With the All-Star Game just a little over a month away, we're quickly approaching the annual showcase of baseball's best talent. Sure, sometimes the ASG (especially starters, which are voted for by the fans) gets a few wrong players in the game, and criminally ignores others, but for the most part the game is a good indication about who matters in MLB in any given year.
A quirk to the system, like all the other All-Star Games in the other leagues, is that every team must have one player represented. That player might be a bit position (like how the Bills always seem to send a punter to the NFL Pro Bowl), or see hardly any time, but every team and fanbase gets representation.
Last year the Diamondbacks sent two players, Dan Haren and Justin Upton, even though the team was obviously awful. In fact, a third player from Arizona, Mark Reynolds, almost made the final cut. The year before, the Diamondbacks again only sent two, Dan Haren and Brandon Webb.
I've got to be honest. I'm looking at this roster and I just don't know who is going to be our token player this year. After the jump, I'll attempt to figure out which of our players have a chance at being the Lone D'back, and which don't.
A quick note on how I'm categorizing: OPS+ for hitters, ERA+ for pitchers. Not a complete analysis, but enough to give us a picture of where players stand. All stats are of June 7th.
Catcher: Nope. Miguel Montero, the better hitter of our two main catchers, has been out nearly all season so far (only 13 PA) and although he has the highest OPS+ of all catchers, that's only because of his limited time. Chris Snyder's offensive production has been pathetic, although he generally does better in the second half which doesn't do him any good for the ASG.
A couple front runners for catcher: Nick Hundley, Padres (.308/.398/.467 OPS+: 145). Miguel Olivo, Rockies (.319/.394/.563 OPS+: 144)
First Base: Come on, seriously? This is Albert Pujols' spot to lose. Adam LaRoche has heated up to add to his sick defense, but I doubt it's enough to even compete for a backup position.
A couple front runners for first base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals (guh). Joey Votto, Reds (.321/.414/.572, OPS+: 160). Adam Dunn, Nationals (.276/.378/.533, OPS+: 142).
Second Base: Even with his terrible May, Kelly Johnson is actually in a strong position to appear in his first ASG. His line of .264/.370/.539 is second only to Chase Utley, and their numbers are nearly identical all around. Go, Kelly, go!
A couple front runners for second base: Chase Utley, Phillies (.267/.387/.492, OPS+: 132). Dan Uggla, Marlins (.270/.366/.510, OPS+: 130).
Shortstop: Stephen Drew has an outside chance of making his first ASG appearance. He ranks third in OPS+ for shortstops in the NL, but he'll need a strong June to make the cut. An encouraging sign: his numbers this year (.286/.352/.457, OPS+: 107) are nearly identical to his 2nd half numbers for his career, which is the time he normally take off. At worst we'll probably see more of the same, which has been great, and at best we'll have an offensive beast of a shortstop.
A couple front runners for shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (.286/.365/.465, OPS+: 119). Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (.300/.368/.478, OPS+: 117).
Third Base: Mark Reynolds has taken a huge step back from the first half production that almost got him in his first ASG. Although his batting average is low (.218), all his other numbers are similar to his career numbers. His 12 home runs so far have him on pace to get close to 30 or 40 for the season, which is really what we pay him for. Unfortunately it isn't good enough to impress those that pick the ASG roster, so don't expect him to make it this year.
A couple front runners for third base: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals (.310/.413/.589, OPS+: 166). Scott Rolen, Reds (.286/.350/.571, OPS+: 141).
Left Field: Pretty much a sinkhole of production for the year. Conor Jackson hasn't played well enough to earn an ASG berth, and Gerardo Parra has not only played worse, but also probably hasn't clocked enough time to even qualify.
Center Field: I take back all the mean things I might have said about Chris Young last year, because he finally seems to be growing into the potential he showed us in 2007. Unfortunately, his line of .271/.308/.448 is nowhere good enough to be recognized as an All-Star.
Right Field: Justin Upton seems to have taken a step back from last year, and although his numbers haven't been awful, they haven't been particularly great either. Hopefully he can get it turned around. The good thing is that his 2nd half numbers are better for his career so far. The bad news is that June is his worst month every year.
A few front runners for the outfield: Jason Heyward, Braves (.274/.402/.531, OPS+: 149). Josh Willingham, Nationals (.277/.426/.503, OPS+: 149). Jayson Werth, Phillies (.292/.374/.578, OPS+: 148). Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (.320 .391 .495, OPS+: 139). Ryan Braun, Brewers (.312/.378/.507, OPS+: 137). Matt Holliday, Cardinals (.307/.388/.473, OPS+: 130).
Starting pitchers: Ian Kennedy is the only Diamondback starter having any kind of season of note, and his ERA+ of 130 is still only good enough to be 23rd out of all NL starters. Both Edwin Jackson and Dan Haren have been incosistent this season, and neither look near their previous ASG forms.
A few front runners for the "starting" pitchers: Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (10-1, ERA+ 572, BA against .172). Jamie Garcia, Cardinals (5-2, ERA+ 306, BA against .206). Roy Halladay, Phillies (8-3, ERA+ 205, BA against .238). Josh Johnson, Marlins (6-2, ERA+ 198, BA against .213). Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (8-3, ERA+ 197, BA against .201). Mike Leake, Reds (5-0, ERA+ 189, BA against .244).
Relief pitchers: Give me a break, do you honestly think any from our bullpen will make it?
So there you have it. Kelly Johnson is our best chance to represent the Diamondbacks in Anaheim this July, but Stephen Drew has a chance at joining him.
But who do you think should represent the Diamondbacks in the 2010 All-Star Game?