MLB All-Star Game Roster 2012: Grading Every Fan Vote Selection

Zak SchmollAnalyst IJuly 2, 2012

MLB All-Star Game Roster 2012: Grading Every Fan Vote Selection

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    The All-Star game rosters have been named, and there is a little bit of controversy to say the least.

    However, since players are chosen through a popular vote, shouldn't we expect that? Of course some people will be upset that the player they voted for didn't win.

    This is somewhat of a weakness of the same since oftentimes deserving players get left out.

    Who deserves to start, and who doesn't? That is what we are going to talk about today.

    I am going to grade every starter from both leagues in regards to their suitability to start. They might be great players, but if there is a better choice, they will get a low grade.

National League Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

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    Buster Posey is a great catcher, but quite frankly, is not the best catcher in the National League this year. In fact, he might not even be the second-best.

    His batting average is well behind that of Carlos Ruiz (.303 to .356) and also trails that of Yadier Molina (.312). His power numbers are about the same as Ruiz, but are three behind Molina in the HR and RBI categories. 

    While Posey's numbers are certainly that of an All-Star catcher, there are two catchers who are more deserving this season.

    Grade: F

National League First Baseman: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

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    Joey Votto is the right choice.

    Finally, with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder out of the National League, he is receiving the attention he deserves. He hits for an incredibly high average and substantial power. His plate discipline is also impressive as he walks nearly as much as he strikes out.

    The fans got this one right.

    Grade: A+

National League Second Baseman: Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves

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    Dan Uggla has been a talented second baseman for a long time, but this year, there are a few better choices.

    Most notably, Aaron Hill has produced similar power numbers with a batting average that is substantially higher than Uggla's. Other intriguing and possibly more deserving options include Jose Altuve and Omar Infante, though the latter did miss a little bit of time due to injury.

    Uggla is key player for the Atlanta Braves, but Hill was more deserving. 

    Grade: F

National League Third Baseman: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants

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    There has been a lot of outrage over this decision because David Wright is playing like an MVP.

    While I entirely understand that frustration, when you look at what Sandoval has accomplished in about half of the time that everyone else has played, you have to admit it is impressive.

    I agree that David Wright should be the starter, but this is not the worst All-Star starting selection. 

    Grade: D+

National League Shortstop: Rafael Furcal, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Rafael Furcal is probably the second-best shortstop in the National League right now behind Starlin Castro.

    Unfortunately, Castro plays for the Chicago Cubs, and many players are often passed over in the popular vote when they play for teams that aren't in contention. To his credit, Furcal has been keeping up with Castro in every category except for batting average.

    The omission of Castro is probably considered wrong by most, but this is not as egregious as some of the other errors.

    Grade: C

National League Outfielder: Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants

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    Melky Cabrera not only has a great name, but he is also turning in an excellent 2012. He is hitting for a high average while showing power at the plate and speed on the basepaths.

    His is all-around talented, and if the MVP was named right now, he would be in the conversation. He is also beginning to show a little bit more plate discipline than he has in the past—a clear sign of maturity. 

    This one was a no-brainer.

    Grade: A+

National League Outfielder: Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Carlos Beltran was brought to St. Louis to be a poor man's replacement for Albert Pujols. He has definitely exceeded expectations and solidified the middle of the Cardinals' lineup. His power production has not dropped whatsoever, and he is one of the elite RBI men in all of baseball so far this season.

    If I had chosen the team, I probably would have made Beltran my DH simply because I would rather have a better defensive player in the outfield, but he is still an excellent starter nonetheless.

    Grade: A

National League Outfielder: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Admittedly, I am a huge Matt Kemp fan, so this grade may be a bit biased. However, before his injury, Kemp was literally carrying the Los Angeles Dodgers to the top of the National League West. He is one of the few players who has the potential to single-handedly carry a team on his shoulders. When he is playing, he is arguably the best player in baseball.

    I can't give him an A because of that injury and the lost time, but this was still a pretty decent choice. He won't play in the contest anyway, so it was at least nice to honor him for his amazing start to the season.

