2010 NL All-Star Roster: Were the Right Philadelphia Phillies Chosen?
In answer to the headline question: yes.
Three Phillies are going to the mid-summer classic in Anaheim. But are the right three guys going? Should there even be three Phillies going in the first place?
Those are appropriate questions, but as it turned out, manager Charlie Manuel and company made all the right calls when selecting the deserving Phillies. Here’s why…
Chase Utley: By Default
Chase Utley was voted the NL's starting second baseman for the fifth straight year. Obviously, he won’t play as he recovers from thumb surgery.
If the fans want to vote him in, then more power to them. But that doesn’t change the fact that Utley has suffered through by far the worst season of his great career (11 HR, 37 RBI, .277 AVG). NL second basemen Martin Prado, Brandon Phillips, Dan Uggla, and Ricky Weeks are all having better seasons than Chase.
In Philadelphia, criticizing Chase Utley is one of the seven deadly sins. Phillie fans have no problem pointing the finger at Raul Ibanez's 12-month “slump” or alleging that Ryan Howard has become a “singles hitter,” but there’s no doubt that Utley’s shortcomings have been a main reason for the Phillies’ poor play so far in 2010.
In 18 games between May 25 and June 13, Utley was 9-for-65 (.138 AVG) with no homers and three RBIs. He had four RBIs in 27 games between May 16 and June 17.
Still, if the fans vote him in, then it’s tough to argue.
Doc Halladay: A No-Brainer
His 9-7 record is so, so misleading. Halladay has been everything the Phillies could have ever hoped for.
He leads the majors in innings, complete games, and shutouts. He’s 5-1 with an 0.72 ERA in six starts against the highly-competitive NL East (with three shutouts and one perfect game).
Plus, he’s compiled those numbers with virtually no run support. The Phils have scored three runs or less in nine of Halladay's 10 starts dating back to May 6. It gets worse; the Phils have managed just 12 total runs in Halladay's seven losses. Overall, the Phillies have scored three runs or less in 12 of Halladay's 17 starts.
Not only that, but the Phillies have scored three runs or less in four of Roy’s nine wins. So far in 2010, Halladay has won games by scores of 2-1, 2-0, 1-0, and 3-2.
Forget the record, he's been spectacular.
Ryan Howard: Well...OK fine
It’s a shame Joey Votto has to fight it out for the NL’s final roster spot through the Online Vote. Overall, Votto is having a much better season than Howard.
But as anyone who follows baseball knows, being selected to the All-Star Game has a lot to do with previous seasons' performances and top players always get the benefit of the doubt. But it would have been better to select both Howard and Votto at the extremely deep first base position as opposed to one more outfielder.
No, Howard’s not having a typical Ryan Howard season (45 HR, 140 RBI). But look around the league. Thanks to the pitching renaissance in 2010, there might be NO ONE in MLB who has a typical Ryan Howard season.
Despite the criticism, Howard is still one of the top active players in the game. If only he could learn to be more patient at the plate!
No Jayson Werth: How the Mighty Has Fallen
Hey. Remember how everyone in this town was begging management to throw $20 million per at this guy? The “Re-sign Jayson Werth” Bandwagon is now completely empty.
Back in May, who would have ever thought Werth wouldn’t be an All-Star?
Well, he’s hitting just .178 with men in scoring position this season, and the majority of his offensive production came very early in the campaign when he was getting RBI chances galore.
Seven NL outfielders have more homers than Jayson’s 13. Werth is eighth in outfield RBIs with 48. If the Nationals' Josh Willingham (15 HR, 46 RBI, .281) wasn’t deserving of an All-Star spot, then there’s no way Werth was either.
Here’s a little-known stat. So far in 2010, Werth is averaging a strikeout every 3.36 at-bats. Ryan Howard is averaging one every 3.86.
By the way, Werth’s starting to look like Bobby Abreu when it comes to going back on the ball in right field. That’s scary.
No Ageless Wonder: What a Relief
Jamie’s a great story. He obviously knows how to pitch and he should serve as an inspiration for pitchers of all ages around the world. But please, there was no way he was deserving of an All-Star spot.
Outside of Philadelphia sports radio, seems like that wasn’t up for debate anywhere else.
The fact that he has the same total of wins as Halladay is a joke. The erratic Phillie offense has scored six or more runs in eight of Jamie Moyer’s nine wins. That kind of support is nothing new for Moyer since joining Philadelphia, just ask Cole Hamels.
Plus, 2010 is the “Year of the Pitcher.” There are soooo many pitchers who are having great seasons. If the Cardinals’ rookie Jaime Garcia (8-4, 2.10 ERA) wasn’t deserving of an All-Star spot, then there’s no way Jamie Moyer was either.
And one more thing: Age should be irrelevant when making All-Star selections. It should be all about selecting the best pitchers. Thankfully, the Moyer All-Star speculation is over.