2015 MLB All-Star Game: 9 players more deserving than current 'All Stars'

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Young Guns Dominate All-Star Rosters


By JOE PISAPIA
FanDuel

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The MLB All Star voting is far from a perfect process. This was the first year where traditional paper ballot stands at every home ballpark were abandoned, and I missed the tradition of punching the miniature holes with my golf pencil, creating tiny baseball shaped hanging chads during an evening at the ballpark.

I'm all for "progress," but the internet fan voting created a near disaster, when at one point the AL All-Star team consisted of eight Kansas City Royals players and Mike Trout. Luckily, the online voting eventually regulated a bit, but there are still nine players named to this year's rosters that should be enjoying the break in the confines of their abodes as opposed to Cincinnati.

Here are the nine All-Stars who are getting ready to enjoy festivities in Cincinnati, followed by the player that's more deserving at their respective positions.

1) Alcides Escobar, SS KC – Of course defense is important, but fellow AL All-Star Jose Iglesias from the Detroit Tigers is the best defensive shortstop in the league. Alcides Escobar is a nice shortstop, but his two home runs and .700 OPS are far from thrilling. It's not like he's breaking any stolen base records, either — he's only swiped five bags so far in 2015.

More Deserving Choice: Carlos Correa, SS HOU – I know he's only played 32 games, but who cares! This exhibition is supposed to showcase the "best" Major League Baseball has to offer. Carlos Correa is the most exciting young shortstop since the days of Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter. He's already matched Alcides Escobar's five steals, while also adding seven homers and posting an .820 OPS. The sample size is small, but his talent is big enough that he should be on the big stage.

2) Alex Gordon, OF KC – Unfortunately, an injury took Alex Gordon off the active roster this week, but one can argue there are more deserving corner outfielders who have matched or exceeded Gordon's solid first half. In fact, his homer (11), run (32) and stolen base totals (1) are nearly identical to Colby Rasmus of the Houston Astros. I don't recall hearing any write-in campaign action on behalf of Mr. Rasmus. So, what makes Gordon so special?

More Deserving Choice: Hanley Ramirez, OF BOS – It's no secret that Hanley Ramirez isn't a Gold Glove left fielder, but to ignore his 49 runs, 46 RBI and 19 homers seems foolish when the public is crying out for more offense in baseball. If you really want to knock Hanley's defense, that's fine. You can also make the case for Yoenis Cespedes of the Detroit Tigers, who has 52 runs, 51 RBI, 13 home runs and a .297 batting average to boot! The fan vote for Gordon ended up keeping two potentially potent bats from making an appearance in the midsummer classic.

3) Lorenzo Cain, OF KC — In case you haven't noticed yet, there's a theme developing here. Lorenzo Cain is having a nice season, and was certainly worthy of All-Star consideration. However, the idea of him being voted in as a starter over J.D. Martinez and his 25 bombs is absurd. Power isn't everything, but it sure is entertaining.

More Deserving Choice: Nelson Cruz, OF SEA – Despite being one of the streakier players in the game, Nelson Cruz is a primetime offensive threat who shows up in big spots, and the All-Star Game would be more exciting with his 21-homer bat on the roster.

5) Brock Holt, UT BOS – Look, no one respects hustle more than I do, and I recognize Brock Holt's "Jack of All Positions" status is useful in the All-Star Game. However, he's a slap-hitting utility man and this is supposed to be a about the best talent, not the most endearing.

More Deserving Choice: Alex Rodriguez, 3B/DH NYY – From a PR perspective, Major League Baseball wanted Alex Rodriguez in this game like I want to be at Home Depot buying mulch on a Sunday afternoon. He's played four games at third base in 2015, and I am sure two innings wouldn't ruin the AL's chances of competing. Like him or hate him, A-Rod has 48 runs scored, has driven in 51 and blasted 18 dingers so far, putting him near the top of the leaderboard in all three categories. His lack of presence is clearly political. Ironically, he's still good for ratings, and the MLB is again missing an opportunity to put the best product on the field in a failed attempt to control a message that's been sullied long ago. Last time I looked at the NL side, Ryan Braun will be suiting up for this contest. Hmmm.

6) Matt Holliday, OF STL – Like Alex Gordon, Holliday had no business being named an NL starter in the first place, and he too will miss the game due to injury. Cardinals fans are some of the smartest and most rightfully loyal in the game, but they were looking through red tinted glasses on this fan-favorite selection. Holliday has just three homers and 26 RBI in 52 games played this year.

More Deserving Choice: Charlie Blackmon, OF COL – If Starling Marte of the Pirates were 100 percent, I would be sending him to Cincinnati on the red-eye, but Blackmon is another deserving power/speed combination who's proving 2014 was no fluke. How does a guy on pace for a 20-homer/40-stolen base season get left off an All-Star roster?

7) D.J. LeMahieu, 2B COL – Again, we have a good old-fashioned ball player here in D.J. LeMahieu, but he offers little in the way of excitement, and has marginal offensive production at best.

More Deserving Choice: Kolten Wong, 2B STL – The Cardinals' second baseman is LeMahieu's match in batting average and speed, but offers far greater power potential. Defense being a push, Kolten Wong's punch would have been a better fit to entertain the masses.

8) Michael Wacha, SP STL – Ok, Michael Wacha is definitely "deserving" of his All-Star spot, but his statistics don't really match up with one other starting pitcher...

More Deserving Choice: Jake Arrieta, SP CHC – The Chicago Cubs ace has matched Wacha's 10 wins, has a lower ERA (2.66) and nearly 40 more strikeouts. Having pitched Sunday, Jake Arrieta would have been unable to participate in the game, but theoretically, he has the edge on Wacha by a fair amount. Even New York Mets star Matt Harvey would have added more "star power" and stats.

9) Brad Boxberger, RP TB – The trend towards more relievers in the All-Star Game in recent years is understandable, sensible...and boring.

More Deserving Choice: David Price, SP DET – The guy is 9-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 115 strikeouts. In what universe is David Price not a more interesting and worthy selection than a closer with a 3.25 ERA?

There's a reason why the MLB is losing the war on attracting the young sports fan in this country, and this is due in part to missing opportunities to display the league's most dynamic talent in moments like this — whether it be for political, PR or just plain "old school" baseball reasoning. The All Star Game is a showcase. It's an exhibition. To pretend as if it's more than that is ridiculous.

Luckily, there will be a large amount of young talent on display Tuesday night, which is step in the right direction. The question remains, as those young stars exit the game, will the remaining talent be enough to keep the viewers attention?

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