A Royal Issue with the 2015 AL All-Star Voting

If the MLB All-Star game were to be played today, it would be the NL vs. the Kansas City Royals plus Mike Trout. Yup. I’m not kidding at all, isn’t that crazy?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Royals and how spunky they are. They are a super fun team to watch (and a super fun team to sweep! Sorry…the Yankee fan in me had to inject that in there!) and I like how they play the game (you know, when they aren’t starting brawls). Really, I’m not doggin’ the Royals at all. After all, I was rooting so hard for them in the post-season last year that I thought my hair would turn blue.

However, I have a problem with them basically all starting in the All-Star game. Some of them do deserve to start to game, but not all of them. C’mon. Really? I get that the All-Star is basically one big popularity contest, but this is also the game decides home field advantage in the World Series! With such an important factor in the World Series being decided, wouldn’t you want your best team on the field? Wouldn’t you want to showcase the best players in baseball by putting them in the starting line-up? Let’s go position-by-position and see who is playing on the AL team and who SHOULD be playing:

Catcher: 

Starting: Salvador Perez

Should be starting: Salvador Perez. This is one position where I think all the voters have it right. He is probably the best catcher in the American League, and he has been great offensively, too. Good job, voters!

First Base:

Starting: Eric Hosmer

Should be starting: Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. At this tally, Cabrera is about 470,000 votes behind Hosmer, so he is within striking distance. BUT COME ON! Hosmer is a great player and super talented, but you want him over Miggy? Puh-lease.

Second Base:

Starting: Omar Infante

Should be starting: Jose Altuve or Jason Kipnis. Okay, this one really has me scratching my head because Infante is basically the most useless second baseman in the AL. He doesn’t have a single home run and his production has gone way down this year. Altuve, my pint-sized favorite second baseman is far more deserving, as is Kipnis, who has quietly been one of the best second basemen in the AL.

Third Base:

Starting: Mike Moustakas

Should be starting: Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays’ Donaldson is having a great year at third base and is more deserving than Moose. He’s currently hitting .315 and major league best 52 runs scored. He also has 17 homers to Moose’s 5. I’d start Moose behind him, though, so the voting at this position hasn’t been a total travesty.

Shortstop: 

Starting: Alcides Escobar

Should be starting: Jose Iglesias. Escobar may be the slicker shortstop, but Iglesias is the better all around player and far more deserving. He is batting .335 and has racked up 59 hits, and Escobar is hitting about .255.

Outfield:

Starting: Lorenzo Cain, Mike Trout, and Alex Gordon.

Should be Starting: Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Alex Gordon or Lorenzo Cain. Trout starting the game doesn’t even warrant an explanation, but I am wondering why Adam Jones isn’t higher up in the voting than the #5 spot. His offense has been great with 72 hits, 33 RBIs, and a .305 BA. Not only that, but he seems to be a Web Gem contender nightly. I agree that one of the Royals should be in the outfield, but only one. Y’all can pick. But only pick one. I mean it, guys.

DH:

Starting: Kendrys Morales

Should be starting: Nelson Cruz. I’m sorry, the AL home run leader isn’t your DH? WTF? Cruz is batting .323, has 18 homers (while playing at the spacious Safeco Field to boot), and has a .591 slugging percentage. Morales has been pretty good this year, too, but he is batting .281 with 7 homers and SLG of .457. No matter how hard I am trying, my pinstripe-clad home-slice Alex Rodriguez will probably not be in the All-Star game. For shame, voters, for shame.

See my problem here? I am trying to understand how this is possible. I’m super stoked that the people in KC are voting and excited about baseball, but this is a little silly, don’t’cha think? Now this updated list released by MLB earlier today is just an update and not final, so there is plenty of time for people to vote in the BEST players. So far, the NL is actually looking pretty on par, so the AL voters need to get it together.

Stop being silly. Vote for the best players! Also, vote for A-Rod. This All-Star game needs some Rod action, for real.

Spring Training is Awesome (and so are my Mini-Reviews)

Spring training is awesome.

