July 06, 2010

What is going on with all these All-Star snubs? I'm not talking about the obvious ones like Reds first-baseman Joey Votto, who leads the majors in OPS, or Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, the runaway American League Rookie of the Year. They'll probably get picked in the final man voting or as an injury replacement. I'm also not lobbying for Washington newbie Stephen Strasburg, who has just six major league starts to his credit.

I'm wondering where all the West Coast guys went. You might have heard the theory before, better known as East Coast bias. With many fans and reporters not on Pacific or Mountain Standard Time, they tend to neglect the games in the West. In major league baseball, 22 of the 30 teams play home games in the other two time zones.

To make matters worse this season, both All-Star deciders, Joe Girardi and Charlie Manuel, manage in the East for their respective leagues. It's the only reason Braves utility man Omar Infante made the team, because he has a knack for beating Manuel's Phillies.

Who did the fans and managers get right? There is Angels OF Torii Hunter, Athletics RP Trevor Cahill, Mariners OF Ichiro Suzuki and SP Cliff Lee, Diamondbacks OF Chris Young, Dodgers OF Andre Ethier and RP Jonathan Broxton, Giants SP Tim Lincecum and RP Brian Wilson and Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez. Of course, every team has to have one All-Star representative, so with only three extra West Coasters, I'm still not seeing the love.

To make amends, I've picked my 2010 All-Snubbed-West-Coast Stars. You won't see any of these guys at next week's All-Star game (at least not in a baseball uniform) without some sort of divine intervention but they deserve recognition:

C Miguel Olivo, Rockies -- He leads all regular catchers in batting average (.307) and OPS (.901) while guiding Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez.

1B Aubrey Huff, Giants -- Huff's average (.290) and power (15 HR) have returned after a one- year absence.

2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- Arizona's leadoff man has more homers (13) than fan favorite Chase Utley and a similar OPS (.845).

SS Rafael Furcal, Dodgers -- L.A.'s sparkplug missed a few games due to injury and bereavement but still leads all shortstops in batting average (.338) and OPS (.888).

3B Juan Uribe, Giants -- He's hit for surprising power (12 HR, .448 SLG) while showing off his versatility at third base, shortstop and second base.

OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies -- The all-around talent is having a breakout season (.295, 14 HR, 52 RBI and 12 SB).

OF Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Looking past his boneheaded moves on the basepaths and an average first-half (.268, 15 HR, 47 RBI and 10 SB), Kemp is still more exciting to watch than say, Marlon Byrd, the lone Cubs representative

OF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- He's been outplayed by fellow outfielder Young but Arizona's most talented player will finish with better numbers by year's end (currently .260, 14 HR, 39 RBI and 11 SB).

SP Jered Weaver, Angels -- Not to be confused with his brother Jeff, this Weaver leads the majors in strikeouts (124) and is 8-3 with a 2.82 ERA.

SP Mat Latos, Padres -- How can San Diego, the best pitching staff in baseball, not have an All-Star representative? Latos is the team's leader at 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA and a miniscule 0.96 WHIP.

SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- King Felix wasn't treated royally by Girardi despite having thrown the most innings (121.2) in the A.L. with the third-most strikeouts (116) and a 3.03 ERA.

RP Health Bell, Padres -- He leads the majors in saves (23) with a 1.72 ERA and is a big reason why San Diego has the best record in the N.L.

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