I promised to take you through my All-Star ballot, so here goes. Note that
I’m not doing this by league, but by position. Infield today, catcher and
outfield tomorrow, and no doubt a lot of nasty reader e-mail Friday.
Remember the standard: the player who I consider to be the best in the
league at that point in time, based on their entire career to date.
AL First Base: Carlos Delgado. One of the toughest decisions.
Rafael Palmeiro has a better glove and was better in 1999, while
Jason Giambi might be the better player in 2000. Mo Vaughn
isn’t the worst choice in the world, either. Overall, I’d rather have
Delgado than any of them.
I didn’t consider Frank Thomas at all, because he’s primarily a DH
these days, and has been surpassed by Edgar Martinez. Heck, if I’d
thought of it at the time, I might have skipped them all and written in
Martinez, just to be contrary.
NL First Base: Mark McGwire. There are two positions on the
ballot at which there can be no debate. This is one of them. Jeff
Bagwell is a great, and underappreciated, player. He’s not one of the
two best players at his position in history.
There’s actually a chance Bagwell won’t even make the team. Todd
Helton will probably be the only Rockie, while Andres Galarraga
will certainly be chosen, especially with the game in Atlanta.
AL Second Base: Roberto Alomar. It’s interesting that just
two years ago there was a real debate as to who was better between Alomar
and Chuck Knoblauch. The separation between the two the past two
years is the difference between a Hall of Fame career path and a Really
Good Player career path.
If you’re looking for the position that will give us a "huh?"
pick, this could be it. The next-best second basemen in the AL this year
are Delino DeShields and Luis Alicea. Both are playing
well–and over their heads–so far. DeShields has the edge as the only
Oriole worth a darn.
NL Second Base: Craig Biggio. I confess, my NL picks haven’t
changed in a few years. Biggio isn’t playing that well this year, and there
are a number of guys who may have surpassed him, Edgardo Alfonzo in
Upon further review, I will be voting for Alfonzo on subsequent ballots. If
Biggio wins the honor by two or fewer votes, Met fans can express their
displeasure at email@example.com.
AL Third Base: Troy Glaus. Benefitting from a weak field as
well as his own perfromance, Glaus got my vote. He’s not a bad pick, but he
does have less than two years’ experience, and there’s usually someone out
there who has a better case. Right now, he’s so far and away the best third
baseman in the league that it’s not funny. And if I can convince a couple
million people, maybe he’ll even start over that guy in the Century 21
commercial. Pick Edgar Martinez as the backup.
Longtime readers may wish to turn away for a few lines, lest their eyes pop
out of their heads. I do not believe the following words have ever appeared
in Baseball Prospectus, online or otherwise:
Peter Gammons is right about this one, and deserves credit for being so
forceful about stating his case. Glaus is the best third baseman in the
league and a deserving All-Star.
NL Third Base: Chipper Jones. I was expecting this to be a
tougher decision, but Scott Rolen keeps getting hurt and Adrian
Beltre is developing slowly. Toss in Fernando Tatis, Phil
Nevin and Ken Caminiti, and you might have the deepest position
on the ballot.
AL Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez. There’s a personal bias here:
even if all three members of the Trinity were playing at a comparable
level, I would probably still vote for A-Rod. That Nomar Garciaparra
and Derek Jeter haven’t played at Rodriguez’s level in 2000 does
make it easier, though. At their best, you can’t really go wrong with
selecting any of them.
NL Shortstop: Barry Larkin. Not unlike the second-base
decision, I didn’t spend a lot of time considering alternatives here,
either. The difference is that there’s still no one better than Larkin.
Edgar Renteria will get there, if Rafael Furcal doesn’t beat
him to it, but in 2000, Larkin is still the best in the league.
With few NL shortstops playing at even an acceptable level, this is the
National League’s opportunity to give us the least-likely All-Star, Cub
Ricky Gutierrez. He doesn’t have the "sole representative"
thing going for him like DeShields, but he does have a high batting average
and won’t play enough between now and the end of June to work his way off
At least it’s better than Saint Rey.
Joe Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.