Jonathan Papelbon made headlines last week when he was asked whether Dodgers rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig should make the All-Star team, despite only having just over a month on the major league roster. Papelbon made no bones about it: he did not consider Puig an All-Star. And he said it in the most Papelbon-way possible in an interview with MLB Network Radio:
“The guy’s got a month, I don’t even think he’s got a month in the big leagues, and just comparing him to this and that, and saying he’s going to make the all-star team, that’s a joke to me. It’s just really what happens in baseball when… to me it really does an injustice to the veteran players that have been in the game for eight, nine, 10-plus years, and it kind of does them an injustice because they’ve worked so hard to stay there.”
Puig has played in 30 games thus far and hit a ridiculous .420 with eight home runs and 19 RBI. His OPS is a crazy 1.155.
The problem is, when the All-Star game is supposed to mean something, namely home field advantage in the World Series, many are advocating that Puig make the team. One of them is Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood, who wrote on the matter yesterday:
The National League has won the last three All-Star Games and the last three World Series. With those numbers in mind, you want to do everything you can to maximize your league's chances of winning the All-Star Game. This season, that means not just looking at how many games Puig has played, but what he has done in those games.
Not considered by many is who the addition of Puig would leave out of the All-Star game. Phillies fans, it very well could be Domonic Brown.
There are plenty of complicated matters that would lead to this. One of them is the fan vote. Fans will (unfortunately) potentially vote Braves outfielder Justin Upton onto the team, taking a spot away from a deserving outfielder. Upton is hitting just .248 with 15 home runs and 38 RBI. Take away his incredibly hot April where he hit .298 with 12 home runs and 19 RBI, and he is nothing to write home about.
There are other deserving outfielders in the National League. Last count of the ballots had Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, and Upton elected. But here are some other names that should be considered as reserves:
- Bryce Harper
- Michael Cuddyer
- Carlos Gomez
- Andrew McCutchen
- Yasiel Puig
That's eight outfielders right there, and that would make Brown a ninth possibility. Considering that Brown has cooled somewhat after a torrid month of May, he could be overlooked
But there is another wrinkle: one player from every team has to make the squad. The Phillies have one of the National's leagues four 10-game winners. Lee's ERA is 2.59 and tied for 10th in the league, and has a WAR of 4.4, third among starting pitchers. I would say that Lee is a good bet for an All-Star appearance. The Phillies are not exactly lighting it up...do they really deserve two players?
There indeed is the possibility that both Brown and Lee could make it. The aforementioned Papelbon may have blown his way out of consideration with that rough week a couple weeks ago in which he blew four saves out of five chances. It remains a possibility, however, that adding Puig to the All-Star squad could bump Domonic Brown.
We'll find out today.