It’s the one time of the year where you can sit back, watch a game, and not have to worry about the politics of baseball or how crappy your team is doing. We have had two full days of spring training games and I have been able to watch a few, thanks to MLB TV. Seriously, best investment ever. No joke. And no, they are NOT paying me to say that.

Anyway, I got to see seven teams play so far and because I am an over-achiever and part-time mind reader, I am going to talk about what I saw from the teams and what kind of indicators I got that will play out in the regular season. So, don’t take too much stock in this, but as a blogger, I am now obliged to give my opinion without a care because that’s how the Internet works.

All right, let’s get crackin’:

Philadelphia Phillies: Okay, so I only saw part of this game, but I think the Phillies might actually do better this year. I am hopeful, but c’mon, they have to deal with the Nationals and the Braves. I think a third-place finish is a totally acceptable goal.

Toronto Blue Jays: Color me impressed. The Jays actually didn’t suck in the partial game I saw. Jose Bautista spanked a homerun like he was a pimp and that ball was his…erm…I’ll just stop there before I get in trouble. Okay, anyway, after last year, the Jays can only go up, right? Well, I liked what I saw in the few innings I watched. Because as we all know, a few innings is totally a good way to gauge the rest of the season (enter sarcastic tone).

Pittsburg Pirates: After watching them whoop up on my Yankees, I can say that the Pirates will be good this year. Good enough for play-off run? I dunno. They will have to contest with that Cardinals and that shall be no easy task. It would be fun to see them do well this year, but we gotta stay realistic: I don’t know that they are any better than the teams they could potentially face in the post-season.

New York Yankees: Well. They actually didn’t play that terribly these past two games against the Pirates, but they most definitely did not play up to half their potential. Seriously. It was as though none of their core players were playing (which is totally the point of spring training games) and I think that really bummed out the offense. I think we will need to watch a few more games before judgments are made. They can be a super great team, so long as the lingering question marks go away. Yes, the bias is oozing out of me, don’t hate.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Beating up on the Dodgers is a wonderful feeling, but losing to them the next day is a bummer. Arizona got Kershaw’s number on Tuesday and didn’t let up, but in the split-squad game, the latter part of the game slipped away from those Diamondbacks. That trend really hurt them last year. Of course, they did the exact opposite against the Cubs this afternoon. A slow start led to a poppin’ finish. So, yeah. This year the D-Backs should finish above .500, but I don’t know how well they will do in the post-season, if they make it that far. Prado’s bat was explosive and Goldschmidt pulled through in the clutch, just like always. I really REALLY want them to pull off something special.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Obviously the biggest thing about the Dodger’s spring training is Zack Greinke. First, he spouts how unexcited he is for the Australia trip, and now, he might not even have to go. This afternoon against Arizona, he felt something pinch in his leg and was taken out preventatively after 4 or so pitches. So will the Greink-ster have to go to the land down under? If he has his way, probably not. Milk it, buddy! The Dodgers looked hot and cold these past two games, so I am projecting they will still be great this year, but maybe not quite as good. Like, they will be in the post-season, but probably not the World Series. But the best part of these games was listening to Vin Scully call the game. The dude is funny in an I-don’t-mean-to-be-funny-I-am-just-old kind of way.

Chicago Cubs: Oh, Cubbies. You get a brand new park and a home run to christen it. Except the homer wasn’t yours. It belonged to the Diamondbacks. You guys set the record for Cactus League attendance and had so many fans cheering for you to win! And you lost. I hate to say it, but dudes, you’re not making into the post-season. This whole spring training game pretty much sums up your life: it started strong and everyone was filled with hope, and then it all fell apart. But we still love you. We have to, if only because we feel sorta bad for you.

So there you have it, folks! My mini-analysis of these wonderful (and evil…Dodgers) teams is complete. I will try to have more mini reviews as I watch these games.

Sit back and enjoy spring training, because it is awesome. We get to see players we normally wouldn’t and we get a taste of baseball before the games actually matter. Enjoy spring training because the season will be here before we know it and I will become consumed with baseball. But now, I have to do homework because I have time. In a few weeks, I will not have time because I will be watching baseball. Sorry Mom and Dad for the inevitable tanking of my grades.

