5 Oakland Athletics Who Deserve to Play in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game
Oakland Athletics 5 Deserving All-Stars
The Oakland Athletics are not exactly a team filled with obvious All-Star candidates. The tight budget of the organization means that they cannot afford to give out lots of big contracts or pursue the top free agents. Instead, the team has compensated with tremendous depth.
Oakland has received significant contributions from 13 different positional players this year and boasts one of the deepest bullpens in the game. Simply put, the A's are not a superstar-driven team. The guy who many expected to be the superstar in 2013, Yoenis Cespedes, leads the team in home runs, but he's batting .222 and his OBP is just .285.
Oakland doesn't match up to their division rivals, the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in terms of star power, but the A's proved last season that they are more than capable of competing without it. This year is showing that what happened in Oakland last year is no fluke. The Athletics are not a team built with All-Star games in mind, but they do know how to win.
That's not to say that Oakland has no one worthy of All-Star consideration. Most of the names on this list are guys you would not have expected at the start of the year. Perhaps that's why no Oakland A is currently higher than fourth at his position in the American League All-Star voting. But make no mistake; these guys are all having great seasons and deserve to be in New York on All-Star weekend.
Here are the top 5 deserving All-Stars for the Oakland Athletics.
#5: Grant Balfour
Balfour is having his best season since his breakout 2008 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. His ERA is currently just 2.03, and he has yet to blow a save this season. His 18 saves are just six off from career high of 24, which he set last year.
#4: Coco Crisp
This is Coco's 11th big league season, and he has never made an All-Star team. But he is having the best year of his career at the plate at age 33.
Crisp currently has an OBP/SLG/OPS slash line of .367/.460/.827. If he finishes the year with those numbers, he will set new career highs in all three. While he no longer is stealing bases at the rate he did when he first arrived in Oakland, his newly discovered power is more than making up for it.
#3: Jed Lowrie
For many people, it was not Lowrie's talent that was being questioned but his ability to stay healthy. Lowrie has never played 100 games in a season due to a number of injury issues.
This season, however, Lowrie has managed to avoid the injury bug - at least so far. He has already played in 76 games in 2013 and has responded by hitting .306, a career high.
Lowrie is currently fourth amongst AL shortstops in voting but has less than half the number of votes as J.J. Hardy, the current leader.
#2: Bartolo Colon
What Colon is doing this season is nothing short of mind-boggling.
Now 40 years old and in his 16th big league season, Colon is putting up the best numbers of his career and is 11-2. His ERA is 2.79, the lowest mark of his career, and his FIP is 3.25, which suggests that Colon is not just getting lucky.
#1: Josh Donaldson
If you want a detailed explanation of why Josh Donaldson has been so successful this year, Gabe Isaacson wrote a great article about it a few weeks ago.
Donaldson leads or is tied for the team lead in batting average (.312), on base percentage (.380), and slugging percentage (.510). He is also a contender for a Gold Glove at third base, as he is very strong defensively.