10 Unheralded Players Who Deserve To Play In The 2013 MLB All-Star Game
2013 MLB All-Star Game: 10 Unheradled Player Who Deserve To Make The Team
The MLB All-Star game is a popularity contest. It is as simply as that. I get it, fans want to see guys that they know in the All-Star game. Nobody wants to watch a game played by a bunch of no-name players. We as fans know it, the players know it and you better believe that the league knows it. I am fine with the fans being allowed to vote for the starting lineup for the All-Star teams. That being said, it does suck when a guy that clearly deserves the honor of being an All-Star gets left off of the roster.
It happens almost every year. A lesser known player gets left off of the roster for a well-known veteran player even if his numbers are much better. Austin Jackson and Edwin Encarnacion were two players last year that were obvious snubs. They both had incredible first halves of the season and were left of the American League roster in favor of guys like Adam Dunn, Curtis Granderson and Adam Jones, who had solid numbers for themselves but got in the game more because of their name than their abilities.
The 2013 MLB season has been very interesting so far. There are superstars like Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez who, for one reason or another, will probably not make the All-Star team. This should open the door for some young, under-the-radar players to make the All-Star rosters for both the National and American League. Most of these guys are young players who are getting their first shot as big league regulars.
These unheralded MLB players are taking full advantage of their opportunity. If they keep this up, these players will soon become household names. Here is a list of 10 players who may not be superstars, but they deserve to be playing in the 2013 All-Star Game.
Matt Carpenter, INF/OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Carpenter has been incredible as the leadoff hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has the eighth-highest batting average in the National League at .316, sixth-highest on-base percentage at .396 and is third in all of baseball with 58 runs scored. He has been a spark at the top of the Cardinals lineup all season and has been a key part to them currently being tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the best record in baseball. Also, Carpenter is very versatile defensively. He has mostly played 2B, but has played some 3B, 1B and OF. He is a jack of all trades and is very deserving of an All-Star spot.
Jason Castro, C, Houston Astros
Jason Castro has been a very pleasant surprise for the Houston Astros. Castro has a triple-slash line of .273/.330/.478, 10 home runs and 26 RBIs. Also, his 22 doubles are among the American League leaders. Because of the lack of depth at the catcher position, I think that Castro's career year deserves a spot on the AL All-Star squad.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Shin Soo Choo has had a great start in his first season with the Cincinnati Reds. While his .269 batting average is not very impressive, his .419 on-base percentage is the third highest in the major leagues. He has shown an uncanny ability to work the count and take walks. His 54 walks are second in the majors to his teammate Joey Votto and he has been hit by a pitch an incredible 20 times, which is far and away the most in baseball. Choo is simply an on-base machine and I think he deserves a spot in the All-Star game.
Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis is well on his way to becoming a household name. His 28 home runs are the most in baseball, Miguel Cabrera is second with 22. He has 73 RBIs, which is second to only Cabrera. He has an incredible triple-slash line of .330/.404/.709. Davis is an obvious selection for the All-Star Game.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson is having a great season in his first full year as a starter. He has a triple-slash line of .308/.376/.507, 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. He is a solid defender at 3B and has been a force in the middle of the Athletics lineup. With 3B being a shallow position, I think Donaldson should be an All-Star.
Evan Gattis, C/OF, Atlanta Braves
Evan Gattis is currently on the disabled list with an oblique strain. Before he got hurt, Gattis was forcing his way in to a crowded Atlanta Braves lineup. In just 53 games this year, Gattis has 14 home runs and 37 RBIs. He also has an impressive slugging percentage of .577. The Braves were trying to find as much playing time as possible for their slugger, but when Brian McCann returned from injury, it was hard to find a place for him everyday. Gattis has some impressive power numbers for such limited duty and I would love to see his great first half be rewarded with a trip to the All-Star Game.
Jason Grilli, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jason Grilli has been lights out as the Pirates' closer this season. Pittsburgh has probably been the biggest surprise in Major League Baseball this season, as their 48-30 record is tied for the best in baseball. Grilli has been a big part of the success of the Pirates. His ERA is a minuscule 1.82 and his 26 saves are the most in the National League. He has struck out a ton of batters and walked very few as his 15.1 SO/9 and 1.8 BB/9 strongly indicate. Grilli is an obvious candidate for the National League bullpen.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, Seattle Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma has been lights out for the Seattle Mariners. In his second season pitching in the United States, Iwakuma has a 7-3 record with a sparkling 2.26 ERA. His 5.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best in the American League. While he is not a household name, Iwakuma is one of the best pitchers in the American League and deserves a spot on the All-Star pitching staff.
Edward Mujica, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Edward Mujica has been a very pleasant surprise for the Cardinals. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 2.20 ERA and has saved 21 games in 21 chances. He has been lights out since taking over as the team's closer earlier this season. Mujica is not your typical flame-throwing closer, but he has outstanding control as his 0.6 BB/9 proves. Mujica definitely needs to be in the bullpen for the National League.
Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs
Travis Wood has been very good for the Chicago Cubs. His 2.85 ERA shows that he has pitched much better than his 5-6 record indicates. That is what happens when you pitch for a rebuilding club. Wood has gotten little run support and the Cubs' bullpen has blown a handful of games for him as well. He is not much of a strikeout pitcher, but his good control and movement have been key to his success this season. Wood has pitched well enough to deserve an All-Star game appearance, not to mention that somebody on the Cubs has to be invited.