MLB All-Star Game Snubs: National League

The fans really nailed the NL starters for the All-Star Game. I only had one complaint with the fan vote, so they must be commended for getting it right. All my other complaints are really nit-picking because the NL All-Star team was well selected. Manager Bruce Bochy was too much of a homer and included a few too many Giants pitchers, so that’s the only other issue I really have. Here are the NL All-Star team snubs (written as the player who should have made it over the one who did):

Aramis Ramirez over Placido Polanco, Chipper Jones at 3B

Fans got all the starters right except for Placido Polanco at third base. There was no real standout at the position this year but Ramirez is having the best year of all NL third basemen. He should have been the starter over Polanco and the backup over Chipper Jones. It should have gone Aramis and then either Chipper or Chase Headley as the backup.

Andrew McCutchen over Jay Bruce in OF

McCutchen misses out on his second straight All-Star game in favor of a Pirates reliever. He deserved to go last year over Evan Meek and deserves to go this year. Bruce had a major power surge in May that captured everyone’s attention but h’s cooled off since then. McCutchen, with his 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases, has been the better overall player.

[Read more...]

Atlanta Braves May Have Best 8-9 Relievers in Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters

While team like the Chicago White Sox have a struggling bullpen that’s giving Ozzie Guillen stress issues, other teams actually have a solid relief crew. You can look at the Yankees who have the unhittable Mariano Rivera and setup man Rafael Soriano, the Indians have the Perezes and Tony Sipp who have yet to allow a run, and the Padres have been pretty tough the past two years. But the team that stands out to me is the Atlanta Braves, who despite losing Billy Wagner, may have the best 8th and 9th inning combination in baseball.

Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters are the 9th and 8th inning pitchers for the Braves, and they’re both second year flame-throwing youngsters from the South. Kimbrel was a 3rd-round pick by the Braves in 2008 out of Wallace State Community College. The Huntsville Alabama native spent time at all levels of the minor leagues and gave up just 40 runs in 151 career minor league innings. He averaged over 14 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors, whiffing 242 batters while closing 51 games. After mowing down batters in Triple-A last year, he was called up to the Braves where he gave up just two runs in 20.2 innings, striking out 40 batters.

This year it’s been more of the same.

[Read more...]