KMOX 1120AM
Traffic & Weather: Get The Latest Information | Traffic Maps | Weather Forecast

Cardinals

WHEELER: MLB All-Star Breakdown – Cards Fare Well

View Comments
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Sports Open Line
Read More
Cardinals Central
Shop for Cardinals Gear
Buy Cardinals Tickets

MLB Scoreboard
MLB Standings
Team STATS
Team Schedule
Team Roster
Team Injuries

Sports Fan Insider

Keep up with your favorite teams and athletes with daily updates.
Sign Up

So are we all breathing a little better after the Cardinals swept the Marlins over the weekend? They’re once again tied with the Pirates in the NL Central…and for the best record in Major League Baseball.

Just 6 more games before the All-Star break and with those coming against the Astros (2) and the Cubs (4) there’s a good chance they’ll be right where they are now coming out of the break.

That brings me to the All-Star rosters. The Cardinals did extremely well with 5 players either voted in or named to the team. Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran were voted in while Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig and Adam Wainwright were chosen for the team. That’s a heck of a strong representation and that only makes sense since they’ve been the best team in baseball for most of the first half.

This is the time of year where All-Star “snubs” are discussed and while I don’t like the choice of that word (it implies an insult of some kind where mostly players are left off because of the rule requiring each team to be represented) I do think it’s fun to analyze the rosters a bit. Not meaningful…just fun.

National League

Starters:

C.   Yadier Molina, STL
1B. Joey Votto, CIN
2B. Brandon Phillips, CIN
3B. David Wright, NYM
SS. Troy Tulowitzki, COL
OF. Carlos Beltran, STL
OF. Carlos Gonzalez, COL
OF. Bryce Harper, WAS

The fans did a decent job. You could argue that there are outfielders having better seasons than Harper but his numbers stack up well and he’s one of the game’s brightest stars so it’s no big deal. I would have voted for Carlos Gomez instead of Harper but the rest are fine with me.

Bench:

C.   Buster Posey, SF
1B. Paul Goldschmidt, ARZ
1B. Allen Craig, STL
2B. Matt Carpenter, STL
2B. Marco Scutaro, SF
3B. Pedro Alvarez, PIT
SS. Everth Cabrera, SD
SS. Jean Segura, MIL
OF. Domonic Brown, PHI
OF. Michael Cuddyer, COL
OF. Carlos Gomez, MIL
OF. Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Bruce Bochy and the players did a nice job there. The only guy in there that I would replace would be Marco Scutaro. He’s having a nice season but I’d take Ian Desmond instead even though that would mean there are 4 shortstops on the team. But Scutaro is a good story (1st time All-Star at age 37) and was the World Series MVP so it’s hard to rip Bochy for picking his guy.

Pitchers:

Madison Bumgarner, SF
Aroldis Chapman, CIN
Patrick Corbin, ARZ
Jose Fernandez, MIA
Jason Grilli, PIT
Matt Harvey, NYM
Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Craig Kimbrell, ATL
Cliff Lee, PHI
Jeff Locke, PIT
Adam Wainwright, STL
Travis Wood, CHC
Jordan Zimmerman, WAS

It’s really hard to argue with anyone in that group. Sure, maybe Jonathan Papelbon is having a better year than Chapman but since this game “counts” I’m sure Bochy likes having the lefty at the back end of the game. You could sub Stephen Strasburg or Shelby Miller for Madison Bumgarner but, again, Bochy isn’t going to stiff his own guy when it’s close.

Well done by Bochy, his staff and the players. There were no egregious omissions. Five players with interesting cases who didn’t make it still have a shot with the Final Man fan vote: Ian Desmond, Freddie Freeman, Hunter Pence, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig.

Gee, I wonder who is going to get the nod? Seems like we’ll see Puig in New York even though he wasn’t chosen by the staff and that’s the right way to go. If fans want to see him they get a chance to be heard. One month shouldn’t earn you an automatic bid – and I’d vote for Desmond personally – but at least this gives the fans a say.

