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July 5, 2000
The Daily Prospectus
On Tuesday, the 16 position-player starters for next Tuesday's All-Star Game in Atlanta were announced. The results of the fan balloting were, as usual, difficult to argue with. Even Craig Biggio lost his spot down the stretch, as Jeff Kent beat him out for the NL's second-base job.
So, rather than wait for the leagues to announce the remaining 40 honorees, I figured I'd give you my best guess. And before you start writing, remember: this is a predictive exercise. I'm giving you I think will go, not who I think deserves the honor. They're listed team-by-team, because...well, because I have a toothache and it's easiest.
Anaheim: Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus*
There are actually 22 players listed here. Troy Glaus will start for Cal Ripken and Carl Everett for Manny Ramirez. Taking their places on the roster will be Travis Fryman and Bobby Higginson.
The hardest call? Which first basemen/DHs to leave off. There are at least four legitimate candidates, and I could fit three at most. Mike Sweeney and Frank Thomas were the odd men out here, although I wouldn't be surprised to see either make the team. Finding a backup second baseman wasn't easy, either, with Luis Alicea making it over Delino DeShields.
Frankly, I couldn't find enough pitchers. Cal Eldred got the last spot, and I suppose it could go to Mike Mussina or Chuck Finley. Roberto Hernandez has been mentioned as Tampa Bay's representative, but he has neither the performance nor the saves to justify a selection. Brad Radke instead of Matt Lawton would be a surprise, but a good one, and would free up a roster spot for one of the aforementioned first basemen. Nine pitchers is fairly low, so we could see Eldred and one of these guys.
On to the National League:
Arizona: Randy Johnson
First of all, there is no backup shortstop. I know. If there's an in-game need, Edgardo Alfonzo can hang out there for an inning or three. Given the qualified players already getting bounced, there was no case to be made for Edgar Renteria over the guys on this list.
The late surge by Jeff Kent created some roster problems. Craig Biggio would have been the token Astro, with Kent, Alfonzo and Vidro still making the team. Now, the Astros get Richard Hidalgo, but I suppose the spot could go to Jeff Bagwell.
Andres Galarraga makes the team for his performance, yes, but also for the great story behind it and for the location of the game. He deserves the ovation.
There are so many players who deserve to be on the team who aren't on the above list that I expect to be wrong in a few cases. Byung-Hyun Kim, Andruw Jones, Shawn Green, Jason Kendall and Steve Finley are among the names not listed above who could be announced today without any complaint by me.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.