In recent weeks, the A’s social media channels, along with Glen Kuiper and Dallas Braden during the A’s game broadcasts on NBC Sports California, have been encouraging fans to vote on which A’s player should go to the All-Star game.
Honestly, I don’t think any of them deserve to go to the All-Star Game though. Don’t get me wrong; we do have some good players, but, even as an A’s fan, I can’t say that any of them should be an All-Star this year, and it demonstrates how silly the rule that every team should send at least one player to the All-Star Game each season.
With some teams, it’s easy. The Angels, for example; it’s obvious that Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani should be at Dodger Stadium next month. The same elsewhere; the Yankees will send at least Aaron Judge, the Astros will send Yordan Alvarez and the Red Sox should be represented by both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers given their performances at-bat thus far this season. Same for the performances of the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin, the Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah and the Rays’ Shane McClanahan, among others, on the mound too.Embed from Getty Images
If you then look at the A’s, we lag behind in every category. As of 24 June, our batting average leaders are Elvis Andrus and Seth Brown at .226 and Tony Kemp at .223. Brown, the guy that I picked to be the A’s Player of the Season at the start of April, is leading us in both home runs and RBIs with 10 and 36 respectively. When you see Paul Goldschmidt batting .340 with an RBI total of 61, or Pete Alonso hitting 20 home runs with an RBI total of 66, it just doesn’t compare though. Perception is also reality too; when looking up stats to support this story, for example, I was genuinely surprised that Frankie Montas has 92 strikeouts thus far this season (even though I know he’s a good pitcher) because of how bad I’ve felt the A’s bullpen has been this season.
There are also arguments for sentimentally sending certain veterans to the All-Star this season too – in addition to Goldschmidt getting there 100% on merit given his batting performances this season, I don’t think anyone would begrudge Albert Pujols also going to the All-Star Game from the Cardinals this season (just don’t ask him to pitch…) as part of his farewell tour. Same with Miggy at the Tigers – yes, he isn’t the player he once was, but I think we can all accept Miguel Cabrera going the All-Star Game given he passed 3,000 hits this season.
I completely understand why the MLB has the rule that at least one player from every team goes to the All-Star Game because it means that fans of every team have some skin in the game, hopefully boosting the TV ratings for the game itself. Unless being an All-Star really does mean they are the best of the best though, the concept of being an MLB All-Star is being undermined, and players being able to call themselves an All-Star doesn’t mean as much as it should.
Photo credit: Jason Miller for Getty Images
Brett is the Oakland Athletics team contributor for Batflips and Nerds and can be found on Twitter @BrettWalkerPR.