Beltran, not McCutchen?
Juan C. Rodriguez
Beltran is having a nice rebound season, batting .281-12-55 with a .863 on-base plus slugging percentage. McCutchen (.294-12-46) has been better, logging a .890 OPS in addition to 15 steals, 12 more than Beltran. No doubt NL manager Bruce Bochy can count on a professional at-bat from the switch-hitting Beltran late in the game.
McCutchen's speed on the bases is disruptive, plus he is among the game's best defensive center fielders. Beltran isn't a liability in right, but he can't get to balls the way he used to, the way McCutchen can.
Crow a head-scratcher
You might have a different name for it, but I call the guideline requiring every time to be represented in the All-Star Game the Jim Sundberg rule.
It's fitting then that it's a player from one of Sundberg's former teams, the Royals, who came the farthest to sneak onto the AL roster. Aaron Crow, a rookie setup man for a last-place team, has no business being in Phoenix. Nothing against the rule — I think every team should be represented — but outfielders Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur or Melky Cabrera would have been a better choice.
The biggest omission was White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who has had MVP-type numbers throughout the first half. He wasn't named Sunday because MLB allows two DHs to be elected, but the fact is he's far more deserving than David Ortiz and Michael Young.
It's tough to begrudge a scrappy player like Placido Polanco a place on the National League All-Star squad, but the fact a guy hitting in the .270s with four home runs is starting at third base in the Midseason Classic is a testament to over-expansion.
Though I never have argued that there aren't enough Yankees in the All-Star Game, how do you have one without the guy who's second in the league in home runs and RBIs?
First for the All-Star snubs, the most obvious of which was Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who leads the majors with 11 wins. Since he's scheduled to pitch Sunday, he wouldn't have been eligible to play anyway — but he deserved the honor of being selected.
Just as obvious a snub, though, was White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who ranks among the top five in the three triple-crown categories. He still might make the team in fan balloting for the final AL roster spot.
As for undeserving players, there's a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked since each team must be represented. But that's no excuse for the inclusion of the Braves' Chipper Jones. There are three others Braves on the NL team while Jones is batting an un-All-Star-like .256 with 7 homers and 44 RBIs.
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