Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish in the dugout during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers beat the Tigers 13-9. Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
4 Total Updates since July 3, 2012
11 months ago Update 0 comments
The votes are in -- million and millions of votes, submitted by thousands and thousands by fans who should have been working or planting gardens or something -- and this year's you-selected, last-minute All Stars are Texas Rangers rookie right-hander Yu Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese.
With sentimental favorite Chipper Jones removed from this ballot when named as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp, the early favorite in the National League was 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, off to a fine start in his first major-league season. But instead the spot went to Freese, who starred for the Cardinals last October. In addition to Harper, Freese also had to beat out Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill and Braves center fielder Michael Bourn.
Darvish topped White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy, Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel, Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, and Royals closer Jonathan Broxton. Frieri's been great, but has pitched only 24⅓ innings. Hammel and Peavy have both pitched better than Darvish this season. But Darvish, the Japanese star pitching as a rookie with the Rangers this season, has more name recognition than all the other candidates put together.
Not that Darvish has pitched poorly. With 117 strikeouts, he's third in the league behind superstars Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez. And he does have 10 wins, tied for third in the league with fellow All-Star Chris Sale. But while Darvish has pitched well, his 2.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks just 30th in the league and suggests he still hasn't completed the adjustment from Japan to Texas.
11 months ago Update 2 comments
Just saw this:
I'm not sure what Bochy meant by that ... Doesn't have a "fan vote"? Is there some super-brilliant system in place, preventing managers from going on the Prestigious Internet and voting for their favorites? Or maybe Bochy just doesn't know how to use the Prestigious Internet.
Anyway, the funny thing about making Chipper Jones a "legacy pick" is that he's already been one. A year ago on this date, Chipper was batting just 256/343/418, with seven home runs. And was an All-Star. As a fan, I don't mind this happening once. But twice is a bit much, don't you think?
Mind you, I'm not saying that Chipper Jones doesn't deserve to be an All-Star. We haven't gotten that far. What I'm saying is that you get one legacy selection, at most, and Chipper's already had his.
Chipper's top competition on the ballot seems to be Bryce Harper, and of course what makes this so delicious is the contrast, the grizzled old veteran trying to fend off the hyperkinetic 19-year-old with a future as big as the sun. What seems to be mostly ignored is how good they are.
They've been equally good. Both, believe it or not, have posted 123 OPS+'s this season.
The funny thing is that neither really has All-Star numbers. The OPS+ is good but not great. Harper's got eight home runs and only 22 RBI (but 38 runs), while Chipper's got six homers and 29 RBI. Both were popular choices for the ballot, and a vote for either is sentimental rather than substantive.
Granted, I can understand why you might want to see Chipper Jones in another All-Star Game. I can understand why you might want to see Bryce Harper, though it's hardly like you haven't seen him before. I will guess that 95 percent of the fans who really appreciate Harper have seen him already. And while it's fun to think about Harper facing someone Justin Verlander or Jered Weaver, he's about as likely to face Ryan Cook or Fernando Rodney.
As Grant's already pointed out, the performance-based choice is probably Michael Bourn -- by virtue of his defense and his baserunning -- not that anyone seems to care. Aaron Hill's a fluke, and David Freese hasn't excited anyone since last October. I would actually feel bad for Bourn, except he's been an All-Star before, got an at-bat (and struck out) in 2010.
Given all of the above, if I had a fan vote I would vote for the player who gives Tony La Russa the best chance to win. Who wins this voting probably won't play until late in the game, and might be used as a pinch-hitter. Aaron Hill has the highest OPS+ on the ballot, but I still don't believe he's quite this good and he's a right-handed batter.
Which is why I'm choosing Chipper Jones. Not because he's old. Because he can still hit, and hits both ways.
11 months ago Update 1 comment
Fan voting for the final, 34th roster spots on the National and American League All-Star teams continues through 4 p.m. ET Thursday, and you can cast your vote at this link, or via mobile phone:
In addition to the web, fans can use their mobile phones to cast votes via the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word “VOTE” to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text the choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text “A3” to vote for AL Player 3 or “N3” to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard rates may apply.
Got all that? More than 19 million votes have already been cast since voting began on Sunday, and here’s the ranking of the five players in each league as of Tuesday morning:
#FinalVote 1st round standings – AL: 1. Darvish 2. Peavy 3. Hammel 4. Frieri 5. Broxton. NL: 1. Chipper 2. Freese 3. Bryce 4. Hill 5. Bourn
— MLB (@MLB) July 3, 2012
Another MLB tweet describes the leads of Darvish and Jones as “slim”, so you could still make a difference, so go vote!