How deserving are the Yankees All-Stars?
The All-Star results were announced this past weekend, and the Yankees had four starters voted in by the fans and two named by the players, managers and coaches. You can count on at least one or more snubs every year and an outcry from the media about how the fans didn’t get it right … again. With that in mind, I take a look at the Yankees All-Stars.
Derek Jeter. Oh, my God! Not Jeter again! He didn’t deserve the Gold Glove last year and he certainly shouldn’t be a starter on the All-Star team. Now that’s out of the way, yes, Jeter’s stats are not All-Star-worthy this year. Back-up Asdrubal Cabrera should probably be starting and Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta, who wasn’t chosen at all, should be there, too. But, these guys are not household names outside of their respective fan bases and that hurt them. Oh, and don’t blame Yankee fans for this snub. I speak and interact with a lot of them on a daily basis and the vast majority would like to send Jeter to the glue factory at this point in his career. (I love you Captain, but baseball is all about what have you done for me lately.)
Robinson Cano. What do ya know? Cano has emerged as one of the American League’s premiere second baseman after having an MVP-caliber season last year when he was also voted to his first All-Star Game. This year, Robbie’s numbers haven’t been quite as gaudy (.294 AVG, 14 HR, 54 RBI), but he’s still producing. I thought this particular position was going to be more hotly contested, but Boston’s Dustin Pedroia, who is coming back from a foot injury he suffered last year, has struggled to get back to his usual high level of play. Back-up Howie Kendrick has somewhat comparable numbers to Cano, but has played fewer games because of a hamstring injury.
Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod’s home run numbers are not what we expect of him (only 13 to date), but he’s still an all-around player who can produce (he has 52 RBIs) and play stellar defense. This is another position where the Boston/New York rivalry could have come into play, but Kevin Youkilis, like Pedroia, is coming back from an injury he suffered last year and got off to a slow start.
Curtis Granderson. No brainer. Grandy and Jose Bautista are the top outfielders in the AL (not necessarily in that order) and the voting reflected this. Granderson has both power and speed, which helps him on the base paths and covering ground in center field. He should probably bring along hitting coach Kevin Long as payback for rebuilding his batting stance.
Russell Martin Martin was voted in by the players, managers and coaches as a reserve, so it’s not just the fans that make questionable choices. Martin had initially been leading the fan vote until Detroit’s Alex Avila rightfully won the start. Martin was relieved by Avila’s selection. “He’s got much better numbers than I do,” said the Yankee catcher. “I’m glad he’s going to get the start.” With the Twins’ Joe Mauer dealing with an injury-plagued season, I guess the AL catching pool is not what it used to be.
Mariano Rivera. The easiest baseball decision AL manager Ron Washington will ever make is to have Mo pitch the ninth inning should the American League have the lead. Of course, the future Hall-of-Famer is suffering from a sore right triceps muscle so it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll beg off from the Mid-Summer Classic.
It may “count” (I won’t even get into how ridiculous that is), but the All-Star Game is at its core an exhibition that’s about what the paying customers want to see.