We’re weeks away from the All-Star Game in Anaheim, and let’s face it, the Royals are pretty unlikely to get more than one player onto the American League roster. There’s the slimmest outside chance two players may represent Kansas City. And while the wins haven’t been coming in with a lot of regularity, on paper, there are a few candidates who have above statlines. So which one (or two) should head west to join the Tim Lincecums and Joe Mauers of the world? Let’s take a look:
First, here’s the method I’m using to determine our All-Star. OPS+ compares a player’s OPS with the rest of the league, and anything greater than 100 is considered above league average. The Royals have four players that fit that criteria.
Looking over those numbers, while Aviles has an OPS+ of 102, his limited plate appearances so far wouldn’t warrant much as far as accolades. So let’s knock him out.
Jose Guillen has the raw power numbers that would lend themselves to an All-Star selection but it really comes down to David DeJesus and Billy Butler. Both, I think, are deserving to this point. Their slash lines are separated by just a few points. Going solely by name, the selection would likely be Butler of those two, and anyone who didn’t follow the Royals or play rotisserie baseball might not notice the season DeJesus is having so far.
Over on Call to the Pen, Wally posed the question to us to select the player most deserving of an All-Star selection. To me, DeJesus fits that bill. The offensive contribution between Butler and DeJesus is nearly identical – DeJesus is walking more, Butler’s hitting for more power – but defensively, DeJesus has Butler not only beat but lapped. Now Butler’s played a more adequate than expected first base since taking over last year, but he’s still below league average. DeJesus has maintained an errorless streak while shifting all over the outfield. Also, he’s adjusted from his typical leadoff spot to batting third in the lineup and he’s improved his production since that change.
But maybe the Royals don’t get a hitter into the All-Star game. Which pitchers should be considered?
Unfortunately for Kyle Farnsworth, the All-Star rosters aren’t so vast as to accomodate middle relievers. The same sentiment applies to Dusty Hughes and Robinson Tejeda. And really, Bruce Chen has been effective, but he’s no All-Star. Again, the anchors of the staff, Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria, battle for All-Star recognition.
Both have had down years (compared to past performances), but Soria’s been closer to his usual production. I still consider Greinke among the top starters in the game, and his 2009 Cy Young season may be enough to put him back on the All-Star team. But to this point, Soria’s been more deserving.
The mostly likely player to be honored next month is Soria. It’s always difficult or the Royals to get an offensive player in there with so much talent in the American League. That Butler and DeJesus play positions that are packed with All-Star talent doesn’t help their cause either. Do you really see Butler getting the nod over Justin Morneau, Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Cabrera or even Paul Konerko or Mark Teixeira? Or could DeJesus bump a Carl Crawford or Josh Hamilton off the team? Probably not.
I suppose it’s a good sign that there are four players that could draw serious consideration to be put into the All-Star class. We’ve come a long way from Mark Redman being the lone Royals representative.
Oh man…that really happened didn’t it? I think I might cry.