Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reform All-Star Voting

This is clearly the best year for the Washington Nationals since 2005.  I don't think anyone would debate that.  It's not even close.  Pudge Rodriguez is having a great year for a 38 year old catcher who was supposed to be "past his prime."  Adam Dunn has come on hot in the 2nd quarter of the season.  He's hitting .289 with an outstanding .383 OBP, 14 home runs, and 35 RBI.  But none of these guys stack up to the year that Ryan Zimmerman is having.

Zimmerman, coming off his first All-Star Game appearance in 2009, won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger for NL 3rd basemen in 2009 as well.  This year is no different.  Zimm is hitting .306, with an OBP of .400, and an OPS of .977.  For those of you who are keeping track, his average is 3rd, and his on base and OPS percentages are best among NL 3rd basemen.  But where is Zimmerman ranked in All-Star voting?  Nowhere to be seen.  He doesn't rank in the top 5 at all.  This is the travesty of small-market teams.

In the outfield, Josh Willingham isn't in the top 15 for NL outfielders.  Meanwhile, he has the best on base percentage among every outfielder in baseball.  Let me say that again.  Washington Nationals left fielder is #1 in the NL in OBP, with an outrageously high .417 approaching the All-Star break.  He's also #4 in OPS.  He's nowhere to be found in All-Star balloting.  I'm not arguing that he should make the team as a starter, but I'd hope he'd at least register in balloting at all.

Adam Dunn's talent is incredible.  Unfortunately, the 1st base talent in the NL is nothing short of absurd.  He is cursed to be in a league with players like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Troy Glaus in a resurgent year, and even Aubrey Huff playing in the bandbox that is AT&T Park.  He never had a shot.

The other real outrage, besides Zimmerman's struggles to get votes at 3rd base, is the shortstop race.  This is not the place where I argue that rookie Ian Desmond makes the All-Star Game.  No way.  He may eventually be that good, but not yet.  Not close.  He is DEAD last among fielding percentage among NL shortstops, with 15 (ouch) errors in 2010.

No, the real outrage is Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins is 2nd among all shortstops in the NL in voting, with almost a million votes.  He must be playing every day and putting up just sick numbers, right?  Actually... no... not so much. 

Jimmy Rollins has played 12 games this season.  Not a typo.  He's played in 12 games.  He didn't play one game from April 12 through May 17th, and then hasn't played a game since May 21st.  Jimmy Rollins is an outrageously talented player.  No doubt about it.  He's won the Gold Glove at shortstop 3 years running, and was the NL MVP in 2007.  Any team would be lucky to have him.

But give me a break here.  Jimmy Rollins has had 41 at-bats this year, compared to Troy Tulowitzki's 225 ABs and Hanley Ramirez's 235 ABs.  (As an aside, Ramirez is 1st in voting, Tulowitzki is 3rd.  These two should be reversed.  All of Tulo's numbers are better than Hanley, average, OBP, slugging, and OPS, and Hanley is a clubhouse cancer.)

It's time for Selig and the MLBPA to get together and fix this voting system.  Big market teams are getting a disproportionate amount of the vote, and it's hurting the real talent like Zimmerman and Tulowitzki.  Just because Phillies fans are more active in voting, doesn't mean they have the best players.  I mean Chase Utley, sure.  But Placido Polanco as the best 3rd basemen in the NL?  Really?  He's having a good year, but he's not in the top 5 in runs scored, or RBI, or home runs.  He's barely in the top 10.  It's time to reform the system, right now.


  1. As long as there is voting there will always be large market dominance. The problem is that I have yet to see any real advertising and press for the Nats all-stars outside of the Zuckablog and now Kilgore.

    Its pathetic that I can go up to an usher at Nats Park asking them for an ASG ballot, and they have no idea what I'm talking about.

  2. AT&T is one of the best Pitcher's Parks in MLB. It may be close down the line in RF but be assured that it plays large elsewhere including the RF Power Alley. Only triples and walks are above league average. I don't think Huff is exploiting the triples aspect either.