2011 MLB All-Star Game: The Downfall of Fan Balloting
I'm sure many will agree with me: When fans vote on the All-Stars, they never seem to get it right.
Believe it or not, the All-Star Game was not meant to be a popularity contest.
It was meant to be a fun event showcasing the league's BEST players; not just a matchup of usually underachieving popular players. This slideshow reviews who is currently leading the All-Star votes for starters and who SHOULD be.
As a side note, the players that I picked as All-Stars were based solely on this season's stats: I did not even look at the name for any position before making my selections.
American League First Base
Who's leading: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox; .361 avg, 16 HR, 71 RBI
Who should be: Adrian Gonzalez
Obviously the fans are getting it right. Gonzalez is on fire and has arguably been the best hitter in baseball the entire first half.
The problem is that a close-second in voting is the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira while third is the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera. While Tex and Miggy share similar power numbers, Cabrera is hitting .330 while Teixeira is hitting a measly .247. In fact, Teixeira is somehow very close to passing up Gonzalez in the vote for first.
National League First Base
Who's leading: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals; .279 avg, 17 HR, 45 RBI
Who should be: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers; .305 avg, 21 HR, 68 RBI
Obviously, Prince leads Pujols in all three triple-crown stats, and by a somewhat large margin at that.
Also, Pujols is expected to be injured for at least six weeks; obviously, he will not be able to even play in the All-Star Game.
Not only is Fielder having a better season than Pujols, he will be able to actually play by the time of the game (barring a major injury in the next week and a half). There is no reason that Pujols should have 800,000 more votes than Fielder.
American League Second Base
Who's leading: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees; .290 avg, 14 HR, 48 RBI
Who should be: Robinson Cano
Cano isn't having the same season at last year; however, he is still clearly the best second baseman in the American League.
National League Second Base
Who's leading: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds; .291 avg, 6 HR, 41 RBI
Who should be: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers; .290 avg, 14 HR, 33 RBI
This race is very close, and to honest, it could be either player. I picked Weeks because the averages are nearly identical and Phillips has a slight lead in RBI, but Weeks has more than double the amount of home runs as Phillips.
American League Shortstop
Who's leading: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees; .260 avg, 2 HR, 20 RBI
Who should be: Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers; .308 avg, 12 HR, 45 RBI
Peralta is leading American League shortstops in average, home runs and RBI. He should be running away with the lead for AL shortstop.
However, he is almost 2 million votes behind somebody who has one-sixth the amount of home runs, less than half the amount of RBI and a lower batting average by 48 points.
Yes, Derek Jeter is a Hall-of-Famer and possibly one of the greatest players of all-time; however, he should not even be compared to Peralta this year.
This race is a textbook example of how much of a joke fan balloting is.
Jeter is basically having a terrible season while Peralta is having a better year than any other American League shortstop, but Jeter has more than three times the amount of votes as Peralta.
National League Shortstop
Who's leading: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies; .273 avg, 14 HR, 50 RBI
Who should be: Jose Reyes, New York Mets; .341 avg, 3 HR, 32 RBI (28 SB)
This race could also go either way; Tulo has the power numbers, but Reyes is hitting 58 points better than him. Anybody who is hitting .341 and has 28 steals should start the All-Star Game, and 32 RBI is not too shabby either.
American League Third Base
Who's leading: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees; .300 avg, 13 HR, 51 RBI
Who should be: Alex Rodriguez
Although many people (including myself) are not huge fans of A-Rod, you cannot deny that he is having a better season than all of the other AL third basemen. All of his stats are well-rounded and he seems to be the obvious choice at third.
National League Third Base
Who's leading: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies; .289, 4 HR, 39 RBI
Who should be: Placido Polanco
The talent at third base in the National League this year seems to be below average, as nobody is hitting over .296 and nobody has more than seven home runs. Polanco continues to be a consistent player and he is my choice for third basemen in the National League.
American League Catcher
Who's leading: Russell Martin, New York Yankees; .230 avg, 9 HR, 30 RBI
Who should be: Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers; .303 avg, 10 HR, 45 RBI
This one may be the biggest joke of them all.
Nobody hitting .230 should be an All-Star, especially if their power numbers are not anything special either. Avila is having a terrific season, but he unsurprisingly is being overshadowed by an underachieving Yankee.
National League Catcher
Who's leading: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves; .300 avg, 13 HR, 43 RBI
Who should be: Brian McCann
This is an easy choice; McCann's stats are clearly the best of any National League catcher.
American League Outfielders
Who should be:
Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays; .310 avg, 10 HR, 38 RBI
Bautista and Granderson are obvious choices, but the underrated Matt Joyce should clearly get the start instead of Hamilton. While I'll admit that Hammer is my favorite player and he is still having a decent year, Joyce is definitely playing much better and deserves to start the All-Star Game.
National League Outfielders
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; .308 avg, 16 HR, 59 RBI
Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals; 297 avg, 18 HR, 54 RBI
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals; .330 avg, 9 HR, 39 RBI
Who should be:
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers; .327 avg, 21 HR, 60 RBI
Braun is an obvious choice as he has great contact and power numbers. Also, while Holliday has a very good batting average, it is ridiculous that Matt Kemp is not in the Top 3 for outfield vote-getters. He leads the National League in home runs and runs batted in, and has an outstanding .327 batting average.
American League Designated Hitter
Who's leading: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox; .311 avg, 17 HR, 41 RBI
Who should be: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers; .333 avg, 6 HR, 44 RBI
While this is basically a toss-up between Big Papi , V-Mart and Michael Young of the Texas Rangers, I picked Martinez because he had been injured for several weeks this season yet still has almost the same amount of RBI as Ortiz. Martinez has an astonishing .333 average that is one of the best in baseball, and paired with what his numbers would be if he had not been injured, he has the look of an All-Star.
The only way to make the All-Star Game the best it can be is to put the best players on the field. The only way to do that is to take away the fan balloting and instead let the players and coaches vote. If this were to happen, the All-Star Game would be more exciting and more teams would be equally represented and possibly more fans could be attracted.