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Why Pablo Sandoval Should Start over David Wright for NL All-Stars

Nick PoustCorrespondent IIJuly 6, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 23:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hits an RBI triple in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on June 23, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Because some of the best New York Mets—Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado—are on the disabled list, third baseman David Wright has been forced to carry the load.

He has done his best, but since he’s been alone in the lineup, he’s had to be more aggressive. This is the reason why he has struck out an unsightly 84 times this season. To put this amount in perspective, his previous high for an entire season is 118.

In spite of countless swings and misses, he has boasted incredible numbers: .342 batting average, 42 RBI, and a .414 on-base percentage. To combat these positives, his high strikeout total, and the fact that he has only five home runs (he hit 33 last season), should have kept him from being voted as an All-Star starter.

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval deserved to be named instead. The 22-year old who is ambidextrous, a switch hitter, and can catch, play first base, as well as a Gold-Glove caliber third, has had a better overall year than Wright, and on a more successful team.

He has a better batting average, .333, and has struck out nearly half Wright’s amount, just 43 times, a very small amount considering how young he is. He’s not particularly a power hitter—at least not yet–but his twelve homers trump Wright’s measly five. He has 44 rbi’s, more than Wright, a similar on-base percentage of .388.

Wright has 25 more at-bats, which makes Sandoval’s statistics that much more extraordinary. Wright has scored 14 more times and has six more hits, but though he has made a strong case to start, his popularity, the team that he plays for, and the city he plays in had a lot to do with his selection.

The fans choose the starters in the All-Star Game, which is a mistake. New York is heavily populated, which means a substantial amount of votes, and because his name carries so much across the country, he clearly has thousands of fans nationwide.

So, though his statistics are All-Star worthy, there is no way competent fans would have chosen him over Sandoval.

California has three major league baseball teams–the Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Angels, and the Giants—which limits San Francisco’s fan base. The population of New York is just over 19 million, while San Francisco, presumably where most Giants fans reside, has a little over 800,000 residents.

So, while Wright benefited from millions of votes, Sandoval needed ever San Francisco resident to vote multiple times, as well gain some votes from the rest of California and the other 49 states (my father voted for him; I, ironically, didn’t vote).

The Mets carry more weight, primarily because of their star-laden roster and repeated September collapses, while the Giants, prior to this season, hadn’t been particularly good since the Barry Bonds Era. It was a longshot for Sandoval, but it shouldn’t have been.

If a starter’s snub wasn’t enough, Sandoval isn’t even on the roster, despite his superior statistics. This is inexplicable. The managers and players vote for the reserves, which makes this more of an atrocity.

There is no reason why they shouldn’t have respected his first-half play and voted him in. Every team has to have a representative, which made must have slimmed Sandoval’s chances, considering starting pitcher Tim Lincecum was already voted in.

Ryan Zimmerman, the lone Washington National, has deserving numbers, but though I applaud baseball’s decision to have every team represented, this third baseman presumably bumped Sandoval out altogether.

I can’t argue with many of the National League selections, but since Sandoval made a significant case to start, there is no reason why he should have to fight with four others for the 33rd roster spot.

Those battling for the 33rd spot with Sandoval is Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds, and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

Guzman, a stellar defensive player, is batting a tremendous .318 with 92 hits, but other than that, his stats are unflattering. He’s a contact hitter. Because of this, he has walked only seven times this season. Seven in 289 at-bats! This translates to a sub-par .333 on-base percentage.

Nonetheless, what has made him so good is that despite his low walk totals, he’s still managed to bat well above average. Yet, I wouldn’t vote for him even if Sandoval wasn’t on the final vote list.

Kemp is another who wouldn’t gain my vote. He’s played well for Los Angeles–which didn’t miss a beat without star Manny Ramirez, who was busy serving a suspension for trying to enhance his sexual performance (or so I believe)—but his .305 batting average, .369 on-base percentage, 44 RBI, and 10 homers aren’t enough to grade him above Sandoval.

The Dodgers are leading the division, which should hurt Kemp, because it means that he has more support around him. Sandoval doesn’t have such consistent production around him, though the rest of the Giants can be dangerous at times.

Similar to Kemp, Victorino has put up otherwise worthy stats. He could also have the leg-up, predominately because he plays for the defending champions, a team that probably gained a few thousand fans once they hoisted the trophy.

Reynolds has 24 home runs and 51 RBI. Just by these power statistics, he’s a shoo-in. But, because of his other startling horrid stats, he’s surprisingly considered. He’s batting .269 (certainly not eye-catching) and has a startling 111 strikeouts.

The 111 strikeouts are a glaring no, but if strikeout machine Adam Dunn has been named in years past, anything is possible.

So, with the luck Sandoval’s had, I would be mad, yet not shocked, if Reynolds made the team instead. Baseball fans may be just that ignorant. The voting players and managers certainly were.

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