Priorities.

Winning and Losing Starts Before the Season Does

With the off-season coming to a close and spring training starting this week (YAHOO!!!!!), it is that time when everyone is really analyzing the off-season moves made by all of the teams. I decided to look into who made the best moves and the worst moves. Here is a list of the teams who I think won the off-season and the teams who didn’t make much of a splash:

Winners:

New York Yankees: Dumping almost half a billion dollars during the off-season is a great place to start for a team who has money and really needed to make changes. They needed offense, so that’s what they got (okay, bought). They needed pitching, so that’s what they got. I think they made a lot of smart moves and put some much needed power in their lineup. I mean, spending that much money should be a good thing…right? Please?

Boston Red Sox: I’m including them because they covered their butts by getting AJ Pierzynski to catch for them once Saltalamacchia left. Clearly, the Sox have a pension for catchers with long last names. They just won the World Series and look poised for another post-season run. Besides, they have Mike Napoli’s beard to remind them of their success, and as a warning to never grow those nasty things ever again.

Tampa Bay Rays: They did not get rid of David Price. Forget all the good moves they made and extensions they signed. They are winners this off-season because they kept Price.

Texas Rangers: They picked up Prince Fielder (granted, he was not his best in 2013) and Shin-Soo Choo, so they are already looking better. With some post-season trips and near misses, they are poised to use that momentum to propel themselves forward. It would be fun to see them do that.

Honorable Mentions:

– Seattle Mariners: Giving Robinson Cano an arm, leg, and their soul was an interesting way to start the off-season, but hey, I guess they mean business.

– Kansas City Royals: Will they be Royal this year? Can I call them Queen Bee (get the Lorde reference? I think I tried too hard, but can you blame me??)? I sure hope so. 2013 was such a turn-a-round year for this club, it would be fun to see them really let loose.

– Los Angeles Dodgers: They didn’t really lose any key players and gave Clayton Kershaw a massive, yet deserving, extension. Now how funny would it be if they bombed like they did the first half of last year?

– Arizona Diamondbacks: Getting Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed was huge, but they had to surrender some prospects to get there. Hopefully, this will work out in their favor because I really want to see these Trumbombs everyone keeps talking about.

– Atlanta Braves: Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. That’s all.

– Washington Nationals: A new manager (Matt Williams) and a new pitcher (Doug Fister) poise the Nats to give Atlanta a run for their money.

Losers:

Baltimore Orioles: In a division as hard as the AL East, you’d think Baltimore would have made some more moves. I was optimistic when they picked up Grant Balfour, mostly because I think he is awesome, but to see them drop him like a hot, Aussie potato was surprising. And they didn’t need that, either. Without any moves made, I can’t see how they can be contenders for 2014.

Toronto Blue Jays: Again, the AL East is a nasty place to be. Last off-season, Toronto made some rocking moves, but it never happened for them last year. I want to be optimistic, but I really doubt they will make magic. Really, the only cool thing about the Jays are the knuckle balls that will supposedly come out during Spring Training.

Cincinnati Reds: They lost Shoo, Dusty Baker, and will probably lose Bronson Arroyo. Bum deal, huh?

Pittsburg Pirates: I include them because they didn’t really do much this year. They lost some good players and might lose AJ Burnett, but they have a great farm system. Will it be enough to propel them into the post-season? Eh…it’s a little up in the air.

All remaining free agents: Geez, it must really suck to be a free agent and not be signed by now! I thought that once Masahiro Tanaka signed, the other pitchers would be prime real estate. As it turns out, no one wants to surrender a first-round pick for these guys and I don’t really blame them. It’s kinda of messed up that a solid pitcher is punished because a team won’t give up a draft pick, but that’s how it works.

Not-so-Honorable Mentions:

– Atlanta Braves: Yes, they are in both categories because while they gave extensions to the players who needed it, they lost good players. They better hope BJ Upton gets hot again and Dan Uggla can bounce back.

– Houston Astros: LOL.

– Miami Marlins: see Houston Astros.