The Primetime Emmy nominee list came out today and the annual turmoil over who was left unrecognized has begun. However, there is another set of fans who feel unrest over the mistreatment of their favorite celebrities.
I’m referring to the finalization of the MLB All-Star rosters. Today the Final Vote elected Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale as the final members of the NL and AL teams, respectively. Both are extremely deserving (especially Sale, who is at the very least a top-5 starter in baseball right now), but there are several others for whom the politics of these “award ceremonies” proved unjust as ever.
5. Cincinnati Reds CF – Billy Hamilton
Now, he has missed his last few games with a hamstring injury, and he is on a team in the Reds that is one of the best represented teams with 4 All-Stars, but leaving the speedy Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton off the NL outfield reserves was an oversight. Coming into his rookie season, the 23-year old was expected to impress with his speed (and he has, with a spectacular 37 steals, good enough for 2nd in the NL), but the major concern was whether or not Billy would be able to hit enough to make his speed a factor. And he has! Hamilton has shown above-average contact abilities with a .280 avg, and has even demonstrated a little unexpected power with 5 bombs and 6 triples. Again, there are already 4 Reds on the NL roster (three of whom are extremely deserving; I’ll let you decipher who is the fourth) but in an outfield bench that features Pittsburgh utility man Josh Harrison (What?), we certainly could have made room for Hamilton.
4. Atlanta Braves LF – Justin Upton
Okay. If you don’t buy that Hamilton should take Harrison’s spot, you should at least agree that Atlanta Braves slugger Justin Upton should be headed to Minnesota for the mid-season festivities. Upton’s 17 HRs are good for fifth in the NL and he’s no scrub in any of his other categories. A .280 avg., 50 RBIs and 8 steals demonstrate his versatile role in the heart of the second-place Atlanta offense. Arguably the most dangerous guy in this lineup (that includes you, Freddie Freeman), Upton has very quietly put up numbers that are certainly All-Star caliber.
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim SP – Garrett Richards
Like Upton, young Angels flamethrower Garrett Richards was a Final Vote candidate that lost out. The former reliever has had a breakout season in the starting rotation, playing a major role in the success in Anaheim. His 10 wins, 2.71 ERA, 14 quality starts, and 119 strikeouts are all good for Top-10 in the AL. Not to mention the fact that his average fastball sits at a sizzling 96.3. It would have been fun to see him throw at Target Field, but the AL pitching staff is admittedly crowded.
2. Houston Astros RF – George Springer
Another rookie outfielder that was overlooked, elite prospect George Springer has pulled the bottom-feeding Houston Astros out of obscurity. The phenom has knocked 19 HRs and 50 RBIs, despite spending his first two weeks in the minor leagues. In addition, he has already shown prowess defensively with a combination of speed, glove, and arm strength. Yes, his .238 avg is bad, but he has proven to be unexpectedly disciplined. Springer has gotten on base at an impressive .342 clip (only .006 behind mediocre All-Star honoree, Alex Gordon). He’s a future All-Star, without a doubt, but so far Springer has done enough to deserve a place on baseball’s biggest stage. I wouldn’t have minded watching him in the Home Run Derby either.
1. Detroit Tigers 2B – Ian Kinsler and Minnesota Twins 2B – Brian Dozier
Yes. It’s a tie for number 1. I simply could not choose, because both of these AL second basemen were denied a much-deserved roster spot. Veteran Ian Kinsler has been extremely productive all around in his first year in Detroit. Kinsler has hit .303 for the first-place Tigers, along with 11 bombs, 9 steals, and a whopping 62 runs that are good enough for second in the AL. Second to… ? That’s right. Minnesota Twins keystone Brian Dozier. The Minnesota favorite is on pace for a 30-30 season, matching 15 swipes with 16 longballs. And, as mentioned, his 65 runs are best in the AL, again, proving his .338 OBP to be more important than his lackluster .235 avg. Most importantly, he’s the hometown hero! It’s a shame he’ll miss a chance to represent in front of his city.
I was shocked to hear that Angels SS Erick Aybar got the nod to replace injured Alex Gordon while both of these middle infielders remained at home. Nothing against Robinson Cano, who was voted by the fans as the AL starter, but the only second baseman who has been better than these two is the Astros’ diminutive speedster Jose Altuve. I’m just thankful AL Home Run Derby captain Jose Bautista acknowledged Dozier’s snub by selecting him to the AL Derby squad.
That’s my list. Who did I forget?