07/09/2012 by anjru0805
After Giancarlo Stanton dropped out of the All-Star game due to a knee injury (and surgery), it was announced that Nationals OF Bryce Harper would replace him on the roster. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past five or so years, Harper is only 19 and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated three years ago. He was arguably the most anticipated MLB player of all time and is still considered the “next big thing.” Harper had an illustrious high school, college and minor league career. I expect that his major league career will follow. However, he’s not there now and the All-Star Game rosters should not be chosen based on potential.
What separates the MLB All-Star Game from say, the NFL Pro Bowl, is that it actually matters. The league that wins the All-Star game is awarded home field advantage in the World Series. The NFL Pro Bowl means nothing, the players don’t try and the fans don’t watch. If home field advantage in the World Series is a good thing (which it is), shouldn’t each league put the absolute best players on the field?
Bryce Harper is not an elite player. He’