One of the many problems with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is that the league lets the fans determine the starting lineups. As you could imagine, the public didn’t do a perfect job of selecting this year’s starters.
While some picks were obvious—Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera and David Wright, among others—there were some positional races that went down to the wire. Throughout the voting process, many stars flip-flopped as the leaders of their respective positions. But in the end, not everyone who should start will start.
Here are three All-Stars who will be in New York on July 16, but will be sitting on the bench to begin the Midsummer Classic instead of on the field. While they likely will all get to play at some point throughout the exhibition, they deserve to be starters instead of reserves.
Complete American League Roster (via MLB.com)
|Chris Davis||First Baseman||BAL|
|Robinson Cano||Second Baseman||NYY|
|Miguel Cabrera||Third Baseman||DET|
|David Ortiz||Designated Hitter||BOS|
|Prince Fielder||First Baseman||DET|
|Jason Kipnis||Second Baseman||CLE|
|Dustin Pedroia||Second Baseman||BOS|
|Ben Zobrist||Second Baseman||TB|
|Manny Machado||Third Baseman||BAL|
|Edwin Encarnacion||Designated Hitter||TOR|
|* Injured; @ Injury replacement|
Complete National League Roster (via MLB.com)
|Joey Votto||First Baseman||CIN|
|Brandon Phillips||Second Baseman||CIN|
|David Wright||Third Baseman||NYM|
|Paul Goldschmidt||First Baseman||ARZ|
|Allen Craig||First Baseman||STL|
|Matt Carpenter||Second Baseman||STL|
|Marco Scutaro||Second Baseman||SF|
|Pedro Alvarez||Third Baseman||PIT|
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter had a strong campaign last season, his first full season with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 114 games in 2012, Carpenter hit .294/.365/.463 with six home runs, 46 RBI and 44 runs. This year, he’s been much better, and he’s only played in 83 games. In 2013, he’s hitting .316/.390/.487 with eight homers and 37 RBI.
Carpenter has quickly become one of the best second basemen in the National League. But whether he’s definitely the best doesn’t matter here. All that matters is he’s had a better first half of the season than any of his opponents at second. There’s no question that he has.
Carpenter currently leads all other second basemen in the Senior Circuit in WAR by a large margin, per FanGraphs. Brandon Phillips, who will be the NL’s starter at second, is in second place on that list, but is still far away from the Cardinals second baseman. St. Louis got two players in the starting lineup, but needed three.
Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia’s production on offense and defense has been a big reason why the Boston Red Sox have been so successful in 2013. Pedroia has helped the Red Sox go from a last-place team to a first-place team in just a matter of months. Pedroia has absolutely been the organization’s first-half Most Valuable Player.
Through 89 games, Pedroia is hitting .321/.401/.439 with five home runs, 50 RBI, 54 runs and 13 stolen bases. In terms of WAR, he’s been the Junior Circuit’s top second baseman, according to FanGraphs. The top three second basemen in WAR made the AL roster, but Pedroia isn’t the one starting—Robinson Cano is.
There’s a bit of a dilemma here considering Cano plays for the Yankees and the game is being played in New York—at Citi Field. Yankees fans gave it everything they had to get Cano to start, and they got their wish. But Cano has been the third-best so far. Pedroia and Jason Kipnis have been better. But the hometown hero won this one.
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers
Carlos Gomez has played better than any other outfielder in the NL through the first half of the 2013 season. If you take a look at the WAR leaders, Gomez is right at the top and by quite a lot too, per FanGraphs. You could argue his defense inflates his WAR, but his offensive production has still been stellar this season.
Through 82 games, the Milwaukee outfielder is hitting .312/.353/.559 with 13 home runs, 41 RBI, 49 runs and 20 stolen bases. The 27-year-old has literally done it all for the Brewers this season. Unfortunately for him, most of his team hasn’t played like he has, and the organization currently sits in last place in the NL Central.
So, do you think Gomez is going to be a starter at Citi Field? Nope, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Bryce Harper are. Of those three, Beltran is arguably the least deserving—although I know many disagree with Harper as well. The point, however, is that Gomez should be starting, no matter whom he should replace.