Your National League All-Stars?!

Oh, boy, what a day. Brutally kicked around (figuratively) in two small towns I’ve never heard of. Let’s talk some baseball!

This doesn’t happen all that often, but I have to disagree with tHeMARksMiTh: Charlie Manuel’s NL pitchers and reserves are at least a little better than Maddon’s AL ones. There’s no Curtis Granderson, Tim Wakefield or Brian Fuentes here. Everyone either (a) is a huge star or (b) is putting up numbers that look like they could be All-Star numbers, in a vacuum, without considering their competition. I hate that Manuel, too, has taken five closers, but at least they’ve all pitched 30 or so really good innings; there’s no Fuentes here.

But still.

All-Star: Jason Marquis, Colorado Rockies: 10-5, 3.87.
Not: Javier Vazquez, Atlanta Braves: 5-7, 3.05.
Marquis is having a really good first half. Probably fluky, but good. Still, he’s probably the second-best pitcher on his own team after Ubaldo Jimenez, and Vazquez dances circles around both of them, but can’t get anybody to score for him. Proving yet again that “All-Star pitcher” correlates more closely with “okay pitcher with great run support” than with any other label you might slap on there.

All-Star: Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers: .288/.355/.416.
Not: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants: .333/.388/.566.
Hudson is okay, and (like Mike Young in the AL) has a reputation for being much better than okay. UZR thinks O-Dawg stopped living up to his defensive reputation years ago and now is a moderate liability (which is still about a 1000% improvement over Jeff Kent). He’s a decent-hitting 2B who can’t really field the position. Sandoval, meanwhile, is absolutely destroying the ball, and is shocking everyone by being at least passable at both first base and third base. The current NL team has two reserve 2B and one reserve 3B; no reason that couldn’t be reversed. And most important of all, Sandoval is really fun to watch. Like a young Guerrero, he swings at everything and usually hits it. The casual non-Giants fan would really like to see this guy play. Hudson, meanwhile, while not nearly the WTF pick Fuentes or Wakefield were, is just another quickly fading 30+ second baseman. That pick just makes no sense at all.

All-Star: Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies: .327/.401/.589.
Not: Matt Kemp, Dodgers: .305/.369/.474.
It’s hard to fault a manager for taking a guy hitting like Hawpe is, but Kemp is a centerfielder who is playing the position very well (somewhat uncharacteristically, but still), while Hawpe is a corner outfielder who has been absolutely dreadful, giving away on defense nearly everything he takes on offense. Kemp has also stolen 19 bases in 23 attempts; Hawpe is a stump. Maybe you can’t cut a guy hitting like Hawpe is, but you absolutely have to make room for Kemp on the team. Maybe…we don’t need five closers?

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6 Responses to “Your National League All-Stars?!”

  1. Bill Says:

    In retrospect, I should've kicked Howard off rather than Hawpe. Howard is the fourth all-star 1B in a non-DH game, has no defensive value, and his offense has been below aveage for his position. I was giving him a pass because he falls into the "understandable because he's a big star" exception mentioned above, but then, he hasn't actually played like a big star over a significant stretch for nearly two years now.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    It's a good thing you put that Howard comment in, or I might have flipped. 😉

    Oh, I don't know how good his choices were. Howard doesn't deserve to be there. Either does Marquis even with 10 wins because he's still not one of the best 15 or so starters. Hudson should be replaced by Phillips, who somehow didn't make it. Tejada doesn't really deserve to be there, but any other shortstop would have been just as bad. It would have been better to include Phillips and have him backup Hanley. I still don't think Hawpe deserved to be there (along with Bay for this same reason). His offense has been great, but his defense has just been awful. That should count for more than it does.

    But looking back at it, I think I was just so pissed that Vazquez was snubbed that I gave that one a few extra points. Otherwise, it wasn't all that bad, except for having 4 first basemen. Really? 4?

