The flaws with the MLB All-Star game have been well documented over the years. The seemingly unanswerable question of “why does an exhibition game dictate home field advantage in the World Series?” always pops up without fail. In the same breath, questioning the “fan vote” is often a habitual sign of the season. But perhaps the most popular conversation amongst fans and media is that of the All Star Game snubs.
This year is no different.
Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, and Lance Lynn missed out on the mid summer classic after his National League cohorts failed to vote the pitchers aboard. On the American League side, offense was more wrongfully voted upon as players like Xander Bogaerts and Brian Dozier were left off the Ned Yoast lead American League squad.
Accuracy of the fan vote aside, you have to hand it to the Royals fans after they flooded the balloting and subsequently voted three players in as starters. Of their six total representatives, Kansas City sent Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar to Cinci. In this regard, it’s great to see that baseball is continuing to thrive in Kansas City after a long dry spell. However, from a realistic side — the side that doesn’t blindly vote for players solely because they’re on your favorite team — Xander Bogaerts should be occupying shortstop for the American League on July 14th, not Alcides Escobar.
Without exaggeration, Bogaerts has been one of the American League’s best — if not the best — short stops. He’s currently hitting at a .304/.341/.418 pace over 81 games. For comparison, Escobar’s slash is respectable, but vastly unimpressive, .282/.323/.367. In fact, the only other short stop in the American League that can rival Xander’s consistency at the dish is old friend Jose Iglesias. For Detroit, the slick fielding 25-year old is slashing .319/.370/.378 in 72 games. But where these current and former Red Sox infielders differ is in offensive production. The 22-year old Bogaerts has collected 40 RBI this season and 19 doubles, both marks lead all of his American League counter parts.
Whether it’s consistency or sheer output, Xander Bogaerts’ season thus far should not have come down to the Final Vote. But the way the MLB currently institutes All-Star voting forces fans to either vote their pants off, or not have your player(s) start the game. The Royals clearly cared about voting more than Sox fans, and as a result, Escobar will take his place between second and third a week from today. Until then, Red Sox fans need to vote early and often to get Bogaerts the recognition he should not of had to fight this hard for.
- The Red Sox farm system continues to churn out talent. Baseball America recently crowned an MLB-best 5 Red Sox in their mid-season top 50 prospects list. Names like Yoan Moncada, Manuel Margot, and Rafael Devers represent what promises to be the next wave of talent in Boston’s system. (Red Sox place MLB-best five prospects in Baseball America’s midseason top 50)
- With Mike Napoli continuing to struggle at the plate and Allen Craig still figuring things out in triple-A, Travis Shaw was quickly thrust into Boston’s first base mix. (Travis Shaw makes most of his chance in Boston)
- Like it or not, Hanley Ramirez has come to Boston exactly as advertised. While his attitude may rub some the wrong way, the 30-year old slugger has performed at a rate that still justifies his place on Boston’s roster. (Leave Hanley Ramirez alone)
- The Red Sox shortcomings this season have been plentiful, but one of their weaker area’s undoubtedly lies in the starting rotation. With a wide range of aces set to hit the free agent market this offseason, Boston could be poised to make a move to fortify their starting staff. (Red Sox could pursue “big money” starter in offseason)
- Tweet of the day: The Taz has spoken