If a few of the selections for the 2014 MLB All-Star roster left you scratching your head, then join the club.
All-Star rosters are always a tricky thing to project. The managers of either side have a say over the pitching and some of the final bench spots after the fan and player votes are calculated. This makes for some interesting choices.
Omar Infante's selection back in 2010 is a perfect example. Sure, the guy had very good numbers, but good enough to be an All-Star? Most would say no.
There are a few players who shouldn't be playing in the Midsummer Classic on July 15, but will be for a variety of different reasons. Here they are.
Josh Harrison doesn't even have a starting spot on his own team, but he is going to represent the National League in Minneapolis.
Sure, he has pretty good numbers. He's slashing .298/.335/.453 with five homers and 25 RBI. He also has nine steals and 12 doubles. The guy is a good hitter.
With that said, he doesn't have a definite position and there were many others who could have gone ahead of him.
Should utility players (a la Infante and Harrison) have a spot on All-Star rosters?
Literally any of the five players—Anthony Rendon, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Upton, Justin Morneau or Casey McGehee—from the NL Final Vote were more deserving. If Harrison were in the the NL Final Vote instead, that would make much more sense.
Leaving it to the fans is OK, because if they want to see him, then everything will work itself out.
Alas, this was a pick made by NL manager Mike Matheny. It was a pick he didn't need to make.
If he's citing versatility, then he doesn't really have a case. Both Dee Gordon and Matt Carpenter play multiple infield positions, and if it gets to the point where you need another outfielder, you can always turn to Hunter Pence or Charlie Blackmon.
Not every player can start Friday against the Phillies at third base for Pedro Alvarez and bat sixth, Saturday at second base for Neil Walker and bat fifth and Sunday in left field for [Starling] Marte and bat second. Harrison contributed to the win Sunday by banging a triple to right-center field in the second inning off Phillies starter A.J. Burnett and scoring the Pirates' third run. He has hit .307 in his 49 starts. The team's record in those games is 30-19.
Team value doesn't always translate to all-league value, though, and that's why this is a questionable pick by Matheny.
Charlie Blackmon's overall numbers are very impressive. He's slashing .291/.339/.457 with 12 homers, 47 RBI and 16 steals. It's not all good, though—especially when you consider these stats:
All-Star Charlie Blackmon, since April 28th: 62 games .251/.296/.381 -0.428 WPA What a terrible, terrible choice.— High Heat Stats MLB (@HighHeatStats) July 7, 2014
Charlie Blackmon's April took him to the ASG. 1.034 OPS in 112 PA in Apr; .700 in 240 since— Paul Sporer (@sporer) July 6, 2014
The outfielder earned his spot on this team months ago when he was one of the most productive hitters in baseball. While still solid, he's far from that player now, which is what raises debate over his selection.
There were other outfielders who could have gone ahead of Blackmon. Upton or Ryan Braun would have made some sense, and even Billy Hamilton wouldn't have been a bad pick.
This isn't to knock Blackmon at all. The guy came out of seemingly nowhere after playing well in limited time last season. The Colorado Rockies are sure happy to have him atop the lineup, but the National League's team would be better suited with somebody else.
Blackmon will certainly see time in this game after Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez get their innings, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against the best pitchers the American League has to offer.
Both the NL and the AL are carrying three catchers with them to Minnesota. The NL catchers—Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy and Devin Mesoraco—are all deserving of their spots.
The AL catchers are a much less impressive group after starter Salvador Perez.
Derek Norris and Kurt Suzuki are the No. 2 and No. 3 catchers, respectively. Given the weak group at the position, it's puzzling as to why manager John Farrell didn't skip taking a third catcher to take another deserving player.
Perez can give you multiple innings, and so can Norris. Suzuki might not even play.
Suzuki has been good this year, but far from great. He's hitting .306/.363/.400 with two homers and 34 RBI. Those are solid numbers, but they aren't All-Star-worthy.
It's not even as though he was the only Minnesota Twins selection. Glen Perkins made the pitching staff, and he is far more deserving.
Ian Kinsler, a snub and someone who wasn't even in the AL Final Vote, deserved this spot far more than Suzuki did. If teams are playing to win the game and grab home-field advantage for the World Series, then managers should play this game more aggressively.
Why take three catchers? This isn't a multigame series. It's one game. Nine innings. One or two catchers can take care of it. There's no need for a third.
All-Star Game roster information courtesy of MLB.com.
Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR