|Others More Deserving of Final Vote||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on July 09, 2012
This year, the controversy isn’t huge, but each league had a more deserving player than the final vote winner. David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals and Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers were awarded the final two spots on the rosters.
Photo by Mike LaChance, used under creative commons license.
Both players are having terrific seasons. Freese is hitting .285 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs, while Darvish’s career has begun with a 10-5 clip, a 3.59 ERA and 117 strikeouts, which places him third in the AL.
Certainly, these are numbers worthy of an All-Star spot. In fact, these players present a case for having been selected in the first place rather than being put on the final five-man ballot.
But they were not originally selected, and thus they were subject to the fan vote, which included a talented group of All-Star hopefuls. In the NL, rookie sensation Bryce Harper was expected to walk away with the final vote. His numbers are solid for a rookie, but he finished second to Freese.
However, the most-deserving final vote candidate in the NL was Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn, who was eventually added as an injury replacement. Bourn has been the spark plug atop the Braves batting order all season.
He’s hitting .310 and has 30 extra-base hits, including six triples and seven home runs, which is already a career high. He’s also stolen 23 bases.
No one will argue the fact that Freese is one of the most clutch players in the NL, which was one of the major reasons the fans chose him for the final spot. Since the game counts for home-field advantage, having guys that can step up in a big spot is key for victory.
But the NL has many players who are clutch. Bourn would’ve provided necessary speed to maybe steal a base late in the game to set up a rally.
In the AL, he may not be a big name just yet, but Ernesto Frieri of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has been dominant, but surprisingly he finished fifth in the voting.
The Angels acquired Frieri via trade with the San Diego Padres on May 3, and since that time he hasn’t allowed a run and has only given up seven hits in 24 1/3 innings. He’s also racked up 10 saves.
While it may be a small sample size, he’s certainly opening eyes around the league. With Mariano Rivera on the shelf, the AL will look for either Joe Nathan or Chris Perez to be the ninth-inning stopper. Frieri may get his chance someday, but it won’t be in this year’s All-Star Game.
Once again, Darvish is having a great rookie season. But obviously, his worldwide acclaim, especially in Japan, helped in gaining the necessary votes to earn the final spot.
So while Freese and Darvish will be heading to Kansas City, it could have just as easily been Bourn and Frieri. Either way, the game should be entertaining, and if either Freese or Darvish contribute to his league’s victory, no one will question the final vote.