The Sports Bros.
Undeserving Jeter & Posada prove that All-Star Game voting is broken: How Seligmust fix it
Major League Baseball's All-Star Game voting has taken another step toward illegitimacy. Growing up, I remembered watching Barry Larkin play in All-Star Game after All-Star Game despite not being the best shortstop in the National League.
It was alright, though, because that's who the fans wanted to see, the one they voted for, and they put him on the field.
But now that the All-Star Game actually means something, the league shouldn't stand for this any longer. (The winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.) It's no longer a day to vote to see your favorite players regardless of how they play. It's a day that holds a heavy implication, and it's in the fans' hands to vote — and they're not voting for the best.
The All-Star Game voting process is simple. Fans vote essentially throughout the entire first half of the season, and the top vote getter at each position (three in the outfield) start for their respective league at the All-Star Game. When there wasn't home-field advantage on the line, it wasn't a big deal. The inherent problem now is that fans vote on name and not on skill.
When they made the change to home-field advantage, the actual players and coaches began to realize this problem. MLB realized it as well, and adjusted the process by expanding the roster size and allowing manager's choices so that managers in the game can let the starters start, but sub earlier to get the real All-Stars on the field.
As National League fans, we should be thrilled that Derek Jeter is going to start at shortstop and not Asdrubal Cabrera. As a fan of the game, though, this is just a crime.
Another good example is Albert Pujols. He's obviously talented, but unlike past years, he's no longer the best first basemen in the National League. That honor goes to Joey Votto. Prince Fielder is also having a better year than Pujols, but yet they both trail in votes to the name "Pujols."
A lot of this has to do with the stadium they play their home games in. The Yankees position players are leading in votes at every infield position, catcher, and outfield. And their DH — who happens to be Jorge Posada, hitting a stellar .217 going into Sunday's games — is third in voting! The other two Yankee outfielders not named Curtis Granderson (who is very deserving of his votes) are also in the top 15 in voting.
The Yankees have the largest capacity stadium and sell the most tickets — you do the math. At Houston Astros games, they try to encourage unlimited voting in the stadium by giving out prizes. It's actually amazing that Sam Fuld of the Rays is in the top 15 at all. The Rays have the worst attendance in the AL.
Because of this, voting has been opened to online users — with one caveat: the amount you can vote is capped. Either way, none of the problems will be solved overnight, but the commissioner needs to take a serious look at how the voting process is done. Try something. Anything, really.
Let only two infielders and two outfielders get voted in using the fan votes. They already don't let fans vote on the pitchers, so why not expand this a little? The other hope is that players like Derek Jeter — who are obviously undeserving — bow out with an injury opening the door for more deserving players.
Let's highlight three instances from each league where the current voting results are flawed:
- Dan Uggla is fourth in votes at second base despite batting .176 with an OPS (on base + slugging percentage) of .541. Neil Walker of the Pirates is leading all second baseman in the NL with 40 RBIs and has a .255 batting average and .739 OPS. Walker is not in the top five.
- Jay Bruce is a leading candidate for NL MVP. He's third in the NL in home runs with 17 and fourth in RBI with 48 and has a very sporty average at .293. Bruce is also 12th in NL in outfielder votes.
- The NL outfield is stacked, but for Hunter Pence to not even be in the top 15 is criminal. His 46 RBIs rank in the top 10 of the NL and he is batting a robust .318. He'll be the Astros lone all-star, but it's absurd that one of the top run producers with a good average isn't even in the top 15.
- We'll start at shortstop where Derek Jeter is leading in voting. Jeter is batting .256 with an OPS of .655. He has two home runs and 18 RBIs. Compare: Asdrubal Cabrera is batting .300 with a .876 OPS, 12 home runs and 42 RBIs. (At least he's second in votes.) Worst of all at short, Jhonny Peralta is batting .313 an OPS of .876, eight home runs and 32 RBIs — and he's not even in the top five.
- Joe Mauer is second in votes amongst catchers despite having only 34 ABs this season and being on the 60-day DL. Fans just can't be trusted. My money's on the bet that most voters didn't even know he was on the DL this year.
- Matt Joyce of the Tampa Bay Rays is hitting .330 with a staggering OPS of .987. He has 10 home runs and 34 RBIs — and has committed zero errors and has four net stolen bases. Those are very impressive numbers. Yet, he has no place in the top 15 in AL outfield voting. And we can't say it's his team. His teammate Sam Fuld is 13th — just ahead of J.D. Drew who's hitting a magnificent .229 with four home runs. Let's not forget Nick Swisher, seventh in the AL outfielder voting, who's batting .216 with only five home runs. It's a joke.
Don't listen to us; check out the votes for yourselves. You can love your player. You can love seeing them at the All-Star Game. But now that there's money on the line, MLB needs to come up with a solution that doesn't have a non-everyday player barely hitting over .200 in the top five of anything.