At least I can be happy for this guy’s first All-Star selection.(Photo by Keith Allison/Flickr)
The All-Star Game rosters were released today, which is good, because it gives the fans of every single baseball team something to whine and feel bitter about. This year, and me, are no exceptions. Especially since, old friend Tony La Russa is managing the NL team, and thus gets to help select the team.
It’s a little astonishing that Joey Votto is going to be starting only his first all-star game – he didn’t start either the year he won the MVP or the year after. Now that Pujols and Fielder and Gonzalez have all set off for American League-ier pastures, it’s JV’s turn to shine. It’s also great that Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce will be able to suit up for the NL, Bruce for the second year in a row.
But, of course, there are two big snubs on Reds fans’ minds right now. First, Brandon Phillips, who was a distant second in all-star voting, perhaps a tiny bit unfairly as I’ve discussed before, apparently didn’t merit a selection as a reserve, or a spot on the “Final Man” Vote. Filling both those spots are fellow second-baggers Jose Altuve, and Aaron Hill. I mentioned Aaron Hill as well – and he makes sense, as his numbers are essentially as good as Uggla’s, and he got like, no votes. It’s a minor thing, though, as Altuve, Hill, and Uggla all have at least slightly better offensive numbers than Phillips, and I wouldn’t be as suspicious if it weren’t for a couple other notable omissions.
According to the numbers right now, Johnny Cueto may not be the best pitcher in the National League, but he’s at least in the conversation. Cueto’s really not a strikeout guy, and his walks aren’t high, but they aren’t Cliff-Lee-low either. So by peripherals, using the handy measure of xFIP, most of the chosen starters look a bit better. But Cueto has the fifth best ERA in the National League – better than a full five of the selected starting pitchers. He hasn’t been particularly lucky in the BABIP sense – his is just a hair below the NL average. He does it, of course, with groundballs – with a 49% GB rate, he’s doing better in that respect than any of the NL All-Star SP’s other than R.A.Dickey.
At very least, I’d say he’s better than Wade Miley, but Miley is the sole representative of the Diamondbacks, so what can you do? Still, I get the feeling that TLR still hasn’t quite forgiven the major players in the brou-ha-ha of 2010.
What sort of caps this all off is that the Brewers’ Zack Greinke is another big snub. Greinke maybe has an even better case, as he has been clearly superior to both Lynn and Hamels this season. No matter how you look at it, it’s a bit shocking. Until you remember that there’s no love lost between Greinke and LaRussa.
Yes, it’s obviously all a grand conspiracy by a retired baseball manager who doesn’t particularly like the team I root for. Or Zack Greinke. Also, aliens. Aliens are probably involved.
No seriously, it’s a little bit of a shame, but personal feelings have influenced ASG selections since the beginning of time/All-star selections. If we want Cueto on the mound, I guess we’ll just have to win the World Series this year.
EDIT: Also, the news going around is that Lynn, at least was a player vote – TLR used four of his picks on Phillies – probably Cole Hamels, there. (Partial source)