Every year, the starters at the MLB All-Star Game are decided by voting from the fans. Despite the vast experience in this process, the voters made quite a few mistakes.
While there are some exceptions, popularity usually means more than performance. As of June 8, Derek Jeter ranked fifth among shortstops despite not playing in a single game this year.
Fans often want to choose a household name over an up-and-coming player. When this happens, deserving players get left out of an opportunity to start a game.
These All-Stars should be sending out a thank you letter to all of their fans, because they should not be in the lineup at the Midsummer Classic.
Although Brandon Phillips has had a good career with the Cincinnati Reds, he has not had the best year among National League second basemen.
Matt Carpenter has been a force at the top of the order for the St. Louis Cardinals and is currently third in the majors with 65 runs scored. He is also 10th in MLB with a batting average of .319.
The 27-year-old performed well in his first full season last year, but this has been a breakout season for Carpenter. Therefore, it is understandable that it would take fans a while to truly get a grasp on how good he really is.
However, in a battle for the best player at the position, Carpenter is easily the better of the two.
When healthy, Bryce Harper is an incredibly talented player. At 20 years old, he could potentially become one of the top players in baseball. However, he does not have the production this year to warrant an All-Star start.
While Harper does have 13 home runs, he is currently batting only .267 and has only 29 RBI to show for that power. He also missed over a month with an injury, which hurt his ability to put up big numbers.
Although some would say that he has been productive enough in his time in the lineup, the same could be said about Yasiel Puig. Interestingly, the Cuban phenom has more hits this season (50) than Harper (46).
That being said, there are a few even more deserving players who made the team but should have started, including Carlos Gomez and Michael Cuddyer. The pair might not be as familiar to the public as Harper, but they have had excellent years and should be recognized.
J.J. Hardy might have been the least deserving player selected to start, but there really are not any better options at shortstop in the American League. However, his teammate Adam Jones could have easily been replaced despite receiving the most votes for outfielders.
The Baltimore player has been solid all year with a .290 batting average and 15 home runs, but he has not been as impressive as Boston Red Sox star Jacoby Ellsbury. The outfielder leads the majors with 36 stolen bases and has only been caught three times.
Additionally, he adds to his .301 average with the ability to draw walks, giving him an on-base percentage of .365. This is 0.52 points higher than Jones' mark.
While both players have had good years, Ellsbury has been a key player on Boston's run to having the top record in baseball, which should have given him the edge.
Full Starting Lineups (via MLB.com)
|National League||Pos.||American League|
|Yadier Molina||C||Joe Mauer|
|Joey Votto||1B||Chris Davis|
|Brandon Phillips||2B||Robinson Cano|
|David Wright||3B||Miguel Cabrera|
|Troy Tulowitzki||SS||J.J. Hardy|
|Carlos Beltran||OF||Adam Jones|
|Carlos Gonzalez||OF||Jose Bautista|
|Bryce Harper||OF||Mike Trout|
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