Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
Without even counting exactly who the six Tiger all stars were...
I went Cabrera, Verlander, Fielder, Scherzer, Peralta, yea, yea yea.
Then a few hours after the announcements I read that Torii Hunter was an all star as well. Wait, what!?
Brian Kenny's been getting REALLY curmudgeonly - and outright annoying at time - towards traditional stats on Twitter, but here ya go...
Torri Hunter is a really great guy. Want him on my team. But..AMONG AL OF'ers: 24th in WAR,18th in wRC+. Among OF only!!!— Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny) July 7, 2013
No stat - just a smile - of note other than a nice .300ish average, most of which was fortified with his .370 April.
We all know this isn't the defensive whiz that Hunter once was, so his right field prowess didn't secure him a spot in the game.
I know that Leyland is the manager, and with being the ASG manager you get a pass for playing favorites. *Note, still trying to figure out if Hunter was a Leyland or players pick, regardless this is about his all star merits. UPDATE, Hunter was a player pick.* Some managers abuse that latitude more than others. Bruce Bochy selected Marco Scutaro who's a hundred OPS points below what he did for SF last year upon his arrival. But he's going to NY precisely for what he did when he became a Giant. His giant, World Series winning heroics. See, I'm OK with that.
Back to Hunter and his .760ish OPS before yesterday, and his mic dropping (on me) blast to tie up the game at 6.
Hunter's OPS is up to nearly .800 now, which is much more all star worthy than how he began Saturday.
There's no way on statistical merit Hunter deserved to be an all star. Leyland wasn't throwing an old timer a bone either. Hunter's been a four time all star, including the most memorable catch in my years of watching the ASG. Baseball's retired version of Spider-Man has 9 gold gloves, and has received MVP votes in three years.
Why is Hunter an All Star!?!?!
(Looks around the AL OF landscape...)
Oh. OH. OHHHHHHH. THAT'S why.
The outfield options, and I'm assuming Leyland's definitely going to utilize the Rays lone participant, Ben Zobrist, all over, including in the outfield. *Note! Longoria was more deserving than Zobrist, but if Zobrist isn't taken you probably dig deeper down the list of are-they-deserving AL outfielders.*
Here's what Leyland/players had to choose from.
Daniel Nava, who's quietly had a stellar first half for Boston. 2.0 WAR and .828 OPS. But who wants to reward the Red Sox!?
Chris Carter of the Astros. They're lucky the archaic every-team-must-be-represented rule still exists. He's at replacements level WAR thanks to 120 K's. The second the league is emancipated from that absurd and no longer justifiable rule, we can have a REAL All Star Game.
Colby Rasmus? Ha. Not sure when the final decision was made, but moving on.
Austin Jackson? Over Torii? Can't do that. His time will come.
Now we're outside of the top ten of OPS among AL OF.
The two that caught my eye on Saturday night, again before Hunter said 'Eric STFU yesterday afternoon,' were AL stolen base leader Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner. Ellsbury's power is all but gone, but .301, 55 runs and 36 SBs are worthy. Gardner, a veteran, unininjured Yankee position player - which is practically an extinct breed - has a respectable .762 OPS and a 2.6 WAR, and is surely a key part of a Yankee team that's almost worthy of sympathy for how they're using mud and leaves to patch together a 90 win pace.
I love how we get so worked up over a game most people say has lost their interest in recent years anyway.
On that note! I can't believe WE ALL didn't think of this. Tom Verducci has a BRILLIANT way of resurrecting interest in the HR derby. Though he excludes STEP ONE, REMOVING BERMAN.
Seriously, I'm the one that says you can't keep expanding the NCAA Tournament because you'll ruin the comfortable 8 x 11 integrity of the bracket. No one wants to pick 119 games, on -8 Comic Sans font. To the Tournament, the bracket is everything.
Verducci bracketized the derby.
Other ASG thoughts
- Puig SHOULD be in the game if you want the best players to help you win HFA. I get that being on the final ballot is a quaint compromise plus it gets MLB.com slammed with votes and fun web metrics!
- I'm all about the overlooked middle reliever, but five of them on the final ballot is ridonkulous. It won't happen, but Steve Delabar and Brett Cecil in the ASG, just how the Blue Jays drew it up after their blockbuster winter.
- I hope this is a breakout season for Josh Donaldson and not a flash in the pan. He's got all star numbers. The AL could have FIVE third basemen rightfully on the squad.
- Justin Verlander is going to destroy the AL in the second half. Just a hunch.
- If it weren't for the legendary Mariano Rivera, we'd be reveling how uncanny Joe Nathan has been and still is.
- If it weren't for Trout, Harper, Machado, you'd see how sick of a 20 year old season the Marlins Jose Fernandez is having. A ball to the Majors, and a deserving all star.
- Bautista's body didn't change, just his stats did. I get the suspicion. Chris Davis has always been a Hulk, no raised eye brows here. Good for figuring it out!
- Bartolo Colon. Awesome, suspended, awesome, all star. Unreal.
- I LIKE the ASG, because of the level of talent, the games are usually very close and competitive.
- Jayson Stark has a peculiar idea that'll work everytime a Puig comes around. Uh, not often, and it'd piss off vets for sure.
Oh my Machado!