Once again, the All Star voting is proving to be a popularity contest with almost no correlation to how well a player is performing on the field.
A case in point is Ken Griffey Jr., who is third in voting for designated hitter. Although he is the only DH who hasn’t hit a home run and is 19th among 22 DHs with seven RBI, his .252 OBP is 21st ahead of only Randy Ruiz, who signed with a Japanese team last week.
Griffey’s .186 batting average is 20th on the team and he is only hitting .136 with runners in scoring position. This is not a vendetta against Griffey, who may or may not actually play in the game, but a stand for other players who are more deserving but have less of a chance of making the team with so many votes going to Griffey.
Jose Guillen is an example of a player being left out in the voting. He is leading all DHs in home runs with 11 and second in RBI with 31 but is not even in the top five of the voting. I understand Vladimir Guerrero being the top vote getter for DH, since he has the best numbers across the board.
Pat Burrell is fourth in voting but has had such a terrible season he has been released by Tampa Bay. He is fourth in voting but is hitting .202 and is slugging .292.
The first base position voting also shows a case where popularity is ruling the voting.
Mark Teixeira leads Justin Morneau by almost 140,000 votes even though Morneau is having a much better season. Granted Teixeira is nearly the top first baseman in RBI with 30 but is hitting only .209 while Morneau is hitting .383 and 31 points ahead of second place Ichiro Suzuki. Morneau is slugging .701 while Teixeira is slugging .378.
Then there is the case of Paul Konerko, who is leading the majors in home runs but is not even in the top five in voting. Carlos Pena, who is fourth in voting, has no business being ahead of Kendry Morales who has more home runs and RBI than Pena. Also, Morales is outhitting Pena .288 to .191.
I am not saying the Rays are stuffing the ballot, box but it sure looks that way with the Rays placing a player in the top five at each position.
The outfield voting shows Vernon Wells, who is leading the AL outfielders in home runs with 11 and in RBI with 33 in 11th place, with the Yankees having Curtis Granderson fifth, Nick Swisher seventh, and Brett Gardner eighth in voting.
Alex Gonzalez leads all shortstops in home runs with 10 and in RBI with 30 and is slugging .538, which is 138 points higher than second place J.J. Hardy. Derek Jeter is first in the voting and 520,000 votes ahead of Gonzalez who has had the better first half so far.
Wells and Gonzalez may be victims of poor attendance with the Blue Jays. One of the worst drawing teams in 2010 and with a smaller fanbase, there will be fewer votes cast at the ballpark for their players.
The Yankees lead in three of the four infield positions with Alex Rodriguez second in the voting at third base behind Evan Longoria. Jorge Posada is second in the voting as catcher behind Joe Mauer.
I am resigned to the fact that the fans will continue to be allowed to vote for their favorite players, but still hope that there will be a more equitable way for players who are from smaller markets and have posted better stats to take the field for their leagues in All Star games.
The managers will add some of these players who are not first in the voting for their position, but they most certainly won’t be on the field when the game starts.
The AL All Star voting to date can be found here.