View Full Version : S.I writer takes baseball to task for McCutchen All star omission.

07-04-2011, 09:47 PM

First, I think if I were listing my 10 essential players for this year’s All-Star Game — and these are just the players who I think would make the game fun — I might choose these:

1. Jose Bautista
2. Jose Reyes
3. Andrew McCutchen
4. Justin Verlander
5. Roy Halladay
6. Matt Kemp
7. Adrian Gonzalez
8. Jared Weaver
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Craig Kimbrel

Obviously, if you asked me in 10 minutes, my list would be somewhat different. But I would choose Bautista because his at-bats are hold-your-breath moments. Reyes is the most exciting player in the game. Verlander is an event now — like Pedro was in his prime or Dwight Gooden in ’85 — and Halladay is the best pitcher going and thrilling to watch in a very different way. Kemp is awesome and soon might find his paycheck bouncing, so I’d like to get him to the All-Star Game. Gonzalez was one of the five best players in the game for a couple of years and nobody noticed, because he played his home games in a ballpark roughly the size and dimensions of Alcatraz. Jared Weaver is having a stunningly good year again, and nobody is noticing again. And, while I have often ranted about the use of closers in the regular season, the All-Star Game seems to me the place where they are most vivid. I want to see The Great Rivera facing the best hitters in the National League to close out the game in the ninth (though, of course, that’s not how it works, since the best players have long been benched). And Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel is my favorite young closer at the moment because he’s a wonderful freak show, a high-octane, strike-em-out, walk-em, never-allow-a-homer thrill ride.*

*I realize, though, that some are not as enthralled by the shaky save.

In any version of my list, Andrew McCutchen would be in the Top 5. First off, he might be having the best season in the National League. If you combine Fangraphs WAR and Baseball Reference WAR, the Top 5 looks like this:

1. Andrew McCutchen, 9.8
2. Jose Reyes, 9.5
(tie) Matt Kemp, 9.5
4. Ryan Braun, 8.3
5. Shane Victorino, 7.7

Obviously, WAR is not everything. But McCutchen is in the NL’s Top 10 in: On-base percentage, walks, doubles, extra-base hits and stolen bases. His defensive numbers are fabulous. As an all-around player, at the moment he’s about as good as it gets. The midseason award concept is goofy (though Michael and I do our midseason awards in the Poscast this week), but McCutchen is about as worthy as anybody in the league for MVP, I think.

Thing is: As a STORY he’s even better. McCutchen was one of the best young players in baseball before the year began, though I suspect few across the country knew it because he plays in Pittsburgh. Now, though, the Pirates are shocking everybody by actually winning games. They are a couple of games over .500, and as you know the Pirates have not finished above .500 since Charles and Diana separated. They are in actual contention in the National League Central. Maybe it’s a fluke. Maybe it won’t last. But maybe it will, and this is the very height of baseball happiness, a great and long-suffering baseball town is finally in it, led by a brilliantly gifted 24-year-old center fielder who can do everything. If the All-Star Game doesn’t celebrate that, well, why even HAVE the All-Star Game?

But McCutchen is not in the game. The fans didn’t vote for him — OK, I get that, and you could argue that Matt Kemp is every bit as deserving as a center fielder.

But then the players voted and … huh? Excuse me? They voted for Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday and Hunter Pence.

Baseball Reference has Jay Bruce with an 0.2 WAR (Fangraphs is kinder and gives him a 1.4 WAR). This means that they calculate he is roughly two-tenths of a win better than a replacement-level player. They rank him so low because they estimate that he has been a dreadful right fielder in 2011 (after being an excellent fielder in 2010). I don’t know if that’s right. But anyway: Look, Bruce is a fine player. McCutchen is better, though. He’s been better over the last two seasons. And he’s a lot better this year. McCutchen’s on-base percentage is 60 points higher, he has a higher slugging percentage even though Bruce plays half his games in the Great American Bandbox, he’s much faster, he plays a most important defensive position and he plays it better. I tweeted that with the players choosing Bruce over McCutchen might give us a hint about the quality of the next generation’s color commentators. Michael might want to keep the Fire Joe Morgan template nearby.

07-04-2011, 09:53 PM
If you ask anyone that knows anything about baseball they will tell you that Cutch is the best Centerfielder this season and was robbed of being an ALL-Star. It's all over the MLBN... It's pure crap...

07-04-2011, 10:06 PM
I especially couldn't believe it when they didn't even include him in the vote in player.

07-04-2011, 10:06 PM
Man, that is pure robbery!! :mad2:

07-04-2011, 10:06 PM
Sigh...that is sad.

07-04-2011, 11:47 PM
What a disgrace.

07-05-2011, 07:27 AM
It's a travesty that he's not in the game, but Derek Jeter got voted in as a starter despite terrible numbers and having been on the DL for the past month. It's even more of a travesty that he wasn't included in the Final Vote, which would have been a chance for Bruce Bochy and the players to save some face. If this doesn't show how much of a joke the All-Star Game is, I don't know what else will.

07-05-2011, 10:53 PM
He should be on the team. But MLB has this stupid ass rule that every team needs to have a representative. Not every team has a player who is deserving of an spot on the All Star team.

If the game is going to decide home field advantage for the World Series, then it should be the best players.

07-06-2011, 09:51 AM
He should be on the team. But MLB has this stupid ass rule that every team needs to have a representative. Not every team has a player who is deserving of an spot on the All Star team.

If the game is going to decide home field advantage for the World Series, then it should be the best players.

Tell that to the asshat fans who vote in guys like Jeter every year based on nothing but popularity.

07-09-2011, 03:58 AM

Snubbed again! :doh:

07-09-2011, 08:44 PM

Yay, he's finally in!!!:tt03: