It’s been a disappointing season for the Red Sox thus far, especially since expectations were high after a horrid 2014 season that saw injuries plague the team, the trading of their ace Jon Lester and a youth movement take over at Fenway. 2015 was supposed to be different. Instead, Boston’s pitching and offense have taken turns with sub-par performances for long stretches at a time leaving the squad in last place in the too-close-to-call AL East. Still, the Red Sox have put together some wins and are now victorious in 11 of their last 17 games with some quality play on the field from a variety of players. However, it looks like the rest of league has decided not to recognize these players when it comes to representing in the All-Star Game on July 17th from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.
None of the Sox were named as starters, which is most likely due to the lack of interest from fans who have seen this team plummet to the bottom of the league in three of the last four seasons. While Brock Holt was named as a reserve on Monday, and Xander Bogaerts is being considered for the final player voted in, all of the other Red Sox have been forgotten. Holt came as a surprise, but AL Manager Ned Yost reasoned, “What impressed me is his versatility. Super-utility guys should be celebrated.”
It could easily be argued that Bogaerts could be the starting SS for the American League side, but I believe there is another snub that will be discussed in the coming days in second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros was voted as the starter at the position with the Indians’ Jason Kipnis getting the call as a reserve. Pedroia has been on the DL as of late and has 26 less at-bats than Altuve and 39 less than Kipnis, but that’s not enough to knock Pedey out of the argument in my opinion. He’s eligible to come off of the DL on July 10 with all signs pointing to the Red Sox activating him immediately according to the ProJo’s Tim Britton.
Pedroia is currently fifth in batting average in the AL hitting .306, although Kipnis is third at .341. Altuve is now eighth at .303 in a tight top ten. He has more homeruns that both All-Star second baseman and only two less RBI than each. Pedroia also has a better OBP (.367 > .346), slugging percentage (.452 > .420), and OPS (.819 > .767) than Altuve. Kipnis on the other hand is really cleaning up with a .419 OBP, .506 SLG and .925 OPS. The Cleveland second baseman is also tied for the lead in WAR (wins above replacement) at 4.9 with Mike Trout so it’s difficult to argue with his inclusion.
Pedroia should be playing instead of Altuve for sure though. The surprising Houston Astros have been a feel-good, surprising story in 2015 with a league best 48 wins heading into Monday night. People want to like them and hoping they can put together more success which I believe helped give Altuve the edge. The 25 year old Venezuelan will be playing in his third ASG and is six years younger than Pedroia who has made four All-Star appearances previously. Unfortunately, that probably helped Altuve as well. Fans like new blood in these games.
The two areas that hurt Pedroia most are fielding and base running. Altuve and Kipnis are number nine and eleven respectively in fielding at second base while Pedroia is seventeenth and has two more errors than each. However, Pedroia’s defense cannot be considered a detriment and he is one of the more solid infielders in the game today who is never afraid to get dirty.
I don’t believe that base-running should play as large of a factor as hitting for example, but stolen bases are exciting and fantasy baseball geeks love them. Altuve is leading the league with 24 and Kipnis is middle-of-the-road with 10, while Pedroia, who has certainly never been known for his speed brings only a single stolen base to the table. He also has 34 runs scored while Altuve has 42 (Kipnis has 56).
Jun 24, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) forces out Baltimore Orioles first basemanChris Davis
(19) during the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The lack of runs scored is of course also a product of being on a Boston team that struggled to score runs and hit in clutch situations, except for, well…Pedroia. He has been solid for Boston all year long and is one of the reasons they have been able to stay afloat. He leads the team in batting average and OBP and is second to only Hanley Ramirez in slugging. There are multiple game logs in the first half where most of the Sox has zero or one hit while Pedroia has two, three or four hits in a losing effort. These factors hurt his chances to get votes.
Dustin has always been very consistent, picking his spots and not being afraid to take a base hit instead of swinging for the fences every chance he gets. His patience can go unnoticed, but his ability to work the walk is always at the top of the league. He has eight more walks than Altuve and only five more strikeouts. Meanwhile, Kipnis is a strikeout machine with 52. It must be said that Kipnis also walks a fair share and has twelve more than Pedey this season.
It seems obvious to me that fan votes have hurt the All-Star selection process and while the popular name might be Altuve this season, Jason Kipnis should have been named the starter while Pedroia should be a reserve. Those are the two best players at their position in the AL, but unfortunately we may only get to see one Sox member on the field in Cincinnati on July 14. My only hope is that when Pedroia comes back from the DL on July 10, he can use this snub as motivation and help lead Boston to what would be one of the most improbably divisional comebacks of all time.
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