Your American League All-Star vote leaders

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2010 All-Star Game.JPGIt’s early yet, but if the All-Star voting ended today, the nine starting position players in the AL
would be
:

C: Joe Mauer
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Evan
Longoria
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford, Nelson Cruz
DH: Vladimir
Guerrero.

There have been worse voting results in history, but this one is far from perfect. Mauer, Longoria and Guerrero are obvious choices at their position thus far. Otherwise:

  • Teixeira is an awful choice — Justin Morneau is destroying baseballs this year.
  • Cano is probably the best choice at second, but Ty Wigginton is pretty close.
  • No one is having a fabulous season at short in the AL, but Jeter isn’t having the best either. I’d go with Elvis Andrus I suppose, or maybe Alex Gonzalez, depending on how you feel about contact vs. power vs. glove dynamics;
  • In the outfield the Nelson Cruz choice is a good one even with his limited playing time. I understand the Crawford and Suzuki picks, but [gulp] Vernon Wells and Alexis Rios are having great seasons so far, as are Shin-Soo Choo, Magglio Ordonez, and Nick Swisher.
  • DH is the right choice, but check out the vote getters directly behind Vlad: Matsui, Griffey, Pat Burrell and Big Papi.  Is this a reflection on the state of the DH in baseball, or a harsh comment on the state of fandom?  You be the judge.

And for the record, I’ll be updating this kind of thing throughout the early summer — NL vote leaders tomorrow — and when I do I’ll likely be critical of the vote totals. However, I realize that this is a fan’s vote and that the All-Star Game is a fan’s game.

It’s my personal preference that those who are playing best in the first half get honored, but I know that I don’t have a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to this subject. And ultimately? The All-Star Game has become something of a blah event anyway, so who cares?  More on that as the summer wears on as well.

Matthew Stafford audibles with “Kershaw! Kershaw!”

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Last night the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. During the game Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called an audible. The call itself referenced Stafford’s childhood friend and high school baseball teammate, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. From the Freep:

Matthew Stafford stepped to the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter and surveyed the Giants defense.

With five pass rushers across the front and three Giants cornerbacks showing a press-man look, Stafford looked at his two receivers to the left and invoked the name of his childhood friend, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

“Give me Kershaw here, Kershaw,” Stafford said, repeating his friend’s name two more times as he spun around at the line of scrimmage.

The audible did not result in a pick-4 to Aaron Altherr. It called for a run up the middle. And it worked nicely, gaining eight yards.

You may suggest the results of other starting pitcher-themed audibles in the comments. I’ll start: “Harvey! Harvey!” is where the QB fakes a handoff, drops back, looks deep and then his arm falls completely off. Damndest thing.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.