Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 25, 2007
BASEBALL: 2007 All-Stars Part II
The rest of my All-Star ballot. Let's try, here, to vote in an outfielder at each position.
AL: Vladimir Guerrero (.353/.590/.439, 102 RBI). Sorry, fans of Magglio Ordonez (.334/.542/.398, 114 RBI), who might well be neck and neck with A-Rod for the MVP Award if the season ended today; Vlad is a superstar having his tenth straight great season. What would the All-Star Game be without him? Ordonez is a close runner-up.
NL: With the NL not exactly bursting with quality right fielders, I can't think of a more fitting honoree than Ken Griffey Jr. (.270/.533/.354, 79 RBI as a RF and CF the past year), third in the majors in home runs and having covered more than half the ground to his 600th homer before the end of June.
AL: Ichiro (.344/.449/.393, 47 RBI as a CF, .323/.423/.372, 62 RBI overall) has the star power and is hitting .364, Torii Hunter (.296 .337 .555, 108 RBI) still has the great glove and the power bat, and Curtis Granderson (.259/.466/.314, 67 RBI) is having a wonderful year, but let's face it: the dominant center fielder in the league, and a guy who is highly likely to win an MVP over the next few years, is Grady Sizemore (.283/.499/.385, 74 RBI). I give Sizemore the nod, if only narrowly over Ichiro.
NL: When originally voting, my son and I were debating the merits of Carlos Beltran (.271 .367 .523 , 103 RBI) and Andruw Jones (.217/.458/.339, 106 RBI), both of whom have run off the rails since then. If I'm insisting on a center fielder, I still take Beltran. Mike Cameron (.273/.485/.347, 89 RBI) continues to be an unsung star.
AL: Manny Ramirez (.324/.549/.425, 86 RBI) doesn't really have the numbers this year, and at 35 he might not catch up to the competition, but you have to give a guy with his resume the benefit of the doubt, and he's up to .300 this season. Carl Crawford (.301/.487/.352, 87 RBI) is probably a year away from surpassing Manny; the rest of the AL features precious few quality left fielders, Hideki Matsui being an obvious exception.
NL: By any objective measure, you put Barry Bonds (.286/.585/.464, 75 RBI) on the team, as a recognition of an all-time great who is still a devastating hitter. That said, I couldn't actually bring myself to vote for Bonds, so Matt Holliday (.333/.589/.394, 119 RBI), is probably the best alternative even when you account for the Coors Effect. Narrowly trailing Holliday are a bunch of fine sluggers - Carlos Lee (.306/.509/.355, 104 RBI), Adam Dunn (.254/.505/.359, 96 RBI), Alfonso Soriano (.294/.576/.364, 71 RBI), and Jason Bay (.276/.485/.366, 102 RBI).
AL: Johan Santana (19-8, 2.81 ERA) is the best pitcher in baseball, period. Danny Haren's been the best this season, but as I said, I don't just consider this the April-June All-Star Game.
NL I'd be inclined to tab Jake Peavy (16-8, 2.95 ERA), who is leading the NL in Wins and Strikeouts and a close third in ERA. If you look at the numbers you will see that his teammate Chris Young is also on a great run, though.