  3. lar Says:

    In his interview during the show, Charlie Manuel said that the toughest decision he had to make was at first base. Which I think is just plain silly, since it's obvious that he didn't make a choice at all. He just put all of the deserving first basemen on the team, and then threw in Ryan Howard for extra measure. Just silly.

    As for which roster is worse, I don't really know. My first thought was that the NL roster was much worse than the AL, but, now that I look back at it, I'd say it's about even. And that, actually, both managers did a better job than usual naming their reserves (though it helped that most bad teams had a deserving player to begin with, like Ryan Zimmerman or Adrian Gonzalez/Heath Bell). Ryan Howard is really the only mistake that I care about, and it's not like he took anything away from my guy Prince.

    If I could get myself to care more about the pitching, then maybe I'd be upset. Gallardo should definitely have been considered for a spot, but I 100% believe that he's not on the team because he pitches on Sunday (and would therefore be dead-weight in St Louis). The Marquis choice is what it is. There's always going to be someone like that on the roster, so I don't think you can get too worked up about it. I'm actually excited for the Wakefield pick. My feelings are much like what Rob Neyer said yesterday: I think Wakefield brings a lot of good things to the game that make him special, and I honestly like that the All-Star Game can take the time to honor these guys here and there. I'm always rooting for good things to happen to the guy, and this is about the best thing he could get. Plus, I don't think he actually hurts the squad in any way and could actually be a boon (if he was on that 2002 team, we may have never had a tie and we would never have had this whole "This time it counts!" crap)

    Overall, I think it's going to be a good game. There are a lot of exciting young players on these teams, even outside of the starters (Adam Jones, Zimmerman, Greinke, Timmy, probably Pablo!…)

  4. lar Says:

    Oh, the Josh Hamilton pick is atrocious too. That's the fans' fault, though…

  5. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Oh, don't get me wrong. I will watch the game, and I always look forward to it. And when it comes down to it, all of those guys (even Marquis) are perfectly fine choices. But we're talking about the All-Star Game and who would be the right choice to make. I think there should be a discussion as to who should be there because it continues to challenge us to analyze who really is the best. The problem with that is that it almost becomes a name-calling contest where people think I (or others) think Marquis sucks. He doesn't. He's a major-league average (which is something to be proud of) pitcher who's having a good first half (better than usual even considering "luck"). But is he an "All-Star" or one of the best 13 pitchers? No, and neither is Wakefield. That doesn't mean I won't be perfectly happy for either one, especially Wakefield. But I also refuse to reign in my disgust that guys like Vazquez and Gallardo (though I'd argue Vazquez over Gallardo 😉 ) missed out when they were pretty obvious choices. Some people have to be left out, and I understand that, but there were enough "questionable" calls that could have been changed.

    As for Gallardo pitching on Sunday and that being the reason he was left off, if it was, I have more problems with Manuel and the selection process. If he pitches on Sunday and the Brewers don't want him to pitch in the Game, then that's fine, but at least put him on the roster and bring a sub in his stead. Let Gallardo come to the festivities and enjoy the fruits of his labor while. As we've said, people get left out, and this would be a way to make that number smaller.

    As for Hamilton, it was a bad choice if you look at it from a "first half" perspective. However, the All-Star Game is also there to show off the game's stars, and he certainly put himself up there with his performance last season. If that's who they want to see, they are the ones paying the money and I'm fine with them choosing who they want. The problem, of course, is that it leaves out a potential All-Star that could make his mark this season and become the next Hamilton (for lack of better phrase).

  6. Bill Says:

    I pretty much agree with all of this.

    I think that the on-line ballots (which has to be the vast majority of the balloting nowadays, right?) should include links to each player's stats, not from the YTD (they already have that somewhere, I think), but from the previous year's All-Star break to today. So, by the end of the voting process, you're looking at his last 150 games or so, not just the first couple months of this season. Just seems like a fairer wayu to do it to me.

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