I was browsing MLB.com during my late-night Tour de France viewing when I came across something that provided some interest for me: The final vote ballot for the MLB All-Star Game.
The last chance for a few guys who probably got screwed by the previous rounds of popularity contests to beat out some other current victims.
This year's ballot on the AL is:
- Evan Longoria, TB
- Jason Giambi, NYY
- Jermaine Dye, CHW
- Brian Roberts, BAL
- Jose Guillen, KC
For the NL, the list is:
- Pat Burrell, PHI
- Corey Hart, MIL
- David Wright, NYM
- Aaron Rowand, SF
- Carlos Lee, HOU
Now that the results are almost over, I decided to investigate what the fans are voting and who is still in contention.
In the AL, it is a three-man race between Longoria, Giambi, and Dye. This, I have no issue with. Guillen is slugging well, but a corner outfielder/DH with a .299 OBP is not exactly All-Star caliber.
Roberts probably has a claim, though, given his OPS is just a few points below current leader Evan Longoria. Out of the three in contention, their numbers are as follows:
- Longoria: .280/.350/.529
- Dye: .302/.357/.545
- Giambi: .256/.393/.537
Truthfully, who deserves it between these three is a tough call. I would have to agree with the masses as of right now and go with Longoria. While he has the weakest hitting stats of the three, he also plays good defense at an important position.
Dye does as well, though, making them tough to distinguish. In this case, I would just go with arguably the best player on the best team going into the break.
The NL, on the other hand, I am having an issue with. According to this article on MLB.com, Corey Hart is leading. However, despite the ability of Hart, the fact that he is ahead of both Burrell AND Wright is stunning. Going back to the slash stats of these men, we get:
- Hart: .296/.336/.510
- Burrell: .281/.413/.590
- Wright: .288/.383/..510
While Hart being ahead of both of these guys is surprising, I am almost disgusted that at this stage, Pat Burrell will be left off the All-Star roster. Despite being 13th in MLB in VORP, Burrell was not voted in by the fans or included as a reserve.
While the NL is chuck-full of talent in the outfield (Matt Holliday, Nate McLouth, and Ryan Ludwick all enter the game as reserves), Burrell represents the epitome of the popularity-contest victim, losing out on an All-Star spot to men like Kosuke Fukudome (.809 OPS, 98th in MLB VORP), Ryan Braun (.872 OPS, 41st in MLB VORP), and Alfonso Soriano, who even before his injury was nowhere near the statistical production of Pat Burrell.
Now that Burrell looks destined to miss out on his last chance, it is just another opportunity to chalk another guy up as an All-Star snub.
Fan voting is a great way to make the fans feel like an All-Star Game is for them, but the principle of it has been ruined. Fans vote for the name they know or like, rather than vote for the man who deserves it.
So instead of rewarding Pat Burrell for the borderline-MVP season he is putting together, we reward Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano for wearing a Cubs jersey.
The same can be said in the AL for anyone who wears a Red Sox or Yankees jersey (and I say this as a Red Sox fan). Fan voting is great in principle, but sometimes I would like to see a fan do some research before checking off the name on their online ballot.