Boston Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava should be an American League All-Star this year. There’s no other way to put it. If he’s not, then the entire system is a joke.
The top three leading vote-getters right now for outfielders are Mike Trout, Adam Jones and Torii Hunter. Yes, that’s right, Torii Hunter. While Trout and Jones are more than worthy of the starting nods, Hunter is riding on name recognition and the fact that he plays for the Detroit Tigers, who are clearly campaigning for their fans to stuff the ballot boxes and online voting.
Let’s compare Nava and Hunter just for a moment. They have relatively the same batting average, with Hunter at .300 and Nava at .301. That’s where the similarities end though.
Nava has eight home runs, while Hunter has just two. Nava has driven in 42 runners, while Hunter has driven in 24. Nava has scored 38 runs, while Hunter has scored 32 times. How is this is even remotely considered fair?
The answer is that it’s not. Unfortunately, the unenlightened masses are voting for their guy simply because it’s their guy. They don’t look at the numbers or ask themselves if this is what is best for the team. They just see their guy and vote for him.
This is particularly concerning because, as we all know, “this time it counts.” The Tigers will likely win the AL Central, and it appears as if the Red Sox have a good shot at winning the AL East. Therefore, both teams are contenders to make the World Series. Home field advantage will be determined by this one game, and it’s hard to argue that Nava doesn’t give the AL a better shot at winning than Hunter.
Now, Nava is not on the ballot, which certainly isn’t the fault of the great people of Detroit. But Alex Rios would be a more deserving starting outfielder. Rios has hit for power (11 home runs and 33 RBIs), is a great base runner (10 stolen bases, 36 runs), and carries a respectable average. This can only hurt Nava because when Hunter gets voted in, Rios will take one of the reserve spots.
So who else will Nava be contending with? The Kansas City Royals have to have a representative. It will either be Billy Butler or outfielder Alex Gordon. If it’s Gordon, that’s just one less spot for Nava. Jose Bautista has the name recognition, but has less RBIs, and a significantly lower batting average (.266) than Nava.
Even Coco Crisp could steal a spot from Nava as not only is his name more well-known, but he’s also having a pretty solid year.
We will see how this pans out. If Nava keeps tearing the cover off the ball, it will be a complete injustice if he is kept off of the team.