to get into the game, but it was still an odd selection over Hanson, Ian Kennedy, Jhoulys Chacin or Shaun Marcum.
4. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers. The fans did a terrific job voting in the starters this season. Really, the only debatable selection was Derek Jeter, and can you really fault the fans for voting in one of the greatest players of all time over a group of shortstops who, while having excellent seasons, don't have a long track record of excellence? Trouble is, there was no way to squeeze Peralta on the roster. With two DHs, it's hard for Washington to slot deserving bench players, since he had to pick Michael Cuddyer and Matt Wieters to represent the Twins and Orioles.
5. Shane Victorino, CF, Phillies. I wrote the other day that it would be difficult to find room for him on the roster, and since I slot him slightly behind McCutchen in the pecking order, I'm having trouble squeezing him on the roster. If you give the Beltran slot to McCutchen, where does Victorino fit? Gaby Sanchez is the lone Marlins rep, but you could give his slot to Anibal Sanchez (replacing Vogelsong or Cain) and find room for Victorino.
Anyway, both managers did about as well as they could. Bochy made one major gaffe in logic (Beltran over McCutchen) while Washington had better options than Jose Valverde. Considering the managers got hamstrung by the players voting in Russell Martin, Michael Young, Carlos Quentin and Bruce, it makes it tough to fill out the roster.
(FYI, five pitchers are scheduled to start next Sunday and will have to be replaced by rule: Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, James Shields, Cole Hamels and Cain.)
Finally, my nominees for the five players in each league for the "extra man" vote:
American League: CC Sabathia, P, Yankees; Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers; Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox; Ben Zobrist, 2B, Rays; Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox.
National League: Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates; Tommy Hanson, P, Braves; Shane Victorino, CF, Phillies; Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals; Ian Kennedy, P, Diamondbacks.
P.S.: Can we get rid of the rule that says the players have to vote in three relievers? Chris Perez? Brandon League? Ugh.
Update: The players voted in Michael Young as the BACKUP designated hitter. Yes, somebody apparently believes it's necessary to have two DHs on the AL roster by rule, so my mistake in originally blaming Ron Washington for that selection. (Sorry, Ron.) Actually, Washington did basically what he could, especially since he knew CC was pitching Sunday anyway, so he wanted to make sure he got C.J. Wilson and David Price on the team. Really, this whole system is a joke. You can't have a game that MATTERS, and yet have a system in selecting rosters that's completely absurd. In the end, the only guy in my book with an All-Star beef worth caring about is Andrew McCutchen, who wasn't even named as one of the "Final Vote" candidates in the NL.