Today was the day where all-star rosters were announced for both the american and national leagues. Also, the voting on MLB.com was opened up for who gets the last spot on each all star team. It is a nice gesture to add another deserving player to the all-star exhibition game.
Tonight I am handicapping the AL Vote going from who is least deserving to who is most deserving....
Chone Figgins .316/.392/.410 110 OPS+
Alright so he can steal some bases and he is a gritty player. He strikes me more as an intangibles guy but not a player that screams superstar. He's always struck me as a slightly more talented version of David Eckstein. Point being gritty (i.e. non-superstar) players may be good as a teammate but not what I would immediately associate an all-star label with.
Carlos Pena .233/.365/.540 131 OPS+
Another good player but just not good enough to be an all-star. This guy is the american league version of Adam Dunn in that he is one of the better 3TO (three true outcomes types player) while a Pena selection would mean possibly seeing him in the home run derby.....I would prefer an all-star selection to not have a part of their game stick out like a sore-eye. The batting average is the offending area. While I generally place more emphasis on money-ball type stats (i.e. OPS,OBS, OPS+, etc.) than batting average, when your 86th out of 95 qualified players in a certain statistic and are doing worse than players such as gerald laird, chris getz and david dejesus..........you are definitely not an all-star
Ian Kinsler .256/.333/.50o OPS+ 116
I will concede that he is one of the better power hitting second baseman in the bigs. But then again, isn't that almost a prerequisite for playing for the Texas Rangers? He's on pace to obliberate his career-high in homers. However, in his peripherals (especially batting average and ops) he seems to have regressed from last season. Being an all-star....I would rather see players recognized who have maintained or improved from prior years.
Brandon Inge .269/.363/.505 OPS +124
On the subject of improved players, Brandon Inge has seemed to put things together this year. He's had a fairly pedestrian career, endured a few position changes and for all intensive purposes is in the middle of a breakout year. Has career prior to this year has been so non-star that amongst his 10 similar players hitting wise are players such as joe oliver, greg myers and gregg zaun.
All i've got to say is ouuuch. However, this involves what these players have done this year and just like the Tigers, he has played much better than expected.....I actually did struggle between making him the most worthy 33-rd man but he got overshadowed (albeit barely) by the most-worthy 33rd man..........
Adam Lind .309/.384/.553 OPS +144
Lind is one of those players having a break-out season even if nobody is really even noticing. It's tough to notice any of the flaws that undermine the chances of others.......he's not a "scrappy" player that just isn't overly exciting, he doesn't rank near the bottom of any commonly-used statistical category. He's definitely improved more than any of the other aforementioned players (even Inge who deserves recognition for his break-out). Breaking it down, he's simply having the best season out of the five candidates and will most likely be the best of the bunch several years down the road. When it comes down to it he's hitting for good average, good power and considering his 26th birthday isn't for another couple of weeks this guy has the potential to get even better and become a perennial all-star.....in other words, the type of player that the All-Star Game recognizes......all he has to worry about is getting recognition playing in Toronto