The National League's Failure of an All-Star Roster: Blame ESPN

T.J. BeardCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2008

Every year fans are left steaming at the All-Star break; Either because their team is missing a few deserved representatives, or because a bitter rival is sending more players.  Take it or leave it, here is my list of Snubs and Are-You-Kidding-Me’s.




1. Cole Hamels.  Choosing starting pitchers is tough.  You need to compare wins to ERA to strikeouts to innings pitched, etc.  Consider this, though: Hamels leads the league with 142.2 innings pitched, and has a better ERA than Brandon Webb, Aaron Cook, and Ryan Dempster.  His 126 strikeouts put him third on the NL list.  Is the lack of run support when he pitches really the reason he’s not an all-star?  The numbers 11 and 10 aren’t all that much better than 9, and wins should not have that much of an impact anyway.  And for all you WHIP fanatics, here you go: Hamels (1.02), Webb (1.16), Cook (1.28), Dempster (1.18), Ben Sheets (1.11), Carlos Zambrano (1.23), and Tim Lincecum (1.25).  That makes Dan Haren the only all star starting pitcher with a better WHIP.


2. Ryan Howard.  I know it’s hard to ignore the .234 average and 129 strikeouts.  Those are not all-star numbers.  How, though, can you ignore 28 home runs and 84 RBI’s at the break?  He has three more home runs than anyone else on the National League roster and 11 more RBI’s.  The slow start obviously killed his chances.  Imagine how sick those numbers would be if he cut down the K’s just a little.  We’d be talking 30+ homers and 90+ RBI’s easily.  The average would probably still be below .250, though.  I wonder if that would still be enough to snub him.


3. Carlos Lee.  Carlos Lee’s .303 average is higher than six of the seven all-star outfielders (Matt Holliday excluded).  Of the NL outfielders to make it, only Ryan Braun has more round-trippers.  And finally, he’s second to only Howard (see number 2) in RBI’s.  This is a blatant miss.  Probably the most deserving outfielder in the entire National League will be missing the all-star game.


4. Pat Burrell.  My argument:  COME ON!!!  It’s Pat “the Bat!”  Besides that, though, he’s tied for 4thin the league in home runs.  The RBI total is a little low at 57, but it’s still better than injured Alfonso Soriano, Matt Holliday, and Mr. He-Seriously-Was-Voted-A-Starter Kosuke Fukudome.  The average is a little off at .275, but only a few points lower than most these others who did make it.  His .575 slugging percentage tops  all NL all-star outfielders except Ryan Ludwick.  Besides, it’s Pat “the Bat” Burrell here!


T-5. Will Ohman.  Ohman is the first of three middle relievers I wanted to mention in light of Carlos Marmol’s recent addition to the all-star bullpen.  For Marmol’s wretched numbers you’ll have to look below.  In 49 games, Ohman has kept a slender 2.77 ERA while going 3-0 in the first half.  He’s struck out 34 batters in 39 innings.  He’s also kept batters to a .204 BAA.


T-5.  J.C. Romero.  The next middle reliever is very near and dear to my heart.  His 4-2 record with 1 save is a direct cause of his minuscule 2.17 ERA.  Thirty-three punch-outs in 37.1 innings isn’t too shabby either.  Throw in a .200 BAA and you have a legit all-star.


T-5. Heath Bell.  Finally we have Heath Bell who brings a 6-3 record with a 2.15 ERA in to mid-June.  His 1.01 WHIP and .209 BAA can’t be overlooked either.






1. Carlos Marmol.  I am going to keep this short, because I know everyone will point to his WHIP and BAA against.  The guy is a reliever with a 4.13 ERA with only 3 saves.  The guy is having a very good season, and I think any team would like to be able to call his number during the 7th or 8th inning, but he is not an all-star.


2. Kosuke Fukudome.  This is probably the one that angers me the most, because the fans are stupid.  I blame ESPN for this one.  Now that they are bored of shoving the Red Sox down our throats (shortly after their disgusting years of worshiping the Yankees), it appears we will never have enough of these lovable losers.  You will note that I have four of these losers on this list.  Fukudome’s numbers are yawn worthy.  Batting an above average .279, he has hit only 7 home runs with a meager 36 RBI’s.  He’s not even a base stealer, as he has only snatched 8 bases all season.  His 59 runs put him at only 15thon the NL list.  So, fans, I must ask: Why?


3. Aaron Cook.  At first, I figured he made the roster because no other Rockie player did, then I remembered that Holliday was already on the team.  I’m going to use Hamels and Johan Santana to set this one straight.  Both NL snubs have more strikeouts, lower ERA’s, lower WHIP’s, and lower BAA’s.  There is no reason for Cook to be on this team.  None.


4. Ryan Dempster.  Pretty much the same as Cook.  He’s having a nice year, but both Hamels and Santana are more deserving, and they might not be the only ones.  Hamels and Santana have both struck out more batters and have lower ERA’s.  Hamels also has a better WHIP.


T-5. Alfonso Soriano (and his replacement David Wright).  My main complaint here is that Soriano hasn’t played in a month, but he was still voted in.  Then, in all his infinite wisdom, Clint Hurdle replaced an outfielder with a third-baseman.  One that I happen to loathe, on top of that.


T-5. Miguel Tejada.  This isn’t your typical Tejada.  Perhaps aging three years in the off-season has caught up to him.  A .275 average with only 10 dingers and 44 RBI are not quite all-star worthy.  J.J. Hardy and Stephen Drew have hit more homers, and Jose Reyes is batting over .300 with 32 steals and 10 home runs.  The two shortstops that definitely belong instead, though, are Jerry Hairston Jr. (batting .351 with 15 steals) and Ryan Theriot (yes, a Cub…batting .320 with 15 steals)


Well, there you go.  I most likely embittered both Cubs fans, but I don’t really care.  What are they going to do, send ESPN after me?



Look for my American League list sometime after the Home Run Derby.  In the mean time, I’d love to hear which players you agree with and which you think I’m totally off-base with.