Crash the Party: The 10 Least Worthy All-Star Game Candidates
Nothing like the popularity contest known as All-Star Game voting to drive an attentive fan crazy.
The All-Star game is meant to be for the fans, so logically, the fans should get the right to choose who they get to see in the game. As a result, many times a "fan favorite" makes the game despite lackluster performance, thanks to the fan vote.
While the differences between good and bad have become more clear as the years have gone on, there are still plenty of whoppers on the ballot. Factoring in different categories, like current 2010 performance, recent season performance, and the like, here are the top 10 worst All-Star candidates.
10. Aramis Ramirez
Has been a rock for years in Chicago, and by most every account is not a bad player at all.
That being said, he is fifth to last in MLB in WAR, at -0.9, sporting a downright brutal .170/.233/.274 line, and has hit an inordinate amount of pop-ups. While unlikely to threaten the ballot, the sheer fact that he's on there puts him on this list, though I do not foresee this low level play going forward.
9. David Ortiz
Most people would rank Ortiz higher on a list like this, as his trials and tribulations have been well noted.
I disagree, though. Here's a few reasons why:
1) While his OBP has been a disaster (.295 entering Sunday), he has slugged the ball to the tune of a .484 SLG, and a .253 isolated power (SLG minus AVG). All things considered, he's been about league average with the bat.
2) He is one of two men on this list with a WAR in the positives, albeit at 0.1.
Ortiz would be an awful choice, but he would not be the worst one.
8. Juan Pierre
Ozzie Guillen has harped on the "need" for Pierre to bat leadoff for the White Sox to contend. Anyone who knows anything, knows that's simply not true. While the White Sox offense leaves much to be desired no matter who hits leadoff, allocating the maximum number of plate appearances to one of the league's weakest hitters is still a poor idea.
But since Ozzie Guillen seems unable to tell the difference between fantasy baseball and real baseball, he likely just points to Pierre's 18 stolen bases as a sign of success. Someone with sense may point to his .312 OBP, his .261 SLG, and his 68 WRC+.
Just do not bother telling Ozzie any of this, because why would anyone want to allot the majority of their plate appearance to MLB quality hitters?
7. Lyle Overbay
Walking in 11.9 percent of your plate appearances is nice. Of course, when it comes with a .191 AVG and a first baseman's defense, well, the luster goes away.
On the bright side, however, the fans would have just voted for Mark Teixeira anyway, no matter what Overbay's numbers were.
6. Grady Sizemore
Enter into danger mode. Sizemore is a three-time All-Star, and just 27 years old.
However, this is not the Sizemore that dominated 2005-08 in Center Field. While still a solid defender, his offensive numbers have plummeted. His walk rate stands at a meager 6.5 percent, he remains homerless, and his stolen bases are way down.
Overall, he is rated at -0.2 WAR. Since fans have a tendency to vote like it is three years earlier, though, I would suggest some apprehension before burning up your third outfielder vote on Sizemore.
5. Ken Griffey Jr.
In a rare glimpse, we can see Mr. Griffey above, while awake.
Sarcasm aside, we all know what Griffey offers to Seattle at this stage, which is "veteran presence," and jersey sales. How a man paid to do nothing but hit, while sporting a robust .495 OPS, 39 wRC+, and -0.6 WAR can be on the All-Star ballot, I am not too sure.
Name alone, though, will garner him many unwarranted votes, and while the All Star Game "counts," I doubt any fan of a contending team would like to know Ken Griffey Jr. will be spending any time helping to determine home field advantage.
4. Akinori Iwamura
As a Red Sox fan, it would be nice if the Rays did something stupid every once in awhile, like hold onto Iwamura for the last year of his contract. I would have liked to see his .159/.262/.230 play out in the AL East.
It is happening in the NL, though, and one of the major reasons why the Pirates, despite a front office with actual vision, are as bad as ever. At -1.4 WAR, he has been the worst player in MLB thus far, and the only reason he is not No. 1 is because the next three threaten to garner more support due to being "RBI men" and "veterans."
3. Pedro Feliz
For sale: one aging third baseman whose career high OBP in a season was .308. Ed Wade was sold in an instant.
Thus far, Feliz has rewarded Wade's vision with a .220/.244/.305 batting line. And his defense, normally the selling point of his skills, has been non-existent as well, given his -5.4 UZR.
A classic "RBI man," whose overall offensive production has been overrated by his spot in the lineup, Feliz has a career wRC of 429, but 570 RBI. So far in 2010, his wRC (six) is half his RBI total (12).
2. Carlos Quentin
Remember when Quentin was an MVP candidate? Seems like an eternity ago.
Now, Quentin is the mediocre-hitting, terrible-fielding player the Diamondbacks originally thought they were dealing away. While he has been walking a lot (13.5 percent), it does not mean much when one's batting average is a low .180.
Worse yet, for the first time in Chicago, Quentin is playing right field, which has gone disastrously thus far, with a -9.8 UZR. I feel for Quentin and his struggles, brought on right as it appeared he had star potential, but he's had a terrible 2010.
1. Carlos Lee
Congratulations, Carlos Lee.
After being mentioned in the ranks of the worst contracts in MLB, you have answered the critics by further declines in your walk rate and power, and an increase in your strikeout total. You have gone from merely an average player receiving star-level money, to a bad player receiving it.
Even though everyone knows Lee received his massive contract on the basis of being a ".300 hitter with power", and that it was a bad deal, I doubt many foresaw how poor he could be- until 2010 started. Lee sports a meager .239 OBP, and an even more disappointing .273 SLG, good for a -1.2 WAR.
The irony of it all, as a Red Sox fan, is that even after seeing the contracts of Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, and their respective performance, many fellow fans will still argue to the death that the J.D. Drew deal was a massive error on Theo Epstein's part. Despite my team's mediocre start, I am sure happy I do not have to see this transpire for the next few seasons.