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Corey Patterson has gone on th DL with a torn ligament in his knee. He will miss the remainder of the season. So Patterson's name has been removed from contention in the 32nd Almost-Star Dude contest and puppet show. And a Pirate outfielder has been selected to replace him.
So Brian Giles finally gets his due, you say? Nope, the Buc outfielder is none other than Kenny Lofton. Lofton' OPS (.774) is 115th in the majors. He is an even worse choice than Molina, not to mention that he perpetuates the Dusty connection conspiracy theories about the selection process. I don't know how much say Baker had, but Lofton must have some revealing pictures of someone in the All-Star process since he has not one stat that would recommend him to represent the NL in the pre-World Series Bowl.
The NL now has only one player in the top 80 qualified batters in OPS. That's Geoff Jenkins who sits at #37. Lofton is 29th among outfielders in OPS (Giles is 5th, Jenkins 12th). Luis Castillo is 7th in OPS among second basemen. Cabrerra is 4th among shortstops. Santiago is fourth among catchers but only 7 catchers qualify.
Basically the NL's Final Guy features mostly average players. This is perhaps the biggest outrage since the silly "every team must be represented" rule has already been satisfied. So why not pick the five best players?
In a related note, Jurgen Maas rightly points out that Brendon Webb has bettered rookie fave Dontrelle Willis in the more important pitching stats:
Why is the omission of Willis such a big controversy? He's not even the best rookie pitcher out there. (Paging Mr. Webb.) Is flair worth that much?
Honestly, I think the snubbing of Nomo and Wood and Dotel in the NL (and Hudson, Mussina and Pedro in the AL) is much more outrageous. (Although I guess Wood's
going for Cachon--but still.)
Here is a table of young (25 and under) pitchers who do not qualify for the ERA title currently but like Willis are having impressive seasons and were left off the All-Star team:
|Player, Team||G||GS||IP||ERA||K/9 IP||K/BB||WHIP|
|B. Webb, Ari||13||12||84.0||2.04||6.86||2.78||1.01|
|D. Willis, Fla||11||11||71.2||2.13||8.54||3.24||1.16|
|T. Armas, Mon||5||5||31.0||2.61||6.68||2.88||1.06|
|R. Hernandez, KC||9||9||58.0||2.79||4.81||1.41||1.10|
|C. Vargas, Mon||14||13||83.0||2.82||4.77||1.76||1.18|
|J. Santana, Min||30||3||66.0||2.86||10.50||3.35||1.15|
|R. Oswalt, Hou||12||12||79.2||2.94||8.36||3.52||1.22|
Is Willis really that much better than all that many of these guys? Willis strikes out a bunch, but no more than the underused Santana. Besides his ERA and WHIP are higher than Webb's. He is a very interesting pitcher to watch and may be used to salvage that franchise's season, but is that reason enough to put him on the All-Star team?
I guess what this illustrates is that you can't tell all that much on a handful of starts by a good young pitcher. Certainly any of these guys is more qualified than Mike Williams, but the universal outrage over the Willis snubbing is a bit overplayed.
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