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Monday, July 8, 2013
Not Yet An All-Star
Ever since the Miami Heat repeated as NBA Champions and the Chicago Blackhawks fended off the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sports has returned to the dog days of summer. Fans are left with baseball for their daily entertainment, and only that, for the common fan in this country. Controversy in sports hits an annual low at about this time, but one man has brought it back; he has been the talk of Sports, and thus, fans everywhere. That man is an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is hitting .407, and debuted on June 3rd. His name is Yasiel Puig, and he should not be playing for the National League in the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16th.
Major League Baseball has a very intriguing and debatable system for choosing the American and National League representatives for their All Star Games. For the most part, it isn’t up to NL manager Bruce Bochy (San Francisco) or AL Manager Jim Leyland (Detroit) to decide, the “All-Stars” are chosen by you, the fans. In my opinion, MLB’s ASG system is heavily flawed, however it is impossible for a system, such as this, to not be. There will always be “snubs.” There will always be players who, quite frankly, shouldn’t be playing. It does not matter who decides, there will be flaws. A general consensus between the players and managers of baseball has been made for a long, long time: The ASG is decided by how popular you are, not necessarily how deserving you are. Chris Davis (1B, Baltimore), for example, is absolutely on a tear - hitting .320 with 33 homers and 85 RBI’s, in early July. He’s popular because he is deserving. On the other hand, a player such as Josh Donaldson (3B, Oakland), who is hitting .319 with 15 HR’s and 57 RBI’s and clearly having an All-Star caliber season, was snubbed. Donaldson was snubbed primarily due to the fact that the third basemen in the American League are stacked, however he does play in Oakland, who, despite holding the second-best record in the AL, is a very small market with very little exposure on the national stage. It’s important to go over the All-Star selection system before talking Puig, a system that has been judged heavily recently, and rightfully so.
The main argument is that Yasiel Puig simply lacks the numbers that the National League All-Stars have. Granted, that is due to the fact that Puig only played a month, but it doesn’t matter how long you played if you don’t have the numbers. If Puig was selected to the ASG, no player on the NL side would have less home runs and RBI’s than him. Let that sink in for a second … Yasiel Puig would not have better numbers than anyone on the National League roster. Yes, he is hitting .407, but if you compare his 123 at-bats to Carlos Gonzalez’s (OF, Colorado) 333 AB’s, that .407 average is going to decrease dramatically as his season progresses, because less at-bats cause an average to fluctuate than players with more at-bats. Anyway, this argument is easy to grasp - Puig just doesn’t have the numbers to be an all-star at the time. It doesn’t matter that he only played a month - as a matter of fact, games played means nothing. Home Runs, Runs Batted In, and a consistent average, do, and Puig lacks that.
It’s hard to tell if Puig will become one of baseball’s greatest stars or not. Give me a break, the man started playing on June 3rd. By the time October comes around, the world of baseball will have a better idea where he stands. However, the All-Star game isn’t in October, it’s on July 16th. There’s something called a “Final Vote,” where fans can select one player from both the NL and AL to earn “All-Star Status.” There really is no question whether or not Puig will win the final vote, because he will. Fans love young players who start their careers with a bang, and as much as I don’t like Puig as an all-star, he really has begun with a bang. That being said, you can’t throw out All-Star selections like it’s free money, especially to a player that has shown such a small sample size. Remember, the fans decide. Whatever happens, happens, but if Yasiel Puig is chosen as a 2013 All-Star, Major League Baseball’s ASG credibility will take yet another hit.-Teddy Bailey