MLB All Star Game -

When it comes to All-Star Games in professional sports, I believe that Major League Baseball sets the bar.  It might not be as competitive as playoff games or even some regular season games but the festivities are very entertaining.  I believe that Major League Baseball does a good job of showcasing its best talent in a format that keeps the competitive juices flowing without asking too much of the participants.


Tonight, the midsummer classic kicks off with the Home Run Derby.  Robinson Cano will be defending his derby crown against some of the league's best bashers - Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen and Mark Trumbo will all be swinging for the Kauffman Stadium fences in hopes of becoming this year's Home Run Derby champ.  Kemp, who hasn't played since May, will captain the NL squad while Cano will captain the AL team.  If I had to make a bet, I'd probably lay my money on Jose Bautista... he'll be looking to make up for last year's first round exit.


The Derby is a nice prelude to the actual game, which will take place on Tuesday in Kansas City (at the aforementioned home of the Kansas City Royals, Kauffman Stadium).  Up for grabs is home field advantage in the World Series... like it or not, the outcome of this game does actually mean something.  With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at the rosters and give you my assessment.

AL Starters

C - Mike Napoli
1B - Prince Fielder
2B - Robinson Cano
OF - Jose Bautista

NL Starters

2B - Dan Uggla
OF - Carlos Beltran
DH - Carlos Gonzalez
SP - Matt Cain

The only clear advantages that the NL has are at 1B and catcher, where Votto and Posey are better all around players.  Offensively, the AL has considerably more power.  Verlander is the best pitcher in all of baseball and although Hamilton, Bautista and Fielder aren't known for their defense, Uggla and Sandoval aren't exactly Gold Glove caliber on the left side of the NL diamond and Melky Cabrera will be asked to play center (which is not his primary position).

AL Reserves
DH/OF - Adam Jones, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Billy Butler, Adam Dunn

NL Reserves

I think that the NL has some advantages on their bench.  David Wright and Andrew McCutchen are having MVP-type seasons and they'll have exciting players batting ahead of them (Bourn, Harper and Castro are all run scoring threats).   The NL also boasts a stronger arsenal of arms, especially considering the AL will be without at least two starters (Sabathia and Wilson).  But it's hard to ignore the obvious - the AL is stronger on paper.  Some of the guys that the NL will trot out there will be making their first and last All-Star appearance in 2012 (namely LaHair and Altuve).  

My prediction: the NL finds a way to grind out a win... they weather the early storm and come back to win behind stellar pitching.  Perhaps a homer pick, I think that Carlos Ruiz wins the MVP award (Yadier Molina will miss the game so Chooch will play a lot) and I would not be surprised to see Chipper Jones do some damage in his final all-star appearance.

Biggest Snubs...

The fans get their picks and then the players and then the managers... Every team needs one representative and every position needs to be amply filled... clearly, this is not as easy as A+B=C but Josh Reddick would have better pick over Ryan Cook and Alex Gordon has an argument over Billy Butler and both were manager picks so in this case it is fair to ask, "WTF, Ron?"  But the biggest snub, in my opinion, is Austin Jackson, who is 9th in WAR across major league baseball (ahead of Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista, to name a few).  

Greinke and Cueto are having outstanding years.  Three Phillies made the roster but only two deserved to be there (sorry, Pap).  Headley should have made the team over Huston Street (who spent a decent portion of the season on the DL) and I would have preferred Martin Prado over manager's selection Jay Bruce.


  1. Greinke doesn't belong there over Johan Santana, James McDonald(who's 9-3, sporting an ERA of 2.37 and a WHIP of .973), or Madison Bumgarner(10-5, 115 innings, lower WHIP, has picked it up while Lincecum has sucked.)

    Greinke has started 19 games(and somehow thrown less innings than the much younger Bumgarner) who's been relied on for more innings since Lincecum has the worst ERA in all of baseball. He also has had the benefit of having 9 games where the Brewers scored 6 or more runs for him. Both Santana and McDonald have 5 games. In 6 no decisions, Santana has dominated with a 2.45 ERA and WHIP far lower than Greinke this year or for his career even. McDonald had 3 losses(2.29 ERA)and 5 no decisions(2.57 ERA.)

    Greinke gets the 12th best run support of any pitcher in baseball. Bumgarner and McDonald are in the bottom 30 for the National League alone. Verlander has the second lowest run support of any pitcher with just 4.2 runs every 9 innings in a game he starts. This is why he's starting... Weaver and guys like Sabathia get tons of support. Greinke, is an average pitcher when it counts, and if you take away his one season where he won the Cy Young... he's a career 4.25 pitcher with a WHIP over 1.30. Think about it.

  2. Agree with you on McDonald... I actually threw that snubs paragraph in there last minute because I went through the rosters and said, "Wait a minute, where's Johnny Cueto?" Believe it or not, I was on vacation last week (in a bubble) and didn't really see the full rosters until last night. I couldn't believe Cueto didn't make the team... but the end result is a sloppy paragraph about snubs and I apologize. If I had more time, I would have done a snubs piece (and McDonald would have made the cut) but I felt like I had to put something in there and I used one metric to gauge my snubs picks - WAR. Greinke and Cueto have higher WAR than McDonald but you're absolutely right in saying that McDonald was snubbed (perhaps more than Greinke and/or Cueto). Thanks for commenting.

  3. I agree, McDonald and Bumgarner should be there tonight. Both are having outstanding seasons.

    Is it me or is the HR Derby just too long? Half way through it, I was bored.

  4. I agree that the All-Star game is the most competitive one among the major professional sports (or the one that is least like an exhibition, rec-league affair). However, it not quite serious enough for me. I'm not sure that the incentive (playing for home field advantage) is large enough.


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