Baseball BeatJuly 06, 2003
It's That Time of the Year Again
By Rich Lederer

The All-Star teams were announced earlier today. As usual, there are some good and bad choices in both the American and National Leagues. I have listed Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT picks next to the actual selections below along with my comments.

A.L.	Posada	Posada	Counting stats put Posada on top
N.L.	Lopez	Lopez	Career year deserves starting nod
A.L.	Delgado	Delgado	No brainer; MVP season
N.L.	Helton	Pujols	Helton's road stats tell real story
A.L.	Soriano	Boone	Tough choice but Boone more deserving
N.L.	Giles	Vidro	Vidro better across the board
A.L.	ARod	ARod	Flip a coin between ARod or Nomar
N.L.	Renteria	Renteria	Nothing to argue with here
A.L.	Glaus	Koskie	Hard to separate Koskie and Blalock
N.L.	Rolen	Lowell	Lowell's #s slightly better
A.L.	Suzuki	Mora	Mora 2nd best rate stats in the league
A.L.	Matsui	Bradley	Not the Japanese All-Star game
A.L.	Ramirez	Ramirez	Typical Manny year thus far
N.L.	Bonds	Bonds	All-time great nearly as great as ever
N.L.	Pujols	Edmonds	Who is going to play CF?
N.L.	Sheff	Sheff	MVP candidate
A.L.	Martinez	Thomas	Frank puttin' The Big Hurt on again

I took the liberty of voting as if I were the manager and not constrained by the positions listed on the ballot. As such, I made Albert Pujols the first baseman on the N.L. squad. Todd Helton's stats look good upon first glance but are artificially inflated by Coors Field. He is hitting .279/.382/.422 on the road this year, hardly of All-Star caliber--especially for a first sacker. Besides, by sliding Pujols over to 1B, it allows the N.L. team to start Barry Bonds in left, Jim Edmonds in center, and Gary Sheffield in right. Pujols, Bonds, Edmonds, and Sheffield are all having MVP-type seasons, and it would be unfair to leave one of them out of the starting lineup.

Worst Choice? Hideki Matsui in a landslide. Godzilla may be popular, but he doesn't even belong on the team as a reserve--much less as a starter.

Most Glaring Omission From the Starting Lineup? Jose Vidro, who is one of the most underrated players in the game among casual fans. Vidro plays in near obscurity in Montreal but is once again putting up All-Star numbers (.327/.416/.510).

Lock of the Year? Dontrelle Willis will replace Shawn Chacon, who is currently on the disabled list and unlikely to be ready to pitch next week. Brandon Webb's stats are similar, but he will have to buy a ticket to go to the game.

Biggest P.R. Blunder? Leaving Roger Clemens off the team. If Cal Ripken and Michael Jordan can start in their final season All-Star games, then certainly The Rocket should be given the same opportunity. Not only would it be the right thing to do, but Clemens is arguably deserving purely based on his stats this year. To wit, Clemens ranks 1st in the A.L. in Ks (122), 6th in WHIP (1.16), and 8th in BAA (.232). Maybe Clemens would have had a better chance to make the team if he were a reliever given the fact that six were chosen, including the legendary Lance Carter and his 4.17 ERA.

See you next weekend.