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American League All-Star voting update: The A’s may finally get a fan-elected starter

Jun 23, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

Mind-blowing fact I did not know until I got the press release about the latest update in the All-Star voting: the Oakland A’s have not have a fan-elected starter in the All-Star Game since Jason Giambi was elected in 2000. Fourteen years! I never would’ve guessed that, but facts are facts.

That looks to be ending this year. Josh Donaldson has a pretty significant lead over Adrian Beltre at third base. Moreover, Yoenis Cespedes is breathing down Melky Cabrera‘s neck for the third outfield spot and Derek Norris is close behind the injured and inactive Matt Wieters behind the plate. So at least one of these guys will be elected, two should start and, if trends continue, three could be elected by fans.

Hey, they’re the best team in baseball. Why shouldn’t they be well-represented?

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  1. Eutaw's Finest - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I hate that I continually get angry reading these All Star voting leaders as if something can be done to fix the popularity contest. If Brian McCann and his .222 average make the team but Kurt Suzuki and his .321 average miss the cut? That’s a sad sad day for fans. Or at least those who understand what’s at stake with the All Star Game (and really shouldn’t be if MLB continues to make it a fan vote).

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Some of us think the best players should play in the All-Star game, not the players who have the best first-half performances. I don’t think anyone can reasonably believe that Kurt Suzuki is a better player than Brian McCann. (Also, Suzuki is rather bad at pitch framing, which lowers is overall value.)

      I’m not claiming you are wrong. If you want to vote for the player having a better first half, then Suzuki > McCann (but Norris > Suzuki, so I wouldn’t get agitated about it). However, there is room for reasonable opinions to differ on this one.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        True… but let me pose this viewpoint: Can’t a 1st half performance be more indicative of the player you get today versus “best player” based on a career? McCann and Suzuki are both 30. Some guys hit their stride at this point in their career, while others fall off. McCann seems to have fallen off a bit, at least with the bat. By month he’s hit .224, .239 and .194. If he had one cold month it’s easy to view this as an anomaly and justify his vote totals, but to me? It’s simply a Yankee player in a media friendly market who is getting a ton of fan votes just for playing in pinstripes.

        And yes, Norris is still the top (active) catcher in the AL.

      • dan1111 - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

        @Detroit, I agree, but if only the voters were actually doing that, instead of just voting for Yankees and Red Sox players every year.

      • Detroit Michael - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        Yes, if one wants to rant that fans vote for Yankees and Red Sox players more than that deserve, then I won’t disagree.

        Unless a batter is injured, three months of poor performance generally is not enough to radically change going forward estimates of a position player’s talent level unless the guy is not healthy. There are two sets of rest of the season projections for McCann and Suzuki on their pages at Fangraphs.com and generally see McCann as a slightly above average batter and good defensive catcher for the rest of 2014 and Suzuki as a slightly below average batter and poor defensive catcher for the rest of 2014. Suzuki actually is a shade older than McCann too, so it’s not as if you are arguing that Suzuki is a youngster enjoying a breakout somehow.

      • jwbiii - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Detroit Michael, Those rest of season projections are what the player has accomplished to date and the prorated preseason projection for the remainder of the season. They don’t account for individual improvements or declines beyond their underlying algorithms.

      • paperlions - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Feel free to look through the history of ASG voting and note how many had a great 2 months guys went to the ASG only to never return again because they just had a couple of great months that were not indicative of their talent level.

        I don’t really care about ASG voting, but the I’ve never understood the “but this guy has been great for 8 weeks” argument for ASG merit. It is supposed to be a game of stars, not a game to recognize hot starts.

      • Detroit Michael - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        jwbii,

        I disagree. For example, here’s an announcement a year ago about Steamer in-season projections. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/daily-updated-steamer-projections/. It clearly includes current year data when the algorithm recalculates rest of the season projections on a daily basis. The projections are the best estimate of players’ current talent level.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      I’m stuffing the ballot box with Matt Wieters votes as a form of protest.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 23, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      I find it absolutely hilarious that an Orioles fan is whining about the voting. What argument, based on 2014 performance to date, puts Davis, Machado, Weiters or Markakis anywhere near the top of the leaderboards at their respective positions? Even Adam Jones is only in position on the fWAR leaderboards because of an uncharacteristically positive UZR, something we certainly shouldn’t be taking at face value this quickly. Looks to me like Baltimore is stuffing the ballot boxes.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Jun 24, 2014 at 7:08 AM

        Now hold on there Junior- I never whined about it. I never claimed the O’s were getting shafted. I was simply saying it frustrates me that it’s a popularity contest. In my opinion? Cruz and Jones absolutely deserve to be All Stars, but Manny and Davis is simply fans voting for a name, and no they are not All Stars. As for Wieters, he’s injured and done for the year so it’s a moot point, but you cannot tell me that Wieters is not the best defensive catcher in the AL, and he had a very hot bat to start the year. Take that into consideration and add in the fact that catchers as a whole in the AL are lacking big time, and there’s some justification for Wieters IF he wasn’t done for the season with TJS (also voting started prior to the diagnosis/surgery so don’t forget that).

        But all in all, there was never a moment in my post where I claimed the O’s were getting the short end of the stick. The view was from a fan of the game, not pure homerism.

  2. psuorioles - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I like Bautista and think he is a very good player, but I’m shocked he has the most votes in the AL…

    • clydeserra - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      he promise to follow you on twitter for every vote

  3. ptfu - Jun 23, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Bud Selig’s Blue Ribbon Panel has finally accomplished something for the A’s.

    • clydeserra - Jun 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      One of the more satisfying thing about the A’s past 3 years is putting a lie to the A’s owners often repeated lines about not being able to be competitive without a new stadium and no one will come out to the games at the Coliseum.

      Attendance has been up the past 3 years, so much so, the vendors run out of food, and as for competitiveness, that has been pretty good too. Although, as Jonny Gomes pointed out this weekend, the 2012 team only spent 4 innings in first place.

  4. jsala02 - Jun 23, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Altuve is not just a nice player anymore, he is very good.

  5. Jason Lukehart - Jun 23, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    The Indians haven’t had anyone voted in since Juan Gonzalez in 2001 (how many of you even remember Juan with the Tribe???), ans while there’s a good case to be made that Michael Brantley deserves the third OF spot this year, it’s not going to happen.

  6. moogro - Jun 23, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    Is the all-star game still a “thing?”

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