Personally, I used to be shocked when Tampa Bay Rays’ outfielder Austin Meadows earned a spot as an All-Star reserve on the American League squad. Whereas I do imagine Meadows is a unbelievable participant, he’s hitting simply .242 with 16 homers and an .821 OPS. These are good numbers, however All-Star worthy? Now that’s stretching it. With so many different deserving gamers, why did Meadows get the spot over different individuals who’ve been taking part in higher this yr?
Oh, wait! Sorry. Meadows didn’t earn a spot on the AL All-Star reserves. I’m pondering of another person. The man I’m referring to truly has a .247 common with simply 10 round-trippers and an .812 OPS. He’ll even be taking part in for the Nationwide League, and his title is Mookie Betts.
Don’t attempt to inform me his stats are deserving of All-Star recognition. Purely based mostly on stats, Austin Meadows has higher All-Star credentials than Betts, however Meadows was never even a finalist for an AL outfield spot. And don’t attempt to argue that Betts’s protection has been deserving of a spot. Yeah, he’s an important outfielder, however since when does protection make somebody a deserving All-Star candidate when the participant has subpar offensive numbers? Andrelton Simmons has by no means been named an All-Star regardless of years of impeccable work on the shortstop place. The identical may very well be stated about Kevin Kiermaier and Nick Ahmed as nicely. So, why did Betts earn an All-Star nod? Title recognition, clearly.
Betts has been named an All-Star every of the final 4 full seasons, and has completed both first or second in MVP voting in three of the final 5. He’s undoubtedly one of many sport’s high gamers, however the All-Star Recreation isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a way to honor gamers who’ve been good in the previous couple of years. It ought to be a chance to reward gamers who’ve carried out admirably within the first half of that exact season — somebody like Tyler O’Neill, maybe? If you happen to actually imagine that Betts ought to be an All-Star this yr due to what he’s achieved in earlier seasons, then I’d love to listen to your argument why José Abreu, Christian Yelich, Bryce Harper, and Javier Báez don’t should be All-Stars. These guys have been unimaginable gamers for his or her respective groups lately, but they didn’t hear their names referred to as throughout “Choice Sunday.”
If you happen to suppose Betts deserves a spot on the All-Star workforce as a result of he’s who folks actually need to see, nicely, I received information for you… the folks voted, and so they determined that they’d moderately see Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos than Betts. That’s how the starters had been decided — the followers voted. Individuals determined that whereas Betts has been an exceptional participant in years previous, they’d moderately see the man hitting .306 with 19 bombs than the man hitting .247 with 10. That’s simply how it’s. Individuals all the time resort to “What have you ever achieved for me these days?” over “Who’s one of the best?” And that’s not a foul factor. As I’ve stated earlier than, if we all the time voted based mostly on a participant’s previous legacy, the brand new gamers doing nicely in smaller markets, like Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier and Cincinnati’s Jesse Winker, would by no means get the popularity they deserve.
I like Betts lots. He’s been the most effective (and most enjoyable) ballplayers to look at in latest reminiscence. Nevertheless it’s time to surrender the narrative that he deserves to be an All-Star. I’ll make the identical argument for Mike Trout. As nice as Trout is, he shouldn’t be an All-Star this yr both, however his case is far completely different than Betts’, clearly. In fact, I need to see each of these guys signify their respective leagues in the course of the All-Star Recreation, however neither has actually earned that honor in 2021. Betts may (and possibly will) rebound from his subpar begin this season, however till he does, you possibly can’t say he’s been the most effective gamers within the league, and that’s who the All-Star Recreation ought to spotlight yearly.