Chris Sale, Paul Konerko, and Adam Dunn were selected to the AL All-Star team. That’s plenty of representation! Think back to the years of waiting Magglio Ordonez to be subbed in at the end of the game.
Sale’s 1st half performance stacks up against anyone else in the league, and he may yet have a chance at starting the game. That’s unlikely, but Sale was one of the few candidates for whom it was hard to envision a snubbing.
Paul Konerko was selected to his 6th All-Star game, as being tied for the league lead in batting average made him too hard to ignore. He was beat out of the starting role via a huge fan vote for Prince Fielder–who’s having a down offensive year–which is pretty much to be expected.
Adam Dunn is the biggest surprise. He’s an enticing comeback story, but faced a hard road with his poor batting average and David Ortiz firmly entrenched in front of him. Dunn could hardly ever crack the All-Star team during his prime, so bottoming out might have done more for his candidacy than steady production ever could.
Now, as for the quibbling…
Jake Peavy was left off the roster, and will be placed in the AL Final vote where he will be up against Yu Darvish, and thus the votes of every baseball fan in Japan. There’s not some wildly undeserving pitcher ahead of Peavy, but there’s also four relievers on the roster, which really goes against the idea of trying to pull in the best talent in the game.
A.J. Pierzynski was left off as well in favor of Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, and Joe Mauer. A.J.’s strongest case would have been against Napoli, but he won the fan vote and will start. He’s also been hitting better than Wieters, but there’s nothing wrong with the best defensive receiver in the league getting rewarded
Alex Rios and Alejandro De Aza didn’t make it, nor were they particularly close, and they really embody the gap between being really good at their jobs and being All-Stars. Rios is having an excellent all-around season, but is short of being amongst the top-10 AL outfielders in hitting. De Aza serves the purpose of getting on-base and playing center, but is a national unknown without power.
Peavy’s absence is disappointing, as his comeback to a high level of play has been even more physically grueling than Dunn’s return. But Jonah Keri had the best tweet in regards to what the appropriate reaction to snubs should be:
All this outrage over snubbed All-Star Game players will be adorable when 22 guys sit out with injuries and everyone makes it.
— jonahkeri (@jonahkeri) July 1, 2012
It’s early yet. The pullouts–especially even pitchers, probably including Sale–will come fast and furious, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Peavy and even Pierzynski find their way in. Hopefully the same goes for Zack Greinke and Jason Kipnis.
The All-Star game process isn’t especially good at getting the right people in, but it’s not good at keeping people out either.