MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 26: Mike Moustakas #8 and Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates a win against the Minnesota Twins on September 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Royals defeated the Twins 7-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Disclaimer: I normally don't give a damn about the All-Star Game.
The operative word is normally. That's because normally the game isn't in Kansas City. And normally the Royals aren't deserving of more than one All-Star selection. Hell, sometimes they don't even deserve the one.
Obviously, this year is different.
For the first time ever, I monitored Twitter and tuned into the All-Star selection show. I was hopeful Billy Butler would get picked. I thought Mike Moustakas had a great chance. And if everything fell into place, Alcides Escobar would make the final roster.
But one out of three? Bah.
On the surface it looks like the Royals got snubbed. The All-Star Game is not unlike the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Teams with losing records, who go on a run in their conference tournament and secure an automatic bid, knock a more deserving team off the bubble. It's the same kind of thing with the fan vote. A guy like Derek Jeter is a legacy pick. He's not the best shortstop in the league. Not by a long shot. Under normal circumstances, he shouldn't be named to the team. Yet since the fans continue to vote him in, it costs a more deserving player a spot.
So Escobar has the deck stacked against him.
Here are the top three shortstops ranked according to wOBA:
Cabrera is the best power hitting option and Andrus leads all shortstops in OBP. Defensively... do you even consider defense when selecting an All-Star? I hate to rank these guys, because I'll have a natural bias toward The SS Jesus. Andrus is a fine defender in his own right. These two seem very similar to me in both their strengths and weaknesses. Cabrera is the weaker of the three, but he's improving.
So if the AL was going to take three shortstops, I'd go with them in the order of their wOBA. But when Jeter wins the fan vote, that was never going to happen. Escobar gets pushed to fourth. Bummer.
On to third base. Here are the top three AL third basemen ranked by wOBA:
Moustakas is currently fourth, with a .344 wOBA.
Yeah, Moose is having a breakout season, but he's fighting an uphill battle at a strong position. His slugging percentage of .472 is third best among his peers (trailing Cabrera and Beltre) but his .331 OBP puts him fourth.
Beltre is having a fine year offensively and is always strong with the glove. I have no issue with his selection as the starter. And Cabrera is Cabrera... He may be a butcher with the leather, but the guy rakes. He was always on the team.
If you were going to chose a third third baseman, it would have made sense to pick Moose. Maybe you play Beltre for four or five innings, the bring in Cabrera for three and you'll need a defensive replacement to hold a late lead. That's perfect for Moose, and if his spot in the lineup comes around, he'll do fine with the lumber.
Except Ron Washington didn't choose three third basemen.
So the Royals will have to do with Billy Butler as their lone rep. (Let's not even acknowledge Jonathan Broxton in the "Final Vote." No way that's happening. Nor should it.) I'm bummed, but I can't work up any outrage. It would have been fun to have multiple Royals, but they got caught in a brutal numbers game. And as long as the Royals are a fourth place team in a horrible division, the numbers game will always work against them.