5 Oakland Athletics Who Should Be All-Stars in 2013
5 Oakland Athletics Who Should Be Making The Trip To Citi Field
It might seem ridiculous, but the Oakland Athletics haven't had a position player in the MLB All-Star Game since 2003 when catcher Ramon Hernandez made the cut. What's more, only once since 2004 has the club had multiple representatives at the midsummer festivities.
The league's voting system is certainly stacked against a small-market team like the Athletics, but perhaps this year could be different. The club's national profile has grown significantly thanks to the Athletics' out-of-left-field run to the AL West Crown in 2012. Plus, when you look at the roster you can see that the team is loaded with all sorts of candidates.
What's interesting, however, is that the most talented player on the team doesn't even make the list. Yoenis Cespedes has some of the fastest hands and one of the most powerful swings I've ever seen. The 26-year-old Cuban has crushed 15 home runs, which has even inspired a campaign to get the slugger into the Home Run Derby. And as you can see above, he makes some pretty remarkable plays with his glove.
But I also recognize that he's hitting below .230, and that the second-year man has made some straight rookie mistakes. Like the time he stood at the plate admiring his home run, which wasn't actually a home run. Plays like that, however, are the tradeoff for getting to watch what I would argue is one of the most exciting players in all of baseball.
So for all his prodigious talent, the man known as “La Potencia” doesn't even crack the list. You might just be surprised, however, by who has been included.
I lead off the list with the man who has been busy setting the Athletics' table all season. Coco Crisp can run (13 steals), has power (second in the league with nine home runs from the leadoff spot), plays stellar defense, and he Bernie leans.
Jed Lowrie might just be the most unassuming .300+ hitter I've ever seen. Lowrie's left some questions about his defense at short, but the dude can absolutely swing it. He has collected 11 3-hit games on the season, and he has 21 doubles, yet oddly just 30 RBI. Anybody who plays a premier defensive position and can hit .300 at the notoriously unfriendly O.co Coliseum is an All-Star in my book
Grant Balfour is a perfect 18-for-18 on save opportunities in 2013, and he has racked up 32 K's in 31 innings. The fiery Australian has a habit of making things dicey, but opponents hit just .125 against Balfour with runners in scoring position. And he loves pointing, and shouting too.
Sure, there is a talented group of rivals for Josh Donaldson to compete with, but how many of those guys were toiling away in Triple-A at this point last season, like the Athletics third baseman was? Donaldson has 10 jacks, is hitting over .300 and he's seriously clutch. He's second in the AL with a .375 batting average in the seventh inning or later. Plus, his defense has been impeccable.
Where to begin with Bartolo Colon? He has already picked up 10 wins, which makes him just the fourth Athletics pitcher since 1991 to reach double digits in wins before the end of June. He's won seven starts straight and is a perfect 6-0 at night. Oh, and he hasn't lost since he turned 40 back on May 24.