With only two days and one game left till the 2012 All-Star break in Kansas City, it’s time to take quick look back at the first half of the season and see if there are any other players worthy of representing Arizona in this season’s mid-summer classic.
As a rookie, Arizona rookie Wade Miley has been nothing short of spectacular the first half of the season, with a 9-5 record and a 3.04 ERA in 14 starts on the season. In a season that has seen little consistency from any other pitcher in Arizona’s starting rotation, Miley has consistently been able to produce day in and day out. Much to the surprise of the staff, and pretty much every Arizona fan, Miley has earned the right to represent his team and the community in Kansas City next week.
Unfortunately for Arizona, Mr. Miley will be alone in his travels next week, as no other Arizona player was selected to represent the National League squad in the All-Star game. However, I find it hard to believe that Arizona was not able to produce another All-Star given the quality and depth of the roster that we possess. The Arizona Diamondbacks have seven players on the squad with All-Star experience, none of which were selected for this season’s All-Star team. The players are as follows: Justin Upton (11, 09), Miguel Montero (11), Trevor Cahill (10), Chris Young (10), Aaron Hill (09), Joe Saunders (08), and J.J. Putz (07).
In a season that saw one team (Texas Rangers) send eight players to the All-Star game, the snakes were only able to get one player, an unexperienced rookie who wasn’t even on the starting rotation to begin the season, on the All-star team. So that poses a thought; should Arizona have had another All-Star selection? Let’s look at the possible snubs:
1. Jason Kubel. Kubel is having a comeback season to remember. A season after playing in only 99 games, and hitting 12 home runs and 58 RBI’s, the former American Leaguer has exploded back into the spotlight by hitting .293 through 76 games, accumulating 82 hits, 14 home runs, and 59 RBIs. He is on pace to surpass his 2009 career year when he hit .300, with 28 home runs and 103 RBI’s. He has provided fantastic defense all year, with 11 assists from the outfield (tied for most in the league) and carrying a somewhat stagnant offense the entire season. Unfortunately for Mr. Kubel, he is a very soft spoken player, who plays in a smaller market in Arizona, and doesn’t get as much attention as other players who play in bigger markets on the east coast, such as New York or Washington. If you compare Kubel to All-Star starting outfielder Melky Cabrera, Kubel is better statistically than Cabrera statistically, with the exception of Batting Average.
BA H HR RBI SLG
.293 82 14 59 .529 Kubel
.353 118 8 44 .521 Cabrera
2. Aaron Hill. After hitting two cycles in one month, what does a player have to do to earn a spot on the All-Star team? That’s the feat that Aaron Hill completed in June when he hit for the cycle twice in the same month, the first player to hit for the cycle twice in the same season since Babe Hermon accomplished the feat in 1931. After a slow start to the season, Hill has picked up where he left off after a strong second half of last season by hitting .302 with 93 hits, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs through 81 games. He has provided solid defense up the middle and has been a main stay in the lineup since coming to the desert last August. He is a great clubhouse guy, and similar to Kubel, is a soft spoken type of guy and doesn’t get the attention that others might in a bigger market.
3. Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is yet another player who got off to a sluggish start to the season. His start was so slow offensively that he found himself splitting time regularly at first base with reserve Lyle Overbay. Once Goldy got some consistant playing time, he found his offensive groove and has hit an impressive .297 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 72 games this season. His lower RBI numbers may be the statistic holding him back from more All-star consideration, but he has been solid since taking the full-time first base position.
4. Miguel Montero. Montero is another player who came into the season with high expectations after an All-Star career year in 2011. Throughout the first half of the season, Montero seemed to have been distracted by constant contract negotiations that had been ongoing throughout the offseason and beginning of the season. After agreeing to a five-year $60 million contract extension, he seemed to relax at the plate and the results followed. Through 70 games, he is hitting a respectable .269, with eight home runs and 43 RBIs.
Let the debat begin. I personally believe that Kubel and Hill deserve to be in Kansas City. Kubel has a shot to win comeback player of the year, and Hill has been consistant throughout the season, and hitting for the cycle twice in a season for the first time since 1931 definitely deserves more recognition.