It’s amazing to think that a team fighting for first place in its division will send just one player to the All-Star Game.
Bartolo Colon will be the only representative for the Oakland A’s in next week’s mid-summer classic, but the team has a few players that were snubbed: third baseman Josh Donaldson and closer Grant Balfour.
First off, though, if the A’s were to have only one representative, Colon would be the guy. He’s not longer overpowering hitters like he once did, but he has been a crafty veteran all season to the tune of a 12-3 record with a league-leading 2.69 ERA.
But aside from Colon, Donaldson and Balfour each deserve the All-Star nod.
At third base in the American League, it’s a no-brainer that the fans voted in Miguel Cabrera. The superstar slugger is again competing for the Triple Crown, and he’s established himself as the best hitter in the game.
AL manager Jim Leyland chose Manny Machado as the reserve third baseman. Probably no one has a gripe with this, since Machado is leading the league in doubles (39) by a wide margin. But there could have been room for Donaldson.
Very quietly out in Oakland, Donaldson is batting .316 with 15 home runs, 58 RBIs and a .385 on-base percentage. He’s also played stellar defense, just like Machado.
Leyland was not shy about taking three of his own players, Prince Fielder, Jhonny Peralta and Torii Hunter, as reserves. The selections of Fielder and Peralta are warranted, so is Leyland’s decision to take Hunter for that matter.
Hunter looks like his old self as he’s batting .309 with six home runs and 42 RBIs. But Hunter has already been to four All-Star games in his career; it would have been nice to see another deserving candidate make the team.
Now of course, Hunter and Donaldson do not play the same position, but even if it’s just for an at-bat late in the game, it means something to the players, and Donaldson should have gotten the nod.
Meanwhile, Balfour has converted 24 straight saves this year and 41 straight going back to last season. How does that not land him on the All-Star team?
The crop of closers selected to the AL team is very strong, featuring Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan and Glen Perkins. Chicago White Sox reliever Jesse Crain is pitching to a 0.74 ERA, so his presence on the team is also warranted.
The one question mark in Leyland’s pitching selections would be Toronto Blue Jays lefty reliever Brett Cecil. Just like Hunter, Cecil is having an All-Star worthy campaign. But with Chris Sale and Perkins as lefties on the staff, was it really necessary for Leyland to carry a third lefty, especially one who is a setup man and not a closer?
Plus, the Blue Jays were already represented on the team by Jose Bautista in the starting lineup and Edwin Encarnacion as a reserve.
Can it be possible that the baseball world is still not buying into the upstart Oakland A’s?
It certainly seems that way, and the All-Star snubs just add to the team’s will to prove the naysayers wrong.
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