Major League Baseball unveiled the 2011 All-Star ballot on Tuesday for the July 12 game in Phoenix.
And, fear not, Sam Fuld did make the cut, as the league chose to list Johnny Damon at DH and Ben Zobrist at second base for the Rays.
So, head over and cast your vote. Or, better yet, unless you happen to be reading this from a ballpark, wait a couple of months since the season is still just four weeks old at the moment.
In the meantime, here’s my ballot, just for the fun of it.
C Joe Mauer
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
OF Jose Bautista
OF Josh Hamilton
OF Carl Crawford (Or Shin-Soo Choo or Ichiro)
DH Adam Dunn
C Buster Posey
1B Albert Pujols (Joey Votto can DH)
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Chipper Jones (One last start for a future HOF)
SS Troy Tulowitzki
OF Ryan Braun
OF Matt Holliday
OF Matt Kemp
Obviously, there are a couple of slow starters there, but that’s OK. One thing I don’t like: while I agree with the idea that the DH should be used in every All-Star Game, I’d rather it didn’t get a spot on the ballot. Adrian Gonzalez, Evan Longoria and Mark Teixeira are all likely to more deserving of that start than Dunn or David Ortiz. It puts the AL at a disadvantage that the NL can just slide Votto or Prince Fielder in there.
One other note: for the second year in a row, Detroit’s Brennan Boesch may very well be the most deserving player not on the ballot (though Jed Lowrie is right there, too). Last year, he wasn’t called up until April 23, so there was no helping that. This year, though, he was bypassed despite a .348 average in 69 at-bats. He ranks 11th in the AL in OPS.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander got off to a bumpy start, finishing his sixth start of the season with a 6.49 ERA. His velocity wasn’t quite where it used to be and the 33-year-old seemed to be on the decline. Some had already lost faith after a subpar 2014, so his slow start to 2016 wasn’t converting anyone.
Since throwing seven shutout innings against the Rangers on May 8, however, Verlander has been one of the best starters in baseball. Over his last 14 starts, Verlander has a 2.76 ERA with a 106/24 K/BB ratio in 97 2/3 innings. He’s tacked on nearly 2 MPH to his average fastball velocity compared to April, going from below 93 MPH to nearly 95 MPH. Verlander’s overall strikeout rate of 26 percent is close to four percent higher than his career average and is reminiscent of his rates during his prime five years ago.
Verlander will look to keep it going in Monday night’s start at Fenway Park. He’ll take on Drew Pomeranz, recently acquired from the Padres by the Red Sox, in a 7:10 PM EDT start.
The rest of Monday’s action…
Colorado Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT
San Diego Padres (Colin Rea) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez), 7:07 PM EDT
Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson) @ Miami Marlins (Jarred Cosart), 7:10 PM EDT
St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @ New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard), 7:10 PM EDT
Arizona Diamondbacks (Braden Shipley) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Chase Anderson), 7:20 PM EDT
Oakland Athletics (Daniel Mengden) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT
Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta) @ Chicago White Sox (Miguel Gonzalez), 8:10 PM EDT
New York Yankees (Michael Pineda) @ Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel), 8:10 PM EDT
Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 8:15 PM EDT
Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani) @ San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy), 10:15 PM EDT
In an effort to make an upgrade behind the plate, the Mets reportedly offered backstop Travis d'Arnaud to the Brewers in exchange for All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, according to a report from Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. The Brewers turned down a straight one-for-one deal. Bob Klapisch of The Record reports that a Lucroy trade involving the Mets is “not happening.”
Lucroy, 30, can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club pays him a $250,000 buyout instead of picking up his $5.25 million club option. While it’s believed that the Brewers will trade him before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, the club could pick up his 2017 option if no offer is enticing enough.
In 359 plate appearances this season, Lucroy has hit .301/.362/.491 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI. Going by the Sabermetric statistic weighted on-base average (wOBA), Wilson Ramos (.393) is the only catcher (min. 200 PA) with a better mark than Lucroy’s .361. Buster Posey is next at .350.
d’Arnaud, 27, has had a tough season. He missed nearly two months between April 26 and June 20 with a strained rotator cuff. Across 34 games this year, he has a paltry .246/.302/.339 triple-slash line with two home runs and 10 RBI in 129 plate appearances. d’Arnaud will become eligible for arbitration for the first of three years after this season.