MLB All-Star Voting 2013: Players Who Deserved More Respect from Voters
The 2013 MLB All-Star rosters are officially set, but before things kick off at Citi Field on Tuesday night, we can't help but take a look back at how the 35 spots on both the American and National League teams were filled.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delabar won the All-Star Game Final Vote to be the last two players not named as injury replacements to make the two rosters.
Did we get it right, MLB fans?
There's no way to revisit the voting process other than from an argumentative standpoint, but sometimes, that's exactly what must be done when players with deserving seasons end up flying under the radar when ballots are being cast.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel had an interactive look at the deserving candidates of the AL and NL before the voting was final, and the concept of this post is relevant—do we look at only names before voting for a player?
MLB All-Star Game: Can you choose the starters? http://t.co/0oRinUsxa2— Santa Cruz Sentinel (@scsentinel) July 5, 2013
Barring another injury replacement, the AL and NL rosters are locked. Here's a look at three deserving players (both on and off the rosters) that voters should have paid more attention to before things were finalized.
OF Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies
This tweet from MLB Memes pretty much says it all:
Cuddyer made the NL roster but was nowhere near the outfield voting leaders. As you can see from this ESPN report in early July, Cuddyer was a no-show despite his quality numbers that include being second in the NL in slugging (.567) and third in OPS (.962).
Particularly troubling for Cuddyer (and outfielders like Carlos Gomez and Andrew McCutchen) was that Bryce Harper was still named a starter despite missing a hefty portion of the first half of the season due to injury.
There's little doubt Harper is one of the most electric players in the game. But it felt like he was rewarded for his hot-button name and not the way things have played out on the field during the first half of the season, and Cuddyer was one of a few guys who felt the sting of that result.
The fact that the 34-year-old was outside the top 15 in voting makes him an easy choice for this "honor," and sabermetrics lovers will point to his NL-leading offensive win percentage (.780) as another telling stat to shame voters who left his name off their ballot.
Cuddyer will be on the NL roster, so the baseball gods made sure we didn't screw this up too badly, but his strong first half feels a bit slighted with the lack of respect shown from voters prior to the rosters being released.
3B Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics
Simply put, Josh Donaldson is a victim of the AL's deepest position. He's also the victim of playing in a market that does not lend itself to the national eye.
You could have made a case for as many as five of the league's third basemen making the All-Star game, but it's Triple Crown winner (and hopeful, I might add) Miguel Cabrera and youngster Manny Machado who carry the honor this year.
Donaldson, Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria and Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre were also strong contenders for Jim Leyland's roster.
Teammate Sean Doolittle clearly feels that Oakland's place as a small-market team ruined Donaldson's chances to make the AL roster:
Yo All Stars I'm happy for you and ima let you finish but Balfour and Donaldson are two of the most deserv-*drowned out by roaring applause*— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) July 11, 2013
Doolittle might be right—Donaldson leads a team with the fourth-best record in baseball in nearly every major offensive category, setting the pace at third base as the A's maintain a one-game lead over the Rangers in the AL West (heading into Saturday).
It's actually a trend—if Bartolo Colon remains Oakland's only All-Star, eight of the last nine All-Star games will have featured only one representative from the franchise, per Oakland's official website.
The 27-year-old is in just his third season and will have plenty of chances to repeat his strong 2013 campaign moving forward, but you can't help but feel for Donaldson (and a host of other A's) who were slighted by both the voters and the selection process yet again.
SS Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers
Jean Segura is having a breakout season for the Milwaukee Brewers this year, but you wouldn't know it by the fan voting that represented the National League.
Segura's .321 batting average is fifth in the NL heading into Saturday's slate of games, and he ranks at or near the leaderboard in a number of other offensive categories, such as hits (first, 117), stolen bases (third, 27) and runs scored (10th, 52).
As you can see from this tweet from Baseball Tonight back in June, Segura was trailing Troy Tulowitzki and Brandon Crawford for most of the All-Star voting process:
With Tulowitzki earning the starter's nod but being forced out due to injury, Segura was a lock to make the roster. He and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera will anchor the position on the NL roster at Citi Field, with San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro being an emergency candidate for Bruce Bochy in the game.
Which player was disrespected the most?
This is Segura's second season with the Brewers and his first as a full-time starter, and he's clearly taking full advantage of the opportunity to prove he is on his way to becoming a premier player at the position.
The NL hits leader didn't get the respect he was due during the voting process this year, but another strong season in 2014 might have Segura poised to supplant Tulowitzki as the NL's leading man at shortstop at this time next year.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.
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