    Grade: B

National League Designated Hitter: TBD

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    This one obviously hasn't been decided, but Carlos Gonzalez probably should be starting in the outfield with Carlos Beltran as the DH. However, since Gonzalez wasn't voted in, this was the only way I could put him in the lineup. He is one of the few five-tool players in all of baseball, and this season he has been demonstrating all five.

    In this position, Gonzalez would at least be given the privilege of being in the starting batting order.

    Grade: TBD

American League Catcher: Mike Napoli, Texas Rangers

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    Mike Napoli finds himself in a similar situation as Buster Posey, but is even more undeserving than the Giants' backstop.

    There were easily two better choices in the American League. Joe Mauer doesn't have as much power as Napoli, but his average and run production are solid, while A.J. Pierzynski is actually bettering Napoli across the board offensively. 

    Apparently, the fans had a difficult time selecting catchers this year.

    Grade: F

American League First Baseman: Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers

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    The American League was led by a trio of very strong first baseman this year.

    Really, people should not complain too much about the selection of Prince Fielder, but strong cases could be made for Billy Butler and Paul Konerko as well. While their statistics were obviously not identical, you could easily make a case as to why all three of them deserve to start.

    I think that this is a solid choice, but far from a no-brainer.

    Grade: B+

American League Second Baseman: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees

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    Robinson Cano is without a doubt the best second baseman in baseball right now.

    He produces power from a position that typically doesn't. On top of that, he is slowly getting better at taking pitches and becoming more disciplined at the plate. While this has been a challenge throughout his career, he is clearly making strides. 

    Overall, he is a very strong player that is definitely deserving of this honor.

    Grade: A+

American League Third Baseman: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

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    Adrian Beltre has had an up-and-down career, but now that he is in Texas, his career has only been on the up. He is hitting for a very high average and crushing the ball around the diamond.

    While some fans will inevitably prefer Miguel Cabrera in this position, their stats are very comparable, and neither one would be a bad choice.

    Adrian Beltre has shown that he can hit the ball hard, and has been a large part of the Rangers' success over the past two seasons.

    Grade: A-

American League Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

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    Derek Jeter is going to be the All-Star starter for the rest of his career; we all just need to accept that. While he is much more deserving this year than he was last year, Asdrubal Cabrera is still a snub at this position.

    Jeter is keeping up with him in everything except for home runs and RBI, but Cabrera is outclassing him in both categories. 

    The longtime Bronx Bombers shortstop deserves credit for playing this well this late in his career, but this choice is not without controversy.

    Grade: C-

American League Outfielder: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

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    If anyone did not have Josh Hamilton as one of their All-Star starters, they were either an Angels fan or certifiably insane.

    Hamilton has done it all for the Rangers. He is hitting for average and power, driving in runs, getting on base and has even stolen a few bases this year. His inspirational story surely must have won him a few votes as well, but he clearly deserves the start based solely on what he has accomplished this season.

    Hamilton has had the best first half in baseball, and this position was his before we even voted.

    Grade: A+

American League Outfielder: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

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    Curtis Granderson will never hit for a high average, but his power surge over the past couple of seasons has been very impressive. His strikeout total is obviously far too high for his own good, but his aggressiveness at the plate is what helps him launch the ball out of the park. 

    Because of that low average, Granderson is definitely not a no-brainer, but he is not a bad choice either.

    Grade: C

American League Outfielder: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Jose Bautista is a great player, and he has become one of the better power hitters in the game today. However, there are going to be many questions as to why he is a starter while guys like Adam Jones and Mike Trout were left off.

    Bautista is crushing the ball this year, but he needs to bring that average up to the level it has been for the past few years.

    Like Granderson, Bautista is not a bad choice, but there are other players who are more deserving.

    Grade: C-

American League Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

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    For the past decade, David Ortiz has been the premier DH in all of baseball.

    While Edwin Encarnacion gave him some great competition at that position this year, there was really never any doubt that Big Papi would win the vote for this position. His stats are great and he has been doing it for a long time.

    Though fans north of the border would disagree, this was the right selection. It is good to end on a high note.

    Grade: A

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