Sunday, July 19, 2009

Outside the Boxscore: Red Sox All-Star picks

By Rick Morris

The FDH assessment of All-Star rosters was harsh on the assessment of some pretty dumb Red Sox selections. SpastikMooss over at Outside the Boxscore begs to differ, so courtesy of our association with that site under the banner of The 21st Century Media Alliance, we present the counter-argument [NOTE: This was written prior to the All-Star Game].

Defending My Red Sox: Why 5/6 of them Belong in the All Star Game
By SpastikMooss

Everyone is dissing on my beloved Red Sox, accusing their fans of poor taste for the five Sox players voted to this year's All Star Game (I'm looking at you, Rick). It really isn't that bad, however, as I think most of the dudes deserve to be in this year. Here's who, and why:

The Guys Who Deserve to Be There:
Jason Bay- Bay has 55 Runs, 20 HR, and an AL leading 72 RBI with the break coming up. He and Torii Hunter have easily been the best AL outfielders so far this year, and he deserves his spot.
Josh Beckett- Josh Beckett isn't the best pitcher in the AL, but he's up there, and he definitely belongs on this team. The only starting pitcher that might be deserving of a nod over Beckett that didn't get one is Jered Weaver, and his stats are very similar, so that's a wash.
Tim Wakefield- Many look at this selection as an example of wins (11) overvalued in lieu of performance (4.31 ERA). I see a baseball lifer who has never made the All-Star Game despite some great seasons, all thanks to his one signature pitch. In the name of Robert Alan Dickey, Wake deserves an All Star Game at least once in his career. Let this be his one.

The Guys Who Maybe Belong:
Jonathan Papelbon- While Paps is certainly having an off year, he's still tied for second in saves and has a respectable ERA. Like it or not, the American League All-Star bullpen will probably feature Paps, Rivera, and Nathan every single year until one of the guys is hurt or retires. So sorry, Joakim Soria (who was injured too long), J.P Howell (who doesn't get enough saves) and David Aardsma (who is a former Red Sox with sparkling peripheral stats this year), but that's the way it is. And for those who would accuse me of homerism here, Rivera is A) an amazing closer and B) his ERA is up this year (2.43), so he too isn't having the best of years. But he belongs in the game too.
Kevin Youkilis- Eight AL 1B have at least 45 R, 14 HR, and 45 RBI at the halfway mark. I don't see anyone other than Morneau and Texiera standing out above the rest, and so Youk isn't the worst pick of all for third-string first basemen. There's some argument for Carlos Pena (but he's hitting .231) and Paul Konerko (who is having a revilatization year but isn't quite as good as most of the big boppers). Debatable here...but Youk isn't a bad pick.

The Guy Who Doesn't Belong:
Dustin Pedroia- I still don't see this pick as a big deal, as the guy was last year's MVP (whether you agreed with it or not), and it's hard to beat that name recognition. While Aaron Hill did make the game, there's no question he should have been its starter, and not a bench player. And after that, I count Ian Kinsler, Chone Figgins, Robinson Cano, Brian Roberts, and Ben Zobrist (who made the game) as all better 2B options than Pedroia this year. Unlike Youk, who sort of fits amongst that upper echelon, Pedroia has been a bit behind the pace in this year's first half, and I would have kept him off the ballot, but hey, that's me. Also, Pedroia's pregnant wife is in the hospital anyways, so he may not play. So then Kinsler would make it, one less Red Sox would be in the game, and maybe you'd all be a bit happier. Maybe?

So there you have it. Say what you will, but I think (most of) these guys deserve their spot in the All Star Game. Especially Wake.

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