The American League and National League roasters will carry 35 players each into this week’s Major League Baseball All-Star game at Citi Field. 34 of those 35 players have been decided with only the fan vote remaining for each team. The American League roster has a couple of questions that should not go unasked.
Each and every year there are a handful of players that deserved to be All-Stars that just did not get the nod. This year is no different and there are two glaring omissions in the form of Tampa Bay Rays Third Baseman Evan Longoria and Oakland Athletics Third Baseman Josh Donaldson. Sure the American League roster already had two third baseman in Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Baltimore’s Manny Machado but that is not reason enough to omit Longoria or Donaldson from the roster. Let’s take a minute and look at their seasons to date.
Longoria has played in 85 games this season and is hitting .292. Couple that average with 17 home runs, 49 RBI, 53 runs, 21 doubles and an OPS of .901 good for eighth in the American League. Donaldson has played in 86 games this season and is hitting .317. He also has 15 home runs, 57 RBI, 48 runs, 22 doubles and an OPS of .918 good for fifth in the American League.
But who would these two replace on the American League roster? There are two obvious places. First ask yourself why the American League is carrying three catchers. Joe Mauer clearly deserved to be on the roster as the starting catcher. I do not think many would debated that fact. After that things get tough fast. Every team needs to represented on the All-Star team .
Jason Castro of the Houston Astros was the most logical representative from a less than stellar Astros roster and he is a backstop. So with that in mind Jason Castro belongs on the roster. That’s where it should have ended but for some reason the players reached deep and added Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez to the roster. While he is having a productive season it did not warrant adding a third catcher to the roster. Could you argue he was better than Castro? Of course but a player from each roster much make the squad and Castro was the Astros only real choice.
Another questionable addition to the American League roster is super utility player Ben Zobrist. Zobrist is just not having an All-Star caliber season. Through 84 games he is hitting .264 with five home runs, 44 RBI and 45 runs. While respectable those numbers do not warrant adding him to the roster. In fact some would argue it is his ability to play multiple positions that should put him over the top. But when a roster is filled with at least two players at each position that point is irrelevant. Unfortunately for Longoria and Donaldson, Jim Leyland chose Zobrist. I for one cannot find metrics to support that decision.
I have spent the last couple of days attempting to justify the inclusion of Zobrist and Perez to the roster while at the same time attempting to find a way that Longoria or Donaldson should have been left off the roster. I just can’t. In fact I believe there is also a case to put Longoria or Donaldson o the roster ahead of Tori Hunter. Hunter had an incredible April batting .370 but since then he hit .255 in May and .265 in June with an overall .792 OPS. For Hunter is was more about the players voting because of who he was the season he is having now.
Overall there are players on this roster that do not belong. Some chosen by the players and others by Leyland that do not warrant the exclusion of Evan Longoria or Josh Donaldson. It is unfortunate that we are forced to walk this dog every year. Each year there are snubs, each year there are head scratchers and each year there are decisions bound to create debate.
If this game is truly supposed to count then the league should lift the mandatory team representatives and allow the managers to field a team with the intent of winning the game. If that was the mindset then there would be no Perez, there would be no Zobrist. Instead there would be the inclusion of two players that more than deserve a spot, Evan Longoria and Josh Donaldson. For them it is not the case and they will have to watch the game.
Evan Longoria he can take time to rest his injured foot and reflect on previous All-Star games. For him it might be a blessing in disguise. For Donaldson however, he will be watching and wondering how great it might have been. Now this will not be the only year they warrant selection but why wait until 2014 to reward a player that deserves a spot today.
Should Evan Longoria be a 2013 All-Star?
- Yes (68%, 21 Votes)
- No (32%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 31
Should Josh Donaldson be a 2013 All-Star?
- Yes (90%, 35 Votes)
- No (10%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 39