MLB All Star Game: Kevin Youkilis and the 5 Biggest American League Snubs
With the rosters announced on Sunday for the 82nd Major League Baseball All Star Game, attention now turns to the Final Vote, which will add the 34th and last player to the leagues' rosters.
However, there are only five players on each ballot and with the Chicago White Sox' Paul Konerko almost a lock to get the nod, the American League roster is all but set.
So here are the five biggest AL snubs, not including Konerko, who would of course be on this list if he were not going to run away with the Final Vote.
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There is one statistic working against Kevin Youkilis. After a slow start, the Boston Red Sox' third baseman is still sporting a .270 average, 22 points below his career mark and the worst of his career, discounting his rookie 2004 season.
However, when one looks at the whole picture, he is having a very good season. Perhaps he should not be starting the All Star Game, since the Yankee's Alex Rodriguez is having a very good year, but he certainly should have made the team above Adrian Beltre, who will be the backup in Arizona.
Beltre, who was teammates with Youk last season before joining the Texas Rangers in the offseason, has an 8.5 wRAA, less than half that of Youkilis (17.7). Youk also has the highest weighted runs created of any qualifying Major Leagye third baseman at 140. That is two above A-Rod and 26 more than Beltre. He has a higher OPS than both, also.
Youk leads both in wOBA, too: .383 to A-Rod's .378 and Beltre's .345. Having only moved to the hot corner from first base this year, his glove is not as good as either of the other two but overall, he is having the better season.
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Derek Jeter ranks 133rd in OPS in the American League. He is outclassed by Asdrubal Cabrera in every significant offensive and defensive category. He has spent weeks on the disabled list. Yet somehow he will be starting the All Star Game.
From now on, when you want to make a case against the fans voting for the starters, all you have to do is say "Derek Jeter started in 2011" and you will win the argument.
Jhonny Peralta does not have the numbers Cabrera does but he should be on the bench. He is batting .314 and is on pace for a 30-100 season.
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First things first. There are too many starting pitchers in the All-Star Game. But they really could not find a place on the roster for CC Sabathia.
The Yankees' ace was the AL's sole 20-game winner last season and is on pace to reach that plateau once again. He is 11-4 with a 3.05 ERA. He is allowing a home run every three games and has walked only 32 batters in 129.2 innings.
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Alex Gordon is not one of the three best outfielders in the AL. He's not the fourth or fifth best, either. It is right, therefore, that he is not starting the All Star Game.
But he should be on the bench. Jacoby Ellsbury should probably have been a starter, so he deserves his spot as a backup. Alex Gordon should be right alongside him.
MLB have a frankly ridiculous rule for the ASG where there has to be at least one representative from each team. So when it came time to make a selection from the uninspiring Kansas City Royals' roster, the choice was between Alex Gordon who has been one of the best outfielders this season or a reliever who has pitched fewer than 40 innings.
Gordon has a higher wRC than each of the other three OF backups (Matt Joyce, Carlos Quentin and Michael Cuddyer) so the choice was obvious.
Somehow, though, it is relief pitcher Aaron Crow who will be heading to Chase Field for the Midsummer Classic.
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The Boston Red Sox' offseason acquisition Adrian Gonzalez would probably win the AL MVP if the season ended today, so obviously he has been by far and away the best first baseman in the league thus far. For the purposes of this discussion, then, let's discount him.
Mark Teixeira, who actually led Gonzalez until about halfway through the voting process, should be on the bench. Without Adrian, Teixeira would lead all qualifying AL first basemen in two of the triple crown categories: home runs (25) and RBIs (65).