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The All Star Debate of 2004!
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Tom July 5:

The Astros had one starter voted into the all-star game, Jeff Kent at second base. At every other position, an Astro finished second in the voting, including 4th and 5th in the outfield. Not bad.

But, hey, I'm sure that Sammy Sosa and his .912 OPS in 217 plate appearances deserve to start more than Lance Berkman and his 1.031 OPS in 336 PA's.

Biggio's numbers are also more deserving of an all-star spot than Sosa's this year. (Biggio's average is 30 points higher, he has the same number of RBI, a higher OBP, 80% more runs scored, and about 70% more PA's. Sosa's OPS is higher, and he has three more home runs.) Sosa is, of course, the better hitter, but this year? I don't think so.

It's not like I was under the impression that the most deserving candidates won or anything, but I thought I'd complain a little.

Asher July 6:

Wait a minute here . . .

Are you trying to tell me that, because of some inherent flaw in the way that fan voting goes, sometimes popular players make it in over players who, though not as popular, are having better seasons?

I find that a bit hard to believe.

If I was an Astros fan, I would spend less time comparing my crap CF to one of the most popular players of our era who has been hurt for a good portion of the year, and more time lamenting the fact that, simply by virtue of being traded midseason from one league to another, one of the best players in the Majors will not be appearing in the All Star game despite his stellar numbers and impressive resume. I think it is a travesty that Octavio Dotel is not in the All Star game!

But serious folks . . .

When looking for All Star roster errors, I prefer to look not at who the fans voted on, because that is always a crap shoot, and instead at who the coaches voted on, because that is the real area in which there is "no excuses for such a stupid move."

Here's a top five:

5) Carlos Beltran. Let the fucking guy play. I think he was voted on, but he is only going to be allowed to "participate in All-Star activities." The dude is an AL All Star this season. This is just another sign of Major League Baseball blowing an obvious call when slight improvisation is required (see failure to resort to slowpitch softball rules in extra innings in the 2002 All Star game rather than declare a tie for another example).

4) Barry Larkin over Adrian Beltre. Um, duh.

3) Moises Alou over Bobby Abreu. Don't get me wrong, Moises is my dawg, and I am happy to see him earn his money this season (at leats through the end of May), but Abreu is rippin' it up this season. That he should have to compete with Steve Finley, Aramis Ramirez, Juan Pierre and Jason Kendall for the final fan voted spot seems a bit unjust.

2) Gary Sheffield over Melvin Mora. Mora is having a fabulous year (12HR, 60R, 347 AVG,989 OPS) while Gary Sheffield has been pedestrian compared to both himself and to Mora (14 HR, 54RBI, 56 R, 300 AVG, 900 OPS).

And the number one spot goes to . . .

1) J.D. Drew. I wanted to make a case for Adam Dunn, but 100 pre-AllStar K's plus a dumpy avg soured me on him. I wanted to make a case for Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko and Lyle Overbay, but there is a glut of solid First Basemen (though Overbay over Helton is not so far fetched), with one spot being wiped out by the idiot Yankees fans voting in Giambi. But JD Drew is to me the single most snubbed player this season (other than Beltran, but he technically wasn't snubbed).

60R 5(3B) 19HR 52RBI 59/55BB/K .293AVG .425OBP .613SLG 1.038 OPS.

He and Estrada are the only Braves producing this year, and he is making it look good. He is far outshining Sheffield, whom he replaced, and his numbers are arguably better than five of the six NL outfielders. He and Abreu should be on the roster WAY before Cabrera and Alou, and the fact that JD Drew didn't even make the final five gives him the edge over Abreu.

Keith July 6:

It's astonishing that someone can lament how popular players receive a lot of all-star votes and then congratulate Brad Ausmus, Adam Everett, Morgan Ensberg, and Jeff Bagwell for being runners-up at their respective positions all in the same post. To be fair, they all did receive those votes despite playing in the small market of Houston.

But like Asher says, the more interesting issue is how guys like Mora, Ford, and Thomas could be left off in the AL. Bobby Abreu is threatening to remain the greatest player since the 1920's never to play in an all-star game.

Karl July 6:

Calling our ex-CF crap is a little harsh considering that crap CF has been to a couple rodeos already (in different positions, no less) and has a shot at HOF honors in the future. Just because Sosa is more popular, and is a cub, doesn't mean that his season has been more productive than Biggio's. 2/3rds of the NL starting OF is bullshit anyway (both Sosa and Griffey under .280). Lew Ford got the biggest shaft of all.

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