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All-Star voting still unpredictable process with fans


All-Star voting still unpredictable process with fans
As every good baseball fan knows, the 2008 All-Star Game on FOX goes down on July 15 at Yankee Stadium.

The voting is of course ongoing, and the American League and National League starting lineups are taking shape. So at this juncture, let's take a look at those lineups in progress and see how the democratic process is working. We'll examine what the voters are getting right, what they're getting wrong, and which races are still too close to call. Let's start with the junior circuit ...

MLB roundup

1B — Lance Berkman, Astros

Berkman's having a great season, but Albert Pujols is the bigger star and the better player. It's also a joke that Pujols is a mere third in the voting (Derrek Lee has the second-most votes among NL first basemen). Berkman's a fine choice, just not the best one.

2B — Chase Utley, Phillies

Utley's the only National Leaguer to have more than two million votes. Some object to the fact that Dan Uggla, the major-league leader in home runs, isn't leading the balloting. However, Utley's producing exceptionally well, and he's a much better defender than Uggla. Uggla, of course, deserves to be on the roster, but Utley is a worthy starter.

3B — Chipper Jones, Braves

An easy choice here. Jones is a future Hall of Famer, and he's having an exceptional season. Aramis Ramirez trails him by more than 800,000 votes, and that's as it should be.

SS — Hanley Ramirez, Marlins

In terms of who deserves it, consider it a coin-flip between Ramirez and Jose Reyes of the Mets. Ramirez gives you more at the plate, while Reyes is the better defender. The race, however, is a tight one between Ramirez and Houston's Miguel Tejada. Ramirez is far and away the better choice, so here's hoping he clings to his slim lead.

OF — Alfonso Soriano, Cubs

OF — Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs

OF — Ken Griffey Jr., Reds

The first problem is that the NL has no natural center fielder. The second problem is that Griffey Jr. in no way, shape, or form deserves to be an All-Star. He's a future first-ballot Hall of Famer, but his skills have greatly diminished. This season, he's hitting just .235 AVG/.346 OBP/.388 SLG despite playing his home games in a great hitter's park. Ryan Braun is closing on Junior (he trails him by fewer than 200,000 votes), and he's much more worthy of a starting spot than Griffey. Ditto for Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick, Brian Giles, Carlos Beltran, Nate McLouth and Aaron Rowand. None of those guys, however, has any real shot of winning a starting job.

This isn't to pick on Junior; in fact, none of the current starting NL outfielders merits his status. There are a lot of better choices out there, but NL voters thus far are ignoring them. The idea is to win the game (it counts, you know), but it's hard to see how running Soriano, Fukudome, and Griffey out there helps them do that.

In the main, NL fans are doing a worse job than the AL voters. They've botched the outfield vote quite badly, and they're also off the mark at catcher. It's the outfield vote, however, that's really going to hurt the NL in the early innings.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 30, 2008

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