Don't get me wrong, I love Josh Hamilton, but he simply shouldn't be in the American League's outfield for the All-Star Game.
Hamilton's story is almost too good to be true, a top-of-the-draft talent whose career was sidelined by his addiction to drugs. He got clean, got back to baseball, and watching him launch balls into the New York night during the home run derby last year was one of my favorite baseball moments in a long time.
But last year he deserved that honor: his line of .310/.367/.552 good for an OPS of .992 was a revelation. He had nearly 100 RBI before the break and was on pace for a 40 home run season. Heck, he even stole seven bases!
This season, however, has been marred by injury. He's been solid, if unremarkable when he's been in the lineup, but when he takes the field on Monday, it will be the first major league action he's seen since the end of May.
If Hamilton was on a similar pace as he was last year, but had missed the same amount of time, perhaps an argument could be made for his inclusion. However, his .240/.290/.456 line in 125 AB equates to an OPS+ of 92, or slightly better than Brendan Harris has done.
I get why fans voted for him, he's fun to watch, he plays the game hard, and he does have great talent, but all those things can be said of Jose Reyes, who's stats are better, and who (rightly) will be watching the festivities from elsewhere.
Hamilton is a classy guy and there's a lot of ways to say "Thanks, but no thanks" to the fans without seeming like an ingrate; he should choose one of them.
Being an All-Star is a great honor, one Hamilton will doubtless receive again. However, for this season, he should allow one of the many deserving snubs like Adam Lind or Shin Soo-Choo to get the chance to take the stage they have rightly earned.
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