American League

Starters:

C.   Joe Mauer, MIN
1B. Chris Davis, BAL
2B. Robinson Cano, NYY
3B. Miguel Cabrera, DET
SS. J.J. Hardy, BAL
OF. Mike Trout, LAA
OF. Adam Jones, BAL
OF. Jose Bautista, TOR
DH. David Ortiz, BOS

Not much to argue over there, is there? Pretty solid all-around.

Bench:

C.   Jason Castro, HOU
C.   Salvador Perez, KC
1B. Prince Fielder, DET
2B. Jason Kipnis, CLE
2B. Dustin Pedroia, BOS
2B. Ben Zobrist, TB
3B. Manny Machado, BAL
SS. Jhonny Peralta, DET
OF. Nelson Cruz, TEX
OF. Alex Gordon, KC
OF. Torii Hunter, DET
DH. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR

Now here’s where Jim Leyland got a little goofy. Ben Zobrist (.262/.348/.375 with 5 HR and 6 SB)? Look, I know you needed someone from Tampa Bay and I know Zobrist can play anywhere on the diamond but this is an All-Star game. And Leyland chose Zobrist over Evan Longoria (.289/.366/.525 with 17 HR and 49 RBI)? Really? Yikes. That’s taking “this counts” a little too seriously.

There is no need for both Gordon and Hunter. They’re essentially the same guy. Pick one and replace the other with Jacoby Ellsbury, the league’s stolen base leader and the leadoff man on the best team in the AL.

Castro was a great pick to represent the Astros. He was the most deserving player on their roster and he’s a strong up-and-comer with good defensive skills and a solid bat. I also love Perez from KC – he’s the best defensive catcher in the American League, in my opinion, and he’s also a very good hitter.

That said, you could argue for Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria, Howie Kendrick and Adrian Beltre over Perez. I get that. I’m still glad that Perez was recognized though.

Pitchers:

Clay Buchholz, BOS (injured – replaced by Bartolo Colon, OAK)
Brett Cecil, TOR
Jesse Crain, CHW (injured – replaced by Glen Perkins, MIN)
Yu Darvis, TEX
Felix Hernandez, SEA
Hishashi Iwakuma, SEA
Justin Masterson, CLE
Joe Nathan, TEX
Mariano Rivera, NYY
Chris Sale, CHW
Max Scherzer, DET
Justin Verlander, DET

Some more mind boggling moves by Jim Leyland. This is the man who Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports quoted on Twitter as saying, “(Manny) Machado leads the league in doubles. I’m second in doubles — double vodkas, double scotches … “

That might explain a few things here…

Brett Cecil? Hey, the guy is having a dominant year as the lefty setup man for the Blue Jays – and again, “this one counts!” – but closers are closers for a reason. Their job is tougher than that of a setup man. Royals closer Greg Holland is having a better season than Cecil (though it’s close) and would be a much better choice.

I’d pick on the selection of Crain but that was done by the players so I can’t blame Leyland. What about Grant Balfour or Ernesto Frieri?

Then there are the two Justins – Verlander and Masterson. Nobody is a bigger fan of Verlander than I am. I love his pitching style and think he’s one of the game’s elite pitchers but he’s not having an All-Star first half. This feels like a reward for last year and I’m not a huge fan of that. And Masterson? He’s 20th in ERA amongst starters in the American League. 20th! Hiroki Kuroda, John Lackey, Matt Moore and Anibal Sanchez are all having better seasons than the two Justins. I would have picked Sanchez and Moore, personally.

Final Five: Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Koji Uehara, Tanner Scheppers and Joaquin Benoit.

Uh, what? All setup men? Man, maybe Leyland was being serious about those double vodkas and double scotches. That’s insane. Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Grant Balfour, Josh Donaldson and Howie Kendrick should be on that ballot. Not a bunch of setup men (yes, I know Uehara has been closing for about 2 weeks). Ugh.

To sum up, I think Bochy did a much better job than Leyland did but for the most part the best players in the game will be there for the Mid-Summer Classic.

I guess that’s all we can ask.

Well, that and they stop attaching home field advantage in the World Series to a stinking exhibition game that is played by Little League managerial rules…

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus