I realize that the All-Star Game is a lot about the stars. I know it is a game for the fans and that having them vote and see the players they want is part of the game, but why do some very deserving players not get into the game because of the name recognition of someone else and how do they expect to have other players make names for themselves when they are snubbed from the big game? The mistakes for the National League are:
Aaron Rowand, OF, Philadelphia Phillies.
Aaron Rowand is one of the most spectacular center fielders in the game in respect to making an impossible catch, but running into the wall every now and then and making it onto Sportscenter does not an All-Star make. Rowand’s stats are not bad, a .315 average with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs before the break is not shabby and if there weren’t a more deserving candidate out their I might support Rowand as an All-Star player.
Replacement: Eric Byrnes, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Byrnes has been the catalyst for a surprising Diamondbacks team. Rowand is part of a team where he is the third or fourth best player whereas Byrnes has been leading the team, and leading off for the team, in a push for the playoffs. Byrnes also plays excellent defense and plays well enough that he doesn’t HAVE to run into walls. Add to that the fact that his plate stats are marginally better, .311 AVG, 13 HRs, 46 RBIs and 5 triples, and Byrnes should be on the team.
Carlos Lee, OF, Houston Astros.
Carlos Lee has been on of the only bright sides for the Houston Astros this year but he has not been the brightest. Lee has been pretty good at the plate, especially in the runs batted in category, but he just has not been good enough. Lee has a .295 AVG with 16 HRs and 72 RBIs and might deserve to make the team most years.
Replacement: Hunter Pence, OF, Houston Astros.
Carlos Lee is one of the bright spots for the Astros but Pence has been brighter. In his rookie season Pence has come out of the gates running with a .347 AVG, 11 home runs and 41 RBIs. Pence’s RBI total is the only offensive number lacking, but he would have more RBIs if Carlos Lee wasn;t batting in front of him. Pence also plays much better on defense.
Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates.
I know Freddy Sanchez was selected because he was the only representative from the Pirates, but he does not deserve to be on the team. Sanchez does not even deserve to be the representative from his own team, with several of his teammates having better years. Batting .297 with 2 home runs and 32 RBIs just isn’t good enough, especially since he set the bar so high last season.
Replacement: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida Marlins.
I know I should probably replace him with a Pirate, but I don’t particularly like the rule of one player from each team and I would rather knock someone else off the list. Hanley Ramirez deserves to be an All-Star and he will be one of the stars of the game for the next decade. It is a shame that older names trump young, up and coming names in the all-star selections. Ramirez ranks second in the league in hits with 111, he has 21 doubles and 25 steals to go along with his .322 AVG, 14 home runs and 34 RBIs. Ramirez could use some more RBIs but his 14 home runs with 34 RBIs shows that his teammates aren’t getting on base for him. Ramirez is one of the biggest snubs.
Brian Fuentes, Closer, Colorado Rockies.
Fuentes certainly does not deserve to be in the all-star game when he can’t even keep his closer’s job on his own team. Fuentes was recently removed from the closer’s role and it is not certain when he will return. Fuentes does have 20 saves, but he is also 0-4 with a 4.06 ERA, hardly all-star numbers.
Replacement: John Maine, SP, New York Mets.
There is no need to have so many closers on the team, especially when a starter is much more deserving. John Maine was in the running for the Cy Young award early in the season and though he has backed off a little, he is still all-star quality. Maine is 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA for a first-place team and in the best division in the National League. Maine should have made this team over Fuentes and probably over Smoltz and Sheets as well.