Monday, June 21, 2010
The BJH All-Star Ballot
By Ian Hunter
On one hand, you want to show your allegiance to your favourite team regardless of how poorly or how well those players have fared, but on the other hand you want to ensure the players that truly have been All-Stars during the first half of the season get a chance to represent their league.
I fell somewhere in between the middle, trying to appeal to my heart and my head when it came to picking my 2010 American League All-Stars.
First Base: Justin Morneau
All do respect to Mark Teixeira, but the Canadian Crusher has been the dominant first baseman in the American League. Tex may be a traditionally slow starter, yet in my mind it's a case of "what have you done for me lately" when it comes to the All-Star ballot.
There's no way you can argue with Justin Morneau's .448 on base percentage either (which leads everyone in the Major Leagues by the way).
Second Base: Robinson Cano
Instead of asking "how could you vote for Robinson Cano?", perhaps the better question to ask is how could you not vote for him?
Cano seemingly came out of nowhere to prove that he's the elite second baseman in the league thus far, and is leading the charge for a very strong Yankees team.
Third Base: Evan Longoria
I'll be honest, I had a writeup ready giving Alex Rodriguez the nod at third base. Now that he's out with an injury, it doesn't seem fair to keep him on the ballot. So I will move on to what seems to be the people's choice, Evan Longoria.
The Rays third baseman is already buzzing with early MVP talk, and his stats certainly back the argument. It helps that he has one of the best gloves at the hot corner, too.
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus
When it comes to voting for shortstop, it seems as though there are two schools of thought: those who revere Derek Jeter, and those who would rather see anybody but Derek Jeter start the All-Star game at shortstop.
I happen to belong to the latter group not only because of my dislike for Jeter, but also because I think he's one of the most overrated players in baseball. Give the starting job to Elvis Andrus who actually has a future in this league three years from now.
Catcher: Joe Mauer
This is one of the easiest votes on the ballot, and it's not because he's the defending American League MVP. Mauer is head and shoulders above any competition at the catcher position, even if his numbers have regressed a little bit compared to last season.
He may not have 10+ home runs, but out of all the qualified catchers, Joe Mauer is the only one with a batting average above .300.
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Here's the funny thing about Vladimir Guerrero ... I drafted both he and David Ortiz in the BJH Fantasy Baseball League to start the season, and at the time I wasn't crazy about either pick. Vladdy was the little puppy dog nobody wanted to take home, so I decided to use my pity pick on him.
Although both Ortiz and Guerrero have made strong cases to start at the DH position at the All-Star Game, I'm giving the edge to Vladdy because he isn't just a one trick pony at the dish - he can get to you with a loop single, an extra base hit or a home run.
Left Field: Josh Hamilton
The 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium was undoubtedly Josh Hamilton's coming out party. Since then though, his career has been marred with injury after injury. For one reason or another, everything has clicked for Josh Hamilton this year.
He may not be the best defensive left fielder in the American League, but his offensive contributions are just too substantial to leave of the All-Star ballot.
Centre Field: Vernon Wells
This is perhaps the most perplexing vote of all on the ballot. It's interesting that less than one year ago, both Vernon Wells and Alex Rios were teammates and now they're competing for the same spot on the All-Star roster.
With my allegiance to the Blue Jays, I have to give my vote to Vernon Wells. People love a great comeback story, and Wells certainly fits the bill. Rios has the better batting average, but Wells has more doubles, home runs, and walks.
Right Field: Jose Bautista
No doubt about it, this is definitely my homer pick for the All-Star ballot. However, the stats warrant a trip to Los Angeles in my mind. Ichiro is the sexy pick with his .300+ batting average, yet I think this is Bautista's time to shine.
Let's be honest - this is probably Bautista's only chance to play in an All-Star game, and I don't think we should keep him from fulfilling his dream.
This vote may not be entirely due to his offensive prowess (which has admittedly been lacking these past few weeks) but Bautista continues to put up highlight reel after highlight reel play catches in the outfield.