It’s that time of year again, baseball fans. It’s the time of year when every trip to Progressive Field comes with two dozen pleas to vote all of your favorite Cleveland Indians to the 2012 All-Star Team.
I always wonder how effective those in stadium ballots actually are. I never know whether I should just vote all Indians, or if I should just vote my conscious. Deep down, I’d love to see as many Indians in the MLB All-Star game as humanly possible, but there are a lot of years that there aren’t any hometown ballplayers that deserve a spot.
What about this season? Are there any Indians that actually deserve to be All-Stars?
Let’s find out.
Carlos Santana, Catcher
Carlos Santana is on the cusp of being a legitimate all-star contender this season. What hurts Santana’s chances more than anything is his .265 AVG and 21% strikeout rate. That batting average is an improvement over the .239 AVG from 2011, but a high strikeout power bat needs to supplement a low average with good pop. The truth is that pop hasn’t happened yet. Four home runs and 15 RBI in 28 games do not an offensive minded all-star catcher make.
Baltimore’s Matt Wieters has three more home runs, three more RBI, 10 less strikeouts, and is hitting .300. If there are any Orioles fans left, Wieters is the easy choice to start the All-Star Game.
Chances for Santana: 72%
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Casey Kotchman has been so bad offensively that I’ve seen people call for Matt LaPorta to get called up from the Columbus Clippers.
Let that last sentence sink in for a second.
Chances for Kotchman: 0%
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Jason Kipnis matches Santana’s batting average while putting up slightly better power numbers, but the competition at second base in the American League is going to keep Dirtbag out of the All-Star Game.
New York’s Robinson Cano is going to get the Yankees fans rapid voting, Texas’ Ian Kinsler sports a better average playing for the best team in the league, and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia is hitting .307 in a behemoth of a media market.
Indians fans love Kipnis for good reason, but he’s just not ready to break into that group.
Chances for Kipnis: 18%
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
The American League shortstop spot should come down to Derek Jeter and Asdrubal Cabrera. Jeter is slightly ahead across the board, but in 31 more at bats. Asdrubal has struck out fewer times, but Jeter’s average is a blistering .388.
I can honestly say that I think Asdrubal has played better than Jeter so far this season, but there’s no way Jeter doesn’t dominate the voting. If there’s any justice, Droobie will be the backup shortstop.
Chances for Cabrera: 85%
Jack Hannahan, 3B
The question surrounding Hannahan isn’t whether he’s the been the best third basemen – let’s face it, Evan Longoria is dominating third base – but whether he can outduel Texas’ Adrian Beltre or Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas.
Beltre and Moustakas’ offensive numbers are slightly better, but Hannahan’s defense and relative value to the team’s position in the standings should earn him some extra consideration.
Chances for Hannahan: 64%
Johnny Damon, LF
*See Casey Kotchman.
Chances for Damon: 0.034%
Michael Brantley, CF
Michael Brantley is living in the middle ground between solid contender and total joke. I like Brantley a lot, but his .233 AVG and lack of power isn’t going to win him any awards.
There’s also a glut of center fielders that are better than Brantley, led by Texas’ Josh Hamilton, who topped Brantley’s power numbers in one game last week.
Chances for Brantley: 1.6587%
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Choo is another guy like Brantley for me; I like him a lot, but I don’t really know why right now. He can throw home from the outfield on the fly, though, which is something Damon can’t even say about third base.
Chances for Choo: 57%
Travis Hafner, DH
I hate thinking about a DH in the All-Star game. They’re all designated hitters. Either way, Pronk’s numbers aren’t all-star worthy, at all.
It’s just as well; all-star jerseys don’t look good halfway buttoned.
Chances for Pronk: 12%