Since our radio station 96.7 KBBE-FM broadcasts the Kansas City Royals’ games, we are thrilled to see the team dominating the American League All-Star voting.
It’s amazing what going from nowhere to within one inning of winning the World Series will do for you
It doesn’t hurt that the Royals have had an aggressive voting campaign. Even behind home plate at Kauffman Stadium, there’s a reminder to go online and vote for your favorite KC players, since that’s where all the voting is taking place.
I appreciate the fervor of Royals fans. But because of the purist in me, I don’t think it’s good for baseball.
The All-Star Game is a popularity contest, I get that. But when Alex Rios is fourth among AL outfielders in voting despite missing six weeks with a broken hand — and the fact he’s hit next-to-nothing since returning — I have a problem.
Seven Royals currently lead the nine positions. The only ones that aren’t are Rios and second baseman Omar Infante, who is having perhaps the worst offensive year in Major League Baseball. Infante is slumping so badly that KC manager Ned Yost needs to give serious consideration to inserting Christian Colon into the lineup. All that’s saving Infante is his stellar defense, as he’s practically been an automatic out at the plate.
Here’s how it’s shaking down right now and my thoughts.
• Catcher — Salvador Perez is a Royal who deserves to start. He has no peers defensively and except for the fact he swings at almost every pitch, he’s provided a lot of pop with the longball. He smashed homer No. 9 on Tuesday and many of his bombs have been in clutch situations.
• First base — Eric Hosmer is getting closer to realizing his enormous potential, though he’s gone into a serious power drought and still gets himself out more than the pitchers do. How he can be voted ahead of Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter on the planet and having another big year, is beyond me.
• Second base — Houston’s Jose Altuve is the leader and rightfully so. Last year’s AL batting champion is proving that was no fluke and has his team in first place. Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis (.338) is also having an enormous season. That KC’s Infante is even in the talk is a slap in the face to the entire process.
• Shortstop — KC’s Alcides Escobar deserves to start. While he’s like Perez in that he has no concept of the strike zone and has been slumping dramatically (down in the low .260s after being in the mid .280s), his glove work is magical. It also should be pointed out the American League is virtually void in good shortstops and Derek Jeter isn’t around anymore to receive his automatic berth.
• Third base — Mike Moustakas is having an aberration of a season for the Royals and his numbers are starter-worthy. But Toronto’s Josh Donaldson is blowing him out of the water and it’s not even close. Moose should make it as a sub though.
• Outfield – The Royals occupy two of the three starting spots with Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. Los Angeles’ Mike Trout is the third outfielder.
Trout is a given. He is the best all-around player in the game today and will be for the next 12 years.
I would have said Cain deserved it after the first six weeks, but he has gone from hitting close to .350 to .280. However, if he does make it it’s because he should be the Platinum Glove winner. Nobody has made so many spectacular plays in a short time.
Gordon also has a great glove, but he’s having a terrible year offensively, barely hitting .250.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones should join Trout. I’d keep Cain just because he might make a breathtaking catch in the game.
• DH — The Royals’ Kendrys Morales leads the balloting as he was an RBI machine for the first 40 games. But like his teammates, he has fallen off. How can Nelson Cruz (nearly .330 and 18 homers) not be voted in? Also, Prince Fielder — who is listed as a first baseman but has DH’d in all but 10 games — has to be on the team somewhere. He could be the league’s MVP.
I have a feeling once we get closer to the deadline, things are going to even out. I have no problem with three Royals starting, even four. But seven is making a mockery of the process and that would probably elicit a change next year.