Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

June 18, 2014

AARON SNYDER: All-Star voting needs tweak

ASHLAND — A day after Todd Frazier once again clubbed a clutch home run to help the Cincinnati Reds pull out a win, I’m left asking one simple question.

What else can the man do?

Among National League third baseman, Frazier is first, by far, in home runs (16) and second, by few, in RBIs (40). He ranks sixth in batting average (.276) and first in stolen bases (seven).

And, for those interested in statistics that involve deeper calculation, he’s first among those playing the position in the WAR (wins above replacement) category, according to Fangraphs.

Major League Baseball released a list of leaders for the All-Star Game according to fan votes on Sunday. Where was Frazier? Nowhere to be found in the unveiled top five.

That is, in a word, ridiculous.

All this does is further confirm that fans are not even close to being educated enough to be solely responsible for who represents each league in a starting role on July 15 at Target Field.

Frazier not only deserves a nod, which he can still achieve by way of the players’ votes and NL All-Star manager Mike Matheny, he has a solid case to start.

The frontrunner in fan voting right now is the Mets’ David Wright.

Wright’s numbers are pedestrian. He is hitting .266 with five homers and 34 RBIs.

Coming in at No. 2 is the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval. His numbers? .262 average, nine long balls and 29 RBIs.

Growing up, the All-Star game was annually one of my favorite sporting events of the year. It’s lost its luster over time, to me, and I’m not sure exactly why.

To help enhance the integrity of the game, and to help ensure that the most deserving players are on the field for the midsummer classic, MLB should implement a “bonus votes” system.

The game is still largely for the fans, so, in this system, fans will still be highly involved in the voting process.

The only change would be the following: If a player is in the top three in any of these five statistical categories — batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and fielding percentage — among those who play the same position, they will receive either 100,000 bonus votes (for first place), 75,000 (second) or 50,000 (third) for each category they place in once the voting window is closed.

Miami’s Casey McGehee may also love this idea, considering he leads all NL third basemen in average (.311) and RBIs (44).

And one more tweak. MLB should eliminate the nonsense that every team must be represented. What is this, Little League? 

Let’s face it. All-Star recognition is important to players. When careers are measured, the number of All-Star selections is always considered.

Other Reds who are All-Star worthy are Jonathan Broxton (0.42 ERA in 21 2-3 IP) and Johnny Cueto (1.92 ERA, 111 Ks).

Alfredo Simon, Aroldis Chapman, Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton have all earned a close look, too.

The All-Star Game rosters will be released the weekend of July 5-6.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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