The Final Vote. The last chance to select a deserving player to the 2012 All-Star Game. 5 players selected from each league, and the fans vote for who is most deserving (but really, who’s most popular and/or who plays in the larger market). Voting can be done online, or via text message (which is fantastic if you have unlimited texting). Locally, Jason Hammel is in the running for one of these spots, but likely blew his chances with a poor outing on Tuesday. About 45 minutes down 95, Rookie Wunderkind Bryce Harper is up for one of these spots on the NL roster.
Allow me to break down who I’m voting for in each league. I’ll begin with the NL, as the majority of readers here won’t be fans of my AL choice. (Spoiler Alert: It’s not Jason Hammel.)
National League: Aaron Hill (Arizona Diamondbacks)
My choice was made a bit easier when Chipper Jones was promoted to the All-Star team after Matt Kemp’s injury will force him to be a spectator. Aaron,. as of this posting, is last in NL voting, but I feel is getting overlooked. He’s become the only player since 1931 to hit for the cycle twice in the same season. He executed this feet over a 2 week span. In the month of June, Hill batted .370, with 13 multi-hit games, and a .700 slugging percentage. Not bad for a #2 hitter. His diamondbacks finished the month 16-10, helping pull his club over a .500 record at months end (although, they have dropped 4 straight). He might not be the sexy pick Bryce Harper is (he’ll have plenty of opportunities), or the eventual winner (David Freese became a star in last years Fall classic), but ultimately, has my support.
American League: Jake Peavy (Chicago White Sox)
Ok. Hear me out, Baltimore. No this isn’t a reaction to Hammel’s 12 Earned runs over his last 2 starts. This is simply a reaction to how well Peavy has performed this season. His 6-5 record doesn’t jump off the page as a must have on the All-Star roster, but, Wins and Losses does not a pitcher make. In 16 starts this season, Peavy has delivered a quality start (at least 6 innings, with no more than 3 earned runs) 13 times, with 3 complete games. His ERA 2.96, 101 K’s and 0.99 WHIP are among the league leaders. Peavy has been the victim of Run Support. In the 5 games he’s lost this season, the White Sox have managed to score a mere 2 runs (which is peculiar, as the Sox are the 4th highest scoring team in the AL). Peavy could easily (and should be) a 10 game winner. He, however, is overshadowed by his own teammate, Chris Sale, who has near identical stats, but has found runn support. An All-star selection for Peavy would solidify a great comeback story for a pitcher who has hit rock-average since his 2007 Cy-Young season. Yu Darvish, ill win this spot, as he has the entire far east clicking and texting for him.
Why not Jason Hammel?
This decision is not going to make me popular, so be it. I LOVE Jason Hammel. It’s so much more than a crush. Hear me out.
It’s not his stats. I can compare what he’s done, and how he, with the help of Wei-Yin Chen, have been the model of consistency to an Orioles starting rotation. What he’s done is the ultimate “I’ll Show them” after being packaged out of Colorado. I’m proud of what Hammel has done this season. Perhaps when he is ultimately left off the roster, it puts a chip back on his shoulder. Mentally, he can mow down batters in every MLB city, saying to himself “This is for not voting me in”. Hammel’s value is that he’s underrated. An All-star selection messes with that mantra a bit. Additionally, he’s only 29. He’s not exactly Chipper Jones, jockeying for one more day in the sun. If Hammel has truly evolved into the pitcher he’s shown he can be, this won’t be the only time he’s in the conversation for the All-Star game. Finally, the Birds are well represented in Kansas City. By Hammel not being selected, he’ll be good and ready to take the bump the first game after the break.
And honestly, If by some unlikely twist of fate, Hammel makes the cut, I’ll be the happiest man in all of Birdland.
Please send all your hate in the comments below.
@JamesTFinn on Twitter.