Ranking the Boston Red Sox's Best All-Star Game Candidates
The Boston Red Sox's offense is a major disappointment this season, and the club has slipped all the way to the bottom of the American League in runs scored. To nobody's surprise, there is also a direct correlation to the Red Sox lacking many potential All-Stars.
A quick look at this preseason article estimating the All-Star chances of 10 Boston players makes it quite clear that the club is falling well short of expectations in this regard.
Individual stats, value to the team, fan voting and the fact that Red Sox skipper John Farrell will be the manager of the AL squad all factor into play when ranking Boston's best candidates for the Midsummer Classic. While it'll be a big surprise if more than one or two Red Sox are selected for the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, here are the team's five most likely options.
Statistics courtesy of RedSox.com.
No. 5: Brock Holt
In a perfect world, Brock Holt would get the opportunity to represent the Red Sox in this year's All-Star Game.
Holt has done everything Boston has asked of him and more. He's manned five different positions on the diamond while providing stability and production at the top of the order. His .315 batting average is 39 points higher than the next best on the club, Mike Napoli's .276. Holt is also tied for the team lead in stolen bases, five, despite appearing in just 49 games.
Unfortunately, those 49 games aren't going to suffice for Holt to be given any serious All-Star consideration. While he's undoubtedly been the Red Sox's best player in 2014, he didn't become a regular starter early enough in the season to make the All-Star team.
No. 4: Dustin Pedroia
In the most recent All-Star fan balloting results, Dustin Pedroia is the third-highest vote-getter at second base in the American League. However, he trails the leader, Robinson Cano, by nearly a million votes.
Pedroia's best statistical categories are solid but not quite All-Star worthy. He ranks fourth among AL second basemen in total hits, third in doubles and third in runs scored.
Unless something miraculously changes in the next few days, Pedroia can expect to have a nice, little, midseason summer vacation. Don't tell him that, though. In a recent interview with The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, Pedroia was asked about his declining numbers. He responded by saying:
I've been around here long enough to know that that stuff doesn't bother me. It changes. It can change overnight. I've had games where I go 5 for 5 with three homers. If I do that, I'm slugging .420 right now and you can't write this article. So if that happens tonight, you're going to be a mess.
No. 3: David Ortiz
In many ways, David Ortiz is in the same boat as Pedroia. Ortiz is second in the fan voting at designated hitter, but he's close to a million votes behind Nelson Cruz for the top spot.
Also like Pedroia, Ortiz's numbers likely aren't good enough to merit an All-Star selection. His .250 average, .349 on-base percentage and .480 slugging percentage are all subpar. Ortiz does rank 11th in the AL with 52 RBI, and his 19 home runs are good for fifth-best in the league.
If Ortiz is to have any chance of going to Minneapolis, it may have to be at the discretion of his manager, John Farrell. Ortiz recently hit his 450th career home run—is it possible Farrell could make a push for getting his slugger on the AL squad as a "lifetime achievement award" of sorts?
No. 2: Jon Lester
Unlike the previous three candidates, Jon Lester has a fairly legitimate shot at being chosen for this year's All-Star Game.
Lester ranks among the league leaders in several categories. He's thrown 114 innings, the sixth-highest total in the AL. His nine wins are tied for fifth-most in the league while his 115 strikeouts are seventh-best. Lester also has an ERA of 2.92 and a WHIP of 1.18, good for ninth and 13th, respectively.
Overall, Lester's numbers by no means make him a lock, but they do certainly put him in contention with other top starting pitchers. Like Ortiz, it may take a little extra nudge from his manager to get him in.
No. 1: Koji Uehara
Koji Uehara is the one and only Red Sox player who has unquestionably earned the right to play in the All-Star Game.
For the second straight season, Uehara's numbers as Boston's closer are staggering. He has a minuscule ERA of 1.19 and an equally impressive WHIP of 0.72. Over 37.2 innings pitched, Uehara has struck out 48 batters while walking only five.
For the season, he's allowed just five earned runs, all five of which came in the form of solo home runs. In the rare occasions when Uehara puts runners on base, he never allows them to score.
Said Jon Lester: "He deserves it. There are closers with more saves but I don't know anybody who has been more effective. I love watching the guy pitch. He's the same every time."
And John Farrell: "He’s performed at such an elite level not for just this year but for a long period. In our eyes he's certainly an All-Star."