Before I get to my All-Star ballot I must post a link to a story that Henry Wofford from WTHR 13 (Indianapolis) did on Ian Snell. It’s pretty amazing stuff because Ian opens up about the personal struggles that led to his requesting a demotion. Here is the link to the story and video that aired during tonight’s newscast. Ian Snell is schedule to next pitch for the Indians at Victory Field on July 4th.
The International League will announce their All-Star selections sometime tomorrow afternoon. Earlier today the PCL squad was announced for the Triple-A All-Star game that will be played in Portland, OR on July 15th. I turned in my IL ballot on Monday morning and want you to see who I voted for and why before the team is announced. My only criteria are a player must be in the league at the time of my vote. That eliminates All-Star locks RHP Tommy Hansen, RHP Homer Bailey, RHP Charlie Morton, OF Andrew McCutchen, INF Oscar Salazar, and C Matt Wieters, to name a few. So without further adieu, here is my 2009 All-Star Ballot.
C: Erik Kratz (Indianapolis/.280AVG/3HR/20RBI/.335OBP) Wow, right off the bat a homer pick! I’m always a little uncomfortable picking anyone from the Indians because I may take into consideration intangibles that I see on a daily basis. This is not the case, Kratz leads all active catchers in virtually every offensive category. He is having a career year and I feel he deserves a spot. HONORABLE MENTION: Lou Marson (Lehigh Valley)
1B: Barbaro Canizares (Gwinnett .325/9/42/.390) I have not seen a first baseman come close to his production. He was an All-Star a year ago and in my eyes is more worthy this season. It could also do with the fact that in 7 games this season Canizares hit .476 vs the Indians. HONORABLE MENTION: Andy Tracy (Lehigh Valley)
2B: Brooks Conrad (Gwinnett .259/9/38/.356) There isn’t a clear cut second baseman and Conrad has solid numbers to go along with decent range. He appeared in 46 games at 2B and 19 at SS so I felt he was a 2B and the best of the bunch in the first half. HONORABLE MENTION: Seth Bynum (Syracuse)
SS: Ried Brignac (Durham .294/4/21/.352) This was a tough call between Brignac and Toledo’s Brent Dlugach. Durham is the only team the Indians have yet to play so I’m basing my pick on numbers. Actually, I’ve never seen Brignac play because he was either with Tampa or on the DL when the Bulls and Indians met in 2008. I went with the Bulls SS because he has far fewer strikeouts than Dlugach (27 to 81) and has committed 4 fewer errors. Really, that’s about it. It was a tough call and I’d have ZERO problems if Dlugach is voted in as an All-Star. HONORABLE MENTION: Brent Dlugach (Toledo)
3B: Andy Marte (Columbus .306/9/42/.340) When the Indians faced the Clippers in early May, Marte was not even a bench player…he was a coach who was on the roster. Then he started to get some playing time and the one time #1 prospect is having a great first half. Marte is currently riding a 9-game hit streak, his third hit streak of 8 or more games this season. HONORABLE MENTION: none
OF: Shelley Duncan (Scranton Wilkes-Barre .290/21/65/.367) Duncan is the league’s leader in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, and runs scored. If he was playing for anyone, but the Yankees he would have been out of this league a month ago. He is the leading candidate for IL MVP. HONORABLE MENTION: none
OF: Austin Jackson (Scranton Wilkes-Barre .320/3/29/.386) This is purely a numbers pick for me. Jackson didn’t do squat against the Indians in the teams 7 meetings hitting just .143 (4-28) with 11 K’s in 28 at-bats. He is my pick as an outfielder based on what he has done to the rest of the league. Jackson is the Yankees #1 prospect and at only 22 is having a great Triple-A rookie year. HONORABLE MENTION: Drew Stubbs (Louisville)
OF: Garrett Jones (Indianapolis .307/12/49/.348) I cast my ballot on Monday and Jones was called up to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. This is far from a homer pick when you look at the numbers that the left-hander has put up. Include his career high 14 stolen bases and I feel Jones deserves an All-Star bid. Jones hit .333 with a .539 slugging percentage for the month of June. HONORABLE MENTION: John Rodriguez (Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
DH: John Rodriguez (Scranton Wilkes-Barre .283/12/44.368) After considering him as an OF I decided Rodriguez would be my DH. He has played 36 games in the outfield and 22 as a DH. For me that is too close of a split to push him ahead of Jones in the OF and he is suited to be the DH. Matt LaPorta falls short because I don’t know what position he plays. I could have plugged him in as a DH and maybe should have. HONORABLE MENTION: Matt LaPorta (Columbus)
SP: Clay Buchholz (Pawtucket 5-1/1.90ERA/ 75K/80.2IP) An absolute lock as the starting pitcher for the International League. Only a limited Paw Sox offense is keeping him from winning each time out. The highlight of the season for Buchholz was back on Memorial Day at Louisville Slugger Field. The kid who threw a no-hitter in just his 2nd Major League start took a perfect game into the 9th vs. the Bats. From that day on he was making my ballot.
SP: Matt Maloney (Louisville 5-4/2.30/67K/82IP) There are some names that deserve this spot, but they are currently in the Bigs and that keeps them off my ballot. I was deciding between Maloney and Charlotte’s Carlos Torres (7-4/2.41ERA). Maloney earned the spot after I checked out his individual starts. In 7 of his 12 starts he has worked at least 7 innings and has gone past the 6th inning in all but one start. That to me is consistency and it’s what makes him an All-Star. Now go easy on the Indians this weekend. HONORABLE MENTION: Carlos Torres (Charlotte)
RP: Fernando Cabrera (Pawtucket 0-1/1.03/36K/35IP) Cabrera is 16 for 16 in save opportunities and has allowed just 4 earned run in 27 appearances. The numbers that stand out would be him holding opposing batters to a .161 average and having a miniscule 0.91 WHIP. Cabrera didn’t give up a run in the June having last been scored upon May 30 at Indianapolis.
RP: Chris Bootcheck (Indianapolis 1-2/2.91/48K/34IP) On the surface this looks like a homer pick (By the way McCauley…THREE Indians on your All-Star ballot? I know it looks bad). Bootcheck has converted 14 of 17 saves including his last 11. Like Cabrera, Bootcheck didn’t give up a run in June and converted all 7 of his save opportunities holding opponents to a .162 average. Chris was last scored upon May 25 at Gwinnett having gone 13 straight appearances without giving up a run. Norfolk’s Jim Miller leads the league in saves, but his overall numbers do not stack up to Cabrera or Bootcheck. Besides Miller has only worked more than one inning four times in 30 appearances. HONORABLE MENTION: Jim Miller (Norfolk)
There you go, my 2009 All-Star ballot. We’ll see how I stack up against the selections.