01 July 2012
The 2012 MLB All-Star rosters were announced on Sunday, and SP Wade Miley was the only Diamondback selected. Both 2B Aaron Hill and 1B Paul Goldschmidt were left off the rosters (Hill is part of the Final Vote), despite having better numbers than those selected ahead of them.
Aaron Hill - .301/.362/.516, 11 HR, 38 RBI
Jose Altuve - .309/.351/.453, 5 HR, 23 RBI
Paul Goldschmidt - .293/.369/.542, 11 HR, 35 RBI
Bryan LaHair - .284/.364/.526 - 13 HR, 28 RBI
Both Hill and Goldschmidt are also considered better defensively than Altuve and LaHair. However, the overlooking of Hill and Goldschmidt was not due to poor choices by Manager Tony LaRussa or the Commissioner's Office, but by the Players' Voting. The All-Star Roster Rules specify that the starters are chosen by the fans, and the reserves are chosen based on balloting by the players. If the Players' pick matches that of the Fans, then the Players' #2 pick makes the team.
In the NL, the players selected the following:
C Yadier Molina, 1B Bryan LaHair, 2B Jose Altuve, SS Starlin Castro, 3B David Wright, OF Ryan Braun, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Andrew McCutchen.
The picks of LaHair and Altuve suggest two possibilities:
1) The players voted too early, as those two were playing very well early in the year. If they had voted on June 1, those picks probably made sense, as Goldschmidt and especially Hill have hit very well over the last few weeks.
2) The players remember the hot starts of LaHair and Altuve, and didn't notice the recent surges by Hill and Goldschmidt. This seems unlikely, since Hill's two cycles have put him all over the news in the last two weeks.
It is worth noting that NL Manager LaRussa did add four position players after the Fans' and Players' selections - C Carlos Ruiz, SS Ian Desmond, OF Jay Bruce, and OF Giancarlo Stanton. A strong argument can certainly be made for Hill over both Desmond and Bruce - neither pick was forced on LaRussa by team representation requirements.
To prevent this type of error from happening again in the future, the solution seems simple - start the voting later, like perhaps one month before the game. Sadly, I don't MLB really cares to improve the selection process - starting later would almost certainly mean that much fewer ballots would be submitted, which would look bad from a PR perspective.