The rosters for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game were announced on Saturday and there are more than a few names who will play poorly at the Midsummer Classic and prove their unworthiness of a spot on the American and National League teams.
Mark Trumbo is a player from last year’s showcase that didn’t necessarily have to have a spot on the AL roster, and he was horrible during the game. The backup outfielder replaced Jose Bautista only to strike out in each of his two plate appearances, stranding a pair of baserunners.
Not every star is going to shine when the lights are the brightest and home-field advantage in the World Series is on the line. There have already been several controversial selections and the chatter surrounding some of the names is only going to get more negative as the game draws near and after it’s played.
Here are three All-Stars—either voted in by the fans, players or coaches—that shouldn’t have made their respective league’s squad, which will be more than apparent when they take the field on July 16 in New York.
Michael Cuddyer, OF, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies have played well throughout the first chunk of the season, but three All-Stars are a little bit much. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez definitely deserve to be making the trip to Queens for the All-Star Game, but there’s a bone to pick with the Michael Cuddyer selection.
There was plenty of buzz surrounding Cuddyer in recent weeks because he had an impressive hit-streak brewing. That streak was halted at 27 games after going 0-for-4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 2. Throughout the duration of the streak, Cuddyer hit .372/.400/.575 with six home runs and 19 RBI.
Cuddyer was voted to the NL squad by his peers, but there were other players that deserved to make the trip to Citi Field more than the Rockies outfielder. Cuddyer is currently ranked 13th among NL outfielders in terms of WAR, according to FanGraphs. There are eight players ahead of him that didn’t make the original team.
Even if the Rockies did deserve three players, there’s a case to be made for Dexter Fowler as the third candidate. Fowler has been much more consistent the entire season and is a much better defender. Cuddyer is easily the third-best outfielder on Colorado this year. He will hurt the NL’s chances of winning when he takes the field on July 16.
Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Adam Jones in the starting lineup at the All-Star Game is a prime example of why the fans should be stripped of their privilege to vote for the starters. Jones plays for a good team in the Orioles but hasn’t been that great this year. There’s no reason why he should be on the AL roster.
On the year, Jones is hitting .290/.313/.473 with 15 home runs, 59 RBI and 58 runs. The fact that his on-base percentage is only .313 is embarrassing for someone who's going to be starting at Citi Field. His OBP is the eight-lowest among AL outfielders. He’s only walked 2.4 percent of the time in 2013. How is he a starter?
Jones is currently the 16th-best outfielder in the American League in terms of WAR, according to FanGraphs. Jacoby Ellsbury is the third-best and he won’t be on the team unless someone gets injured. The same goes for Brett Gardner, who’s the fourth-best outfielder. Colby Rasmus is sixth on the list and he’s nowhere to be found, either.
Jones is another player where a teammate could’ve made it over him as well. Nate McLouth is having a strong year for Baltimore. One would assume that since he only has six home runs, that didn’t help his cause. He, however, has a .359 OBP. Should he have made it over Jones? We'll never know, but if anything, Jones should be on the bench—not starting.
Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs
Because each team needs to be represented at the All-Star Game, someone from the Chicago Cubs has to go to New York for July 16. This year, Travis Wood got the nod. That wasn’t the correct selection, though. While Wood has been solid in the first half, there’s no way he manages to keep it up going forward.
Wood currently has the lowest BABIP of any qualified pitcher in the National League, according to FanGraphs. While his ERA is at 2.69, his 3.52 FIP and 4.38 xFIP suggest that he really hasn’t been that good. He doesn’t strike out a ton of opposing batters and walks around 2.7 per nine innings.
It’s been tough to find a Cubs pitcher that has been great this year, but Jeff Samardzija would’ve been a better candidate than Wood. Samardzija has been much better than his 3.54 ERA shows, and that’s still very respectable. There’s no doubting that the righty has been better and he wouldn’t embarrass himself at the showcase.
While there are many other first-timers heading to this year’s Midsummer Classic, Wood is one of the guys that manager Bruce Bochy should wait to put into the game. Wood is bound to get hit hard by the feared AL batters. It wouldn’t be surprising if he took home the loss for his league, pitching less than an inning in relief. Bochy shouldn't use him unless he absolutely has to.
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