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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My 2007 NL All-Star Picks

By David

The all-stars have been selected, the rosters are nearly full, and now it's time to dissect if the fans and players have made the right decisions.

Although the fans do not vote based on players performance, they did make pretty shrewed decisions this year. The popularity contest that usually culminates in non-deserving players going to the summer classic has resulted in very deserving players heading off to San Francisco next week.

In the National League, catcher Russell Martin, first baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Chase Utley, shortstop Jose Reyes, third baseman David Wright and outfielders Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Carlos Beltran were voted in by the fans.

As of Wednesday, Mets third baseman David Wright was batting .290 with 14 home runs, 45 runs batted in and a .502 slugging percentage. Conversely, Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera is batting .329 with 17 home runs, 58 RBI's and a .580 slugging percentage. Cubbies third baseman Aramis Ramirez is tearing it up with a .311 with 15 home runs, 49 runs batted in and a .566 slugging percentage in 18 fewer games. Take your pick between Cabrera and Ramirez.

Roaming in the outfield are three elite players, but only one has the statistics that could warrant an all-star start. 11-time all-star and 10-time gold glove winner Ken Griffey Jr. is having a phenomenal season as he continues to inch up on the career home run list. He's batting .286 with 23 homers, 59 runs batted in and 49 runs scored in 82 games. His 23 blasts rank third in the National League and his .568 slugging percentage places him in eighth place in the NL, behind the likes of all-stars Miguel Cabrera, Chase Utley and Prince Fielder.

The two glaring weaknesses that are visible in the outfield are Barry Bonds and Carlos Beltran. Even though the game is being played in San Francisco and Bonds is 5 home runs away from breaking Hank Aaron's record, the numbers he put up in the first half were not impressive. Barry's .295 average with 17 home runs and 42 runs batted in is not deserving of a start.

Carlos Beltran has become invisible in the Mets lineup this season with a .264 average and 16 home runs. Because the fans are allowed to vote for what players they want to see start in July's exhibition game he was given the starting nod. All I can say is that no slugger, despite the fame or money they have deserves to be rewarded for playing poorly.

Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies and Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros are tearing the cover off of the baseball this season. Holliday, 27, is batting .341 with 15 home runs and 69 RBI's. His average is fourth best in baseball, his RBI's seventh and his .573 slugging percentage is good for eleventh in the majors.

In his first season with Houston ''El Caballo'' leads the NL with 73 runs batted in and has been a fixture in the Astros everyday lineup. It's unfortunate that baseball is not showcasing their premier talent in Tuesday's game, but as we've learned over the years MLB couldn't give a damn about what the fans think. As long as they money continues to flow in at a record pace everything will be ok for the commissioner's office.

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