Who Should Be the Cubs 2009 All-Star Game Representative?
Let me preface this entire article with a big old - who cares? With the Cubs playing the way they are, the mercy All-Star that the Cubs will get is of little importance, but I needed an article idea for the day and it's a fun discussion. And dagnabit, baseball is suppose to be fun.
So assuming the lemmings that are voting don't get Alfonso Soriano in there (currently 4th behind Carlos Beltran who is on the DL), the Cubs All-Star will be a reserve. In 2003, the All-Star process was changed and the players vote for eight reserves and eight pitchers, along with the eight starters voted by the fans. It's a 32-man roster, so the managers (in this case Charlie Manuel) gets to pick seven and the fans vote for the final player out of a pool of 5.
So who will be the Cubs representative(s)? Options below the fold...
Ted Lilly - He's probably my pick for the Cubs because if you're going to take a representative of this team, it should be on the pitching side. He leads the team in ERA (for qualified pitchers), wins and strikeouts. Has he been one of the 8 or 9 best NL starting pitchers this year? Well until that second to last start versus the White Sox he was probably in the discussion, although now he's just 14th in ERA and tied for 12th in wins. He seems to be pretty well-respected around the league, so the player vote should be strong and I assume some will remember that he was a choice for the WBC.
Randy Wells - The unqualified ERA team leader has been more than a pleasant surprise, but for the entire NL to notice, a glossy win-loss record would need to accompany it. I just don't see him getting picked over a vet.
Carlos Zambrano - Like Lilly, if the players got their vote in early in the month, he may have a shot when his ERA was 3.39. He's still considered the ace of the staff by most of the league, so maybe he'll get the reputation vote or as Joe Sheehan likes to pimp at Baseball Prospectus, the All-Star game should be a reward for the better players in the league rather than just having good first halves.
Derrek Lee - He's been the only Cub to hit decently over the last two months but his overall first half numbers are sorely lacking at a strong position in the NL. Albert, A. Gonzalez and Prince Fielder are all sporting OPS numbers over 1.000 to Lee's .834 which just ranks 8th among qualified 1st basemen. His production numbers are sorely lacking as well behind Berkman, Howard and Todd Helton.
Ryan Theriot - The shortstop crop is pretty weak in the NL once you get past Hanley Ramirez. Tejada has trailed off considerably from his hot start and Tulowitzki's surge has been pretty recent that it may have gotten missed by the players. Theriot's 4th in runs scored and home runs among shortstops and no doubt it would be a mercy inclusion if he makes it, but someone has to on this forsaken team.
Vote below for your choice