2011 MLB All-Star Game: 5 Changes to the AL Roster That Should Have Been Made
The 2011 MLB All-Star game, like every year, has its share of arguments. Players make it to the All-Star Game who do not deserve to be there, and deserving players get snubbed. When players bow out of the game, these are usually fixed.
This was the case this year. Jhonny Peralta replaced Derek Jeter and got his much-deserved first appearance (a sentence I never thought I would say), and Paul Konerko was named to the team on the final ballot.
While most of the issues have been fixed, and while Ron Washington did a very good job with the starting lineup in particular, there are players who still should have been named to the All-Star game and were snubbed multiple times.
Here are five changes on the American League side that should have been made.
5. Replace Howie Kendrick with Dustin Pedroia
This one I could see both sides on until I looked more closely at the two.
The Red Sox already have plenty of representation in the game, and the Angels have been a pleasant surprise this year. Nonetheless, Pedroia is a snub few seem to be talking about.
Howie Kendrick has had a solid year, but his batting average (.302) was clearly the only thing they looked at. Pedroia beats him in pretty much every other stat, including home runs, RBI, stolen bases and on-base percentage (.395 vs. .360, thanks to 63 walks).
Being third in the AL with a 4.4 WAR helps as well.
4. Replace Brandon League with Kyle Farnsworth
Kyle Farnsworth an All-Star snub?
Most Yankees fans just closed this article reading that, but for those remaining, hear me out.
I've been saying for a long time that as nice as saves are, they don't tell the whole story, and this proves it.
Brandon League has 23 saves (second in the AL), but also has a 3.44 ERA, seven walks, 25 K's and a 1-4 record, not to mention a WAR of 0.1.
Yes, a guy who is very much replaceable is on the All-Star roster.
Farnsworth, meanwhile, only has 17 saves, but has a 2.02 ERA, five walks, 25 K's, a 3-1 record and a 0.9 WAR. Farnsworth hasn't been amazing, but he has been a great stopgap for a decimated Rays bullpen, and that could be how they remain over .500.
Besides, League gets all these save situations because Mariners pitchers don't allow runs, and hitters can't score any runs.
3. Replace David Robertson with Joe Smith
Despite the slew of All-Stars, there were many who complained about many Yankees being snubbed from the team. With some of the modifications they made, it seems they went too far in trying to appeal to that group.
The AL already has a non-closing reliever in Aaron Crow on the team, so adding David Robertson was entirely unnecessary. He's having a great year, yes (1.27 ERA, 56 K in 35 innings), but if you're going to go with stats, pick the player with the best ones.
Joe Smith is perhaps the one guy who can out-pitch Robertson. Perhaps he got overlooked due to a low strikeout count in comparison, but how do you turn your back to a 0.85 ERA in 34 appearances?
2. Replace Russell Martin with Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez is technically not an everyday catcher anymore and would probably be a DH substitute. Nonetheless, Martinez has had a very good year with a .316 batting average and 50 RBI.
While an 1.7 WAR is not that great, the field of catchers is weak in the AL, and it's still more than double what Russell Martin has at 0.8. That and a .220 batting average is no good for an All-Star, even if he has lights-out defense (which Martin doesn't).
Heck, if you're going to put in a 10-home run/35 RBI guy with a poor batting average, make it Carlos Santana instead. At least his on-base percentage somewhat makes up for his average.
If you're still not sold on Martinez, change this title to "Replace Russell Martin with Anyone." It's probably an improvement.
(And for Yankees fans who probably think I'm picking on them at this point, replace Martin with Mark Teixiera; at least he's got the home run totals to show he can perform.)
1. Replace C.J. Wilson with Dan Haren
I like C.J. Wilson. He has stepped up with Cliff Lee gone, and a 9-3 record shows he's got the stuff.
That being said, he's not an All-Star, and Washington's favoritism ended up costing Dan Haren a spot on the team.
Haren's got a 10-5 record, a 2.61 ERA, 115 strikeouts and is sixth in the AL in WAR (Wilson is 14th). It's great for the Angels that Jered Weaver got the starting gig, but I'd prefer Haren get a much-deserved bid over that.
They'll add in pitchers like Ricky Romero, David Price, Alexi Ogando and others who are having very good years, but they pass over someone who could likely beat all of them? Not a good move.