Posted on June 25, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Filed Under: Baseball Bloggers Alliance
As part of the continually growing Baseball Bloggers Alliance
, one of my responsibilities is to do an All-Star ballot. I'm going to stick with the National League, because as little as I know about non-Cardinal teams, I know even less about those strangers who play with extra players.
I also want to clarify something. I've often said that I have no problem with the fan voting, even if they make egregious "errors". I believe that it's the fans' game. The fans give so much to baseball, between their money, their time, and their passion and it seems to me that if they want to see a guy that is well past his prime but still is a "name" play, more power to them. The managers get to make up the rest of the roster and, heck, those reserves usually play more anyway. The problem with the All-Star Game is the ridiculous idea of making it count. It's an exhibition, pure and simple.
So this philosophy will influence my voting somewhat as well. I will often take the player that his having the better year, but there are some players that I want to see there and, darn it, that's where my vote is going to go.
After the jump, my picks for the game out in Arizona in a couple of weeks.
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Catcher: Yadier Molina
I know that Brian McCann is having a strong season and likely will be the worthy selection. That said, save for the home run and RBI numbers, Molina's season is about as strong. When you factor in Molina's defense (which, even though it seems to have dropped some this year, is still strong), the difference is closer than you might think.
First Base: Albert Pujols
He's injured and he's not had his best numbers, so it's no problem that Joey Votto or Prince Fielder will take his slot in Arizona this year. That said, Albert had become Albert before the injury and was within striking distance of Fielder in a lot of the statistical categories. Again, when you factor in defense and the willingness (and ability) of Pujols to play some games at third, I don't think it's that much of a reach. Besides, it's Pujols and I'll vote for him when he's 52 and retired.
Second Base: Rickie Weeks
Obviously, I'm not so much of a homer to try to shoehorn a Cardinal in here. (Even if I wanted to, who would you consider to be the second baseman for the Cards? Skip Schumaker? Allen Craig?) As much as I'm not fond of picking a Brewer, Weeks's numbers completely overshadow everyone else on the ballot. Plus, the second choice was Brandon Phillips, and you know that's not going to happen on a Cardinal blog.
Shortstop: Jose Reyes
Again, not going to try to get Ryan Theriot in here, though he's definitely been better than advertised at the plate for the Birds. No, Reyes gets the nod with a spectacular bounce back season, including 27 stolen bases. Is it any wonder that his name is the one most frequently mentioned in the trade market?
Third Base: Chase Headley
Third base is a real down spot in the NL ballot. No one has more than seven home runs and only David Freese is hitting over .300, and that's likely because he's been out for a month. Headley is hitting .295 with 8 steals and 31 runs scored, so we'll go with him. But we don't have to like it much.
Outfield: Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman, Justin Upton
All of these players are putting up spectacular seasons. I wouldn't be a good member of the Lance Berkman Fan Club if I didn't acknowledge his 18 homers and a .300 average. Kemp is going to be the MVP if he doesn't fall off in the second half, because he's already gotten into the 20/20 club and there's still more than half the season to go. Upton is thinking about that kind of club with 12 homers and 14 steals. I really wanted to get Matt Holliday in here and, if he'd not missed all that time, I probably would have nudged Upton out for him. Jay Bruce made a push as well.
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay
Can there be any other? 9 wins, 119 strikeouts, 2.51 ERA and only 16 walks. Halladay is still well into his dominating phase. This selection pains me, though, because I'd hoped to be able to write Adam Wainwright in here before the season starts. Seeing him interviewed this week on Fox Sports Midwest definitely made me miss him being a part of this team.
There you have it. Again, probably not the most deserving of ballots, but it's mine. Disagree with me? MLB's got voting going through the end of the month. Make your voice be heard!