There’s always a lot of talk about who deserves to make the All-Star Game, and then it is always followed by even more about who should have made it that didn’t. Even with the expanded All-Star rosters and vote after the vote campaigns put into the motion over the last few years, there will always be far too many Stars and not enough spaces.
Even after the enormous rosters become even bigger, and injuries help to even the honors out (thus why the exiting Chipper Jones won’t be mentioned below), the initial roster still says the most about the regard that guy’s season holds. While it can never been exact science, there are still those victims of happenstance that never make sense. And with that, I bring to you the CHEAP SEATS top 10 All-Snubs of 2012.
10. Michael Bourn: He’s bringing it all together this year. The shock isn’t that he’s back close to the top of the NL in steals again, it’s that he’s doing it hitting over .300 (he’s a career .274 hitter) and is hitting the ball over the fence as well (he’s hit 7 of his 20 career homers in the first half of this year). He’s been the best day-to-day hitter in the Braves lineup this year, including ASG starter Dan Uggla.
9. Scott Downs: The most effective, shutdown closer that nobody is paying attention to this year. After a brief fill in as closer, he moved back to full-time set up man and still was shutdown material. His total runs surrendered through his shifting? One; good for a 0.36 ERA.
8. Johnny Cuerto: He wasn’t picked for the team and hasn’t been bashful about attributing this to a bias from his potential manager to be in the game. But of the NL starter snubs, his is pretty resounding. His 2.26 ERA is the second lowest of healthy, eligible starters. If only he hadn’t bit, or kicked, the hand he needed to feed him this year.
7. Matt Holliday: It’s an amazing year for NL outfielders, but he should have still made his way in the mix. His 51 RBI are the most of any player not headed to the game, and followed up a .340 May average with a .363 June. He’s raised his average nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and has more RBI than games played over that time span.
6. David Freese: Current biggest star in St. Louis has made it his business to show that last October was far from a fluke. Pushed out of the game by the fan vote for Pablo Sandoval, he’s second in home runs (13), RBI (48) and batting average (.286) out of all NL third basemen.
5. Jason Kipnis: The Indians second year, second baseman may very well be the best player not named Cano at second base in the AL. Not only has he popped out 11 home runs, he’s added 20 steals as well. Ian Kinsler benefitted strongly from having his guy picking the team, because that’s the only way he’s headed to KC over Kipnis.
4. Aaron Hill: If all was even to performance and impact, Hill would be the starter at second base. He leads NL second basemen in average and home runs after hitting .370 in June, and completing the cycle twice during the span. More importantly, he’s pull the D’Backs back in to mix in the West.
3. Tyler Clippard: Washington’s closer of the moment has long been the most effective and versatile reliever in the game, and made an All-Star appearance last year. However, a year later his finest performance goes unrewarded. After the Nationals tried seemingly 25 different closers this year, they finally turned to Clippard who responded with 13 saves after building up 10 holds in front his predecesors already. He’s been a huge reason why the Nats have been able to hold their position at the top of the East.
2. A.J. Pierzynski: The intangibles have always been there, and the numbers are better than ever for him this year as well. The White Sox backstop leads all AL catchers in home runs and RBI. What’s the worst thing about this omission is that no less than two other backups were taken over him. All of this is caused because of the fact that the fan vote sent the fourth best catcher in the league to answer the starting call, but Matt Wieters should have been made to miss out, not AJ.
1. Zack Grienke: This is an oversight simply because of the caliber of season that is being had by seemingly unnoticed by one of the best players in the game. Despite the Brewers turning down, and trade waters running up on his shores, Greinke is turning in his best performance since his Cy Young season three years ago. He has 106 strikeouts while winning nine games with a 3.06 ERA.
Something tells me that he’s first on the waiting list for when the inevitable pitching replacement comes down over the next week, but there’s something to be said for making it on the first call. And then there is something to be said for it not happening as well. But at least he’s not alone in this notion.
For more on the injustices being made right and the road to the best All-Star break of em all, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan.