The fans got the chance to vote for the starting lineup in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, but as usual they made a few mistakes.
When the game was an exhibition, it was fine for the popular players to play over those who were more deserving. However, now that the game has World Series implications, it is important to get the best players from each league on the field.
This year, fans from San Francisco and Texas rocked the vote a little bit extra and made sure they got their guys in the Midsummer Classic.
However, there were often more-qualified players that should have been selected.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
It is not the Panda's fault that he missed a month with an injury, but that alone should disqualify him from starting in the All-Star Game. He does not have the numbers that should be required from a player starting at a corner position.
On the other hand, David Wright is having one of the best years of his already impressive career. His batting average is 57 points higher than the next qualified NL third baseman. He is also one of only five players in baseball with an OPS over 1.000.
While this could make up for years that Sandoval might have deserved the starting spot, that is not what the game is about.
Mike Napoli, C
There is very little on Mike Napoli's resume to suggest he should even be an All-Star, let alone starting in the game. Last year, he was one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball, but this year his numbers have dropped across the board.
A.J. Pierzynski was not even selected for the game, but has every right to be angry about not starting. He leads all catchers in home runs and RBI, and his batting average is 57 points higher than Napoli's.
Even Joe Mauer would have been justified in the starting spot, but Pierzynski has the most to complain about here.
Rafael Furcal, SS
Fans started voting for Furcal in the beginning of the year when he was red hot, but seemed to never stop when he cooled off as expected. The shortstop was batting .370 as of mid-May, but recently has not hit anything and is down to .275 on the year.
The National League has a number of qualified players who would have been more deserving of a start than Furcal. If they needed a power hitter, Ian Desmond and Jed Lowrie were available. Players like Starlin Castro and Willie Bloomquist have better batting averages.
Most of these players are also better fielders than Furcal at this point in his career.
This situation proves that voting should not begin until closer to the midway point.
Buster Posey, C
Not to pick on the Giants, but their players got to where they are based on popularity over merit.
Posey has solid numbers for a catcher, but they pale in comparison to the outstanding statistics of Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies.
While the veteran team is falling apart due to injuries, Ruiz is doing his best to keep the team together. He has already established a career high with 13 home runs and is on pace to obliterate the rest of his personal records.
In a few years, Posey might become the best catcher in baseball. However, he has not earned that distinction yet and should be coming off the bench.
Full lineups courtesy of MLB.com:
AL Starting Lineup
|1. Derek Jeter, NYY||SS|
|2. Robinson Cano, NYY||2B|
|3. Josh Hamilton, TEX||LF|
|4. Jose Bautista, TOR||RF|
|5. Prince Fielder, DET||1B|
|6. Adrian Beltre, TEX||3B|
|7. David Ortiz, BOS||DH|
|8. Mike Napoli, TEX||C|
|9. Curtis Granderson, NYY||CF|
|Justin Verlander, DET||P|
NL Starting Lineup
|1. Carlos Gonzalez, COL||DH|
|2. Melky Cabrera, SF||CF|
|3. Ryan Braun, MIL||LF|
|4. Joey Votto, CIN||1B|
|5. Carlos Beltran, STL||RF|
|6. Buster Posey, SF||C|
|7. Pablo Sandoval, SF||3B|
|8. Dan Uggla, ATL||2B|
|9. Rafael Furcal, STL||SS|
|Matt Cain, SF||P|