Before another tough loss for the Red Sox on Tuesday night that dropped the Red Sox to 3rd place in the AL East, the 2016 All-Star rosters were announced. The Red Sox headlined the American League squad with 6 selections and the potential for a 7th (Dustin Pedroia is one of 5 players in the Final Vote). This is exciting news for the players and as a Red Sox fan, it will be enjoyable to watch them participate in all-star festivities, but do the Red Sox really deserve 6 or 7 all-stars?
The 3 of the 6 Red Sox players selected were no brainers: David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Steven Wright. Ortiz and Bogaerts are ranked 3rd and 5th respectively in all of baseball in batting average and it’s hard to argue they both aren’t the best player at their respective position in the AL, if not all of baseball (definitely for Ortiz with no DH in the NL). Wright has been stellar this season for the Red Sox. In 16 starts he has the 2nd best ERA in the AL (2.42) and has held opponents to a .217 batting average against. He will have a real shot at getting the nod to start for the AL on July 12th.
Four days of rest and chilling is good, but this All-Star Game, I’m going to try to enjoy it the most. -David Ortiz on being selected to the AL All-Star team
Outfielder Mookie Betts has had a very powerful year and should be rewarded with an all-star nod. He is hitting .298 with 19 HRs and 57 RBIs from the leadoff spot in the lineup, a very difficult accomplishment. His defense has been excellent, racking up 7 outfield assists and just 1 error on the season (.994 fielding percentage). It’s easy to forget he was a converted 2nd basemen just a few short years ago.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. caught everyone’s attention when he got off to a hot start, but in the last month, he is hitting .230 with more Ks than hits. He does have 6 HRs, but certainly hasn’t been an offensive all-star as of late. To be fair, he still has a .293 average and 14 HRs on the season as a whole and has been playing a very strong center field, so I can maybe understand his spot on the roster. I could argue however that UConn product and Houston Astros George Springer deserved that spot as much as Jackie. Springer still has a shot to make the roster in the Final Vote.
Closer Craig Kimbrel was a manager’s selection by Ned Yost and then almost immediately had the worst outing of his career. He allowed 4 runs on 3 hits and a walk in 0.0 innings (no out recorded). Before last night, Kimbrel had a 2.53 ERA and 17 saves in 18 opportunities, so the selection was mostly warranted. Warning for Yost: Don’t use him in a non-save situation at the all-star game or the AL is in trouble.
Overall it’s nice to have 6 (or 7) all-star selections, but I would much rather have 1 representative and be playing good baseball in games that count than 7 and slipping back in the AL East standings.