The 2011 un-All-Star team

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MLB sent 66 players to Phoenix today. Here’s 58 who can head to Siberia instead. Presenting your un-All-Stars.

(I won’t be taking salaries or expectations into account. Playing time, however, will be a big factor. Basically, I’m looking for the guys who have done the most harm this year.)

Catcher
AL: Jeff Mathis, John Jaso
NL: Josh Thole, Rod Barajas

There haven’t been any truly horrible everyday catchers this year, if only because Mike Scioscia has split time between Mathis and Hank Conger pretty evenly. Barajas may have eight homers for the Dodgers, but it comes with a .261 OBP, plus he’s just 4-for-44 with RISP.

First Base
AL: Daric Barton, Derrek Lee
NL: Lyle Overbay, James Loney

Barton hit .212 with no homers in 236 at-bats before the A’s were finally forced to send him down at the end of last month. Loney has been hot lately and has his average all of the way up to .271, but he’s driven in a total of 28 runs in 295 at-bats despite hitting fifth and sixth all year.

Second Base
AL: Aaron Hill, Ryan Raburn
NL: Dan Uggla, Bill Hall, Jose Lopez

At least Hill can still pick it at second base, unlike the rest of the dreck here. However, he’s hit .239/.281/.332 with just three homers in 259 at-bats. Uggla has had 135 at-bats with runners on base this season, and he’s driven in just 17 Braves besides himself (he has 12 homers and 29 RBI).

Third Base
AL: Chone Figgins, Brandon Inge
NL: Casey McGehee, Chris Johnson

If these two teams actually were to get together for an un-All-Star Game, I think there should be a reentry rule so that Figgins can start, get pulled and then later return for round two.

Shortstop
AL: Reid Brignac, Cliff Pennington, Matt Tolbert
NL: Miguel Tejada, Yuniesky Betancourt

It’s a pretty good year for AL shortstops that Pennington is the second worse. Still, he’s been a disappointment both offensively and defensively after a 2010 season in which he was arguably the AL’s best shortstop (in a much weaker class).

I had to throw Tolbert in here. He’s mediocre defensively, he doesn’t hit and he doesn’t steal bases, yet he may well get 250 at-bats for the Twins.

Outfield
AL: Juan Pierre, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Rajai Davis, Magglio Ordonez
NL: Chris Coghlan, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, Carlos Lee, Nate McLouth

Pierre has gotten hot at the plate and improved to .262/.320/.311 for the season, but he has the worst defensive numbers of any AL outfielder. Davis has been another big disappointment with the glove, and he’s getting on base just 25 percent of the time for the Jays.

Give National League teams credit: there haven’t been any truly atrocious outfielders playing regularly in the circuit this year. Maybe Ibanez qualifies if one puts total faith in his terrible defensive numbers, but he’s the only one. Even Coghlan, who was struggling to master center field after moving over from left, was only a liability against southpaws before getting sent down.

Designated Hitter
AL: Adam Dunn

Well, that was a no-brainer. 1-for-53 against left-handers.

Starting Pitchers
AL: Fausto Carmona, Kyle Drabek, Kyle Davies, John Lackey, Luke Hochevar
NL: J.A. Happ, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey, Travis Wood, Brett Myers, Chris Volstad

The lone thing stopping Davies from becoming the AL’s ace is some missed time with a sore shoulder.  He’s joined here by his teammate Hochevar. Another pair of Royals starters, Sean O’Sullivan and Jeff Francis, didn’t miss the cut by much.

Two Astros and two Reds here. Like the Royals, I just had to go with a six-man rotation for the NL squad. I couldn’t let that talent go to waste.

Relievers
AL: Mike Gonzalez, Frank Francisco, Ryan Perry, Joe Nathan, Bobby Jenks, Andy Sonnanstine, Daniel Schlereth
NL: Ryan Franklin, Brandon Lyon, John Grabow, Danys Baez, Aaron Heilman, Fernando Abad

It looks like Nathan is turning the corner now, but since he was at 7.63 before going on the DL, he has a lot of work to do to make his ERA respectable again.

Franklin’s ERA stood at 8.46 before he was cut by the Cardinals. Still, that pales in comparison to Lyon’s 11.48 mark. He’s done for the season after shoulder surgery.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.