Which MLB player did not deserve to make the All-Star Game and which player should have made it?
Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Among the biggest head-scratchers is how Mets right fielder Carlos Beltran made his sixth All-Star team at the expense of Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen making his first. Beltran is having a nice rebound year with the Mets, batting .281-12-55 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .863. McCutchen (.294-12-46) has been better, logging an OPS of .890 in addition to 15 steals, 12 more than Beltran. No doubt National League manager Bruce Bochy can count on a professional at-bat from the switch-hitting Beltran late in the game. McCutchen can affect the outcome in multiple ways. His speed on the bases is disruptive, plus McCutchen, according to defensive metrics like runs saved and range factor, is among the game’s best defensive center fielders. Beltran isn’t a liability in right, but he can’t get to balls the way he used to, the way McCutchen can now.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
You might have a different name for it, but I call the guideline requiring every team to be represented in the All-Star Game the Jim Sundberg Rule. It’s fitting then that a player from one of Sundberg’s former teams, the Royals, came the farthest to sneak onto the American League roster. Aaron Crow, a rookie set-up man for a last-place team, has no business being in Phoenix next week. Nothing against the rule itself -- I think that every team should be represented -- but outfielders Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur or Melky Cabrera would have been a better choice than Crow. The biggest omission on Sunday was White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, who has had MVP-type numbers throughout the first half. He’s not going because MLB allows only two DHs to be selected, but the fact is he’s far more deserving than David Ortiz and Michael Young. I’m not sure DHs should be on the ballot. They could always be added, if they were deserving, but it seems the era of the big-ticket DH is almost over.
[Updated at 8:44 a.m.
Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun
It's tough to begrudge a scrappy player like Placido Polanco a place on the National League All-Star squad, but the fact that a guy hitting in the .270s with four home runs is starting at third base in the Midseason Classic is a testament to over-expansion.
Granted, it's a soft year at the hot corner in the NL, but I'm still amazed that Polanco is in and Phillies slugger Ryan Howard will be watching from home.
Meanwhile, in the American League, Rangers Manager Ron Washington went with just two first basemen, leaving Mark Teixeira on the outside looking it.
Though I've never before argued that there aren't enough Yankees in the All-Star Game, how do you have one without the guy who's second in the league in both home runs and RBI?]
[Updated at 10:03 a.m.
Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
First for the All-Star snubs, the most obvious of which was Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who leads the majors with 11 wins. Since he’s scheduled to pitch Sunday, he wouldn’t have been eligible to play anyway -- but he deserved the honor of being selected.
Just as obvious a snub, though, was first baseman Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, who ranks among the top five in the three triple crown categories with a.319 average, 21 homers and 62 runs batted in. He may still make the team in fan balloting for the final AL: roster spot.
As for undeserving players, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked there since each team must be represented. But that’s no excuse for the inclusion of Atlanta’s Chipper Jones. There are three others Braves on the NL team while Jones is batting an un-All-Star-like .256 with 7 homers and 44 RBIs.]
Photo: Carlos Beltran. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images