My 2008 All-Star Game Adjustments

The 2008 All-Star Game is being played in beloved, historic Yankees Stadium later this month, and the rosters were just announced this weekend. As usual, Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees players dominated the rosters, regardless of if they deserved it or not. I’ve voted for more All-Star games than I have political elections, and every year I hold out hope that the fans will actually vote “smart” and vote for the most deserving players. But year after year, I’m disappointed as the same “big names” get voted in to start the game while the more deserving players are named reserves. Fortunately, pitchers are not voted on by players (otherwise, the game would turn into a homerun derby when bad pitchers who used to be good would pitch). Also, each team in the league must be represented by at least one player. Because of the disparity, I’m taking matters into my own hands. Below are the announced rosters for each league, with my comments and suggestions. First, the visiting National League rosters:

Starters:
C – Geovany Soto (Cubs) [Soto has the power numbers, but Martin should start. It’s cool that Soto will be the first rookie catcher to ever start an All-Star game, though.]
1B – Lance Berkman (Astros) [One of the leading MVP candidates in the NL.]
2B – Chase Utley (Phillies) [See Berkman]
3B – Chipper Jones (Braves) [Flirted with .400 into June.]
SS – Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) [More power and only 10 fewer steals than Reyes, leads the league in runs.]
OF – Ryan Braun (Brewers), Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs), Alfonso Soriano (Cubs) [Braun is great, but the two Cubs shouldn’t even be reserves. My picks to start: Braun, Matt Holliday, Carlos Lee.]
DH – n/a (but will probably be Albert Pujols)

Reserves:
C – Russell Martin (Dodgers), Brian McCann (Braves) [Ryan Doumit of the Pirates is also deserving – too bad he got hurt in a deep year for NL catchers. McCann’s numbers are on par with Soto’s.]
1B – Adrian Gonzalez (Padres), Pujols [Deep position this year. Derek Lee is also deserving.]
2B – Dan Uggla (Marlins) [If not for Utley’s magical season, would be my starter.]
3B – Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) [David Wright has slightly better numbers and should be the pick in front of a New York crowd.]
SS – Cristian Guzman (Nationals), Miguel Tejada (Astros) [Guzman is the only deserving Nats representative, but Reyes deserves it more than Tejada.]
OF – Matt Holliday (Rockies), Ryan Ludwick (Cardinals), Nate McLouth (Pirates) [Ludwick and McLouth are having breakout seasons, and are deserving. Since I named Holliday as a starter, I’ll add in Corey Hart here.]

Pitchers (not voted by fans):
Aaron Cook (Rockies) [11 wins, but ho-hum in other categories. I’d prefer Jake Peavy.]
Ryan Dempster (Cubs) [Big part of the Cubs great season.]
Dan Haren (Diamondbacks) [If he had more run support, he’d have 10+ wins.]
Brad Lidge (Phillies) [Only closer not to blow a save this year.]
Tim Lincecum (Giants) [My pick for the starter – 10-1 with 122 Ks in 115 innings for a bad Giants team. Really fun to watch.]
Ben Sheets (Brewers)
Edinson Volquez (Reds) [Could also start – 11-3 with 116 Ks.]
Billy Wagner (Mets)
Brandon Webb (Diamondbacks) [Haren and Webb are the best 1-2 punch in the league.]
Brian Wilson (Giants) [Surprise!]
Kerry Wood (Cubs) [Has resurrected his career as a starter.]
Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) [He could pinch hit if needed.]

American League:
Starters:
C – Joe Mauer (Twins) [Definitely deserving.]
1B – Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) [Don’t like this pick – he’s having a good year stepping up with the Sox missing Big Papi, but I’d give the start to Morneau.]
2B – Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) [Swinging a hot bat, but Ian Kinsler is lights out – Kinsler should start.]
3B – Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) [Top vote getter, deserving of the nod.]
SS – Derek Jeter (Yankees) [Second best SS on the Yankees roster, but in a down year for AL SS how can he not start in Yankees Stadium?]
OF – Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Manny Ramirez (Red Sox), Ichiro [Hamilton is the first-half AL MVP, but Manny and Ichiro are weak starts – that’s the popularity factor. I’d start Grady Sizemore (22 HR, 20 SB) and J.D. Drew.]
DH – David Ortiz (Red Sox) [Injured, so I’d give the start to Bradley or Giambi.]

Reserves:
C – Dioner Navarro (Rays), Jason Varitek (Red Sox) [Varitek is a joke with his whopping .218 average, and it’s even worse that the players voted him in! I’d replace him with a very deserving A.J. Pierzynski.]
1B – Justin Morneau (Twins) [Surprisingly, it’s a weak year for AL 1B.]
2B – Ian Kinsler (Rangers) [Should be the starter. Brian Roberts another deserving pick as a reserve.]
3B – Joe Crede (White Sox), Carlos Guillen (Tigers) [Crede is a boring pick – I’d like to see Rays rookie Evan Longoria here (who has better numbers ). Guillen isn’t having a good year, but none of the other Tigers are, either, and they need a representative.]
SS – Michael Young (Rangers)
OF – J.D. Drew (Red Sox), Carlos Quentin (White Sox), Grady Sizemore (Indians) [Quentin is a borderline starter, and his teammate Jermaine Dye is also deserving.]
DH – Milton Bradley (Rangers) [Having a great year, I’d put him as an OF reserve, and stick Giambi here.]

Pitchers:
Justin Duchscherer (A’s) [9-5 with a 1.96 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, but teammate Rich Harden is a sexier pick at 5-1, 92 Ks in 77 innings. Plus, he should get his recognition while he’s healthy enough to play in the Classic.]
Roy Halladay (Blue Jays) [Most dominant pitcher in the league with six complete games, but no run support. He even has a relief appearance. I’d like to see him start.]
Scott Kazmir (Rays) [Best pitcher on the best team in baseball (What?!)]
Cliff Lee (Indians) [Could also start.]
Joe Nathan (Twins) [Deep year for AL closers.]
Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox)
Mariano Rivera (Yankees) [Best closer of all time should get the ball in the 9th if the AL has the lead.]
Fransisco Rodriguez (Angels) [Insane 34 saves in the first half!]
Ervin Santana (Angels) [Stellar season.]
Joe Saunders (Angels) [Deserving as the league leader in wins, but teammate John Lackey is more exciting.]
George Sherrill (O’s) [Mariners wish they kept him.]
Joakim Soria (Royals) [AL has six closers to the NL’s four, but the Royals need a representative.]

It’s a tough call, but I think the NL has the better lineup while the AL has the better relievers. Starting pitchers are close, but I think the NL has the slight advantage there. Should be a fun game to watch!

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2 thoughts on “My 2008 All-Star Game Adjustments

  1. Dude, Young, Cabrera and Peralta all have better overall numbers than Jeter (ok, maybe not Peralta) and are infinitely better defenders… any one of them could start over Jeter. Take off your Yankee colored glasses ;-)Other than that though, I basically agree with everything you’ve said.

  2. note that i didn’t say he had the best numbers – i agree that he doesn’t. but none of them stand out as all-star caliber numbers. thus, starting the captain in his own stadium should happen. kinda like barry bonds when the all star game was in san fran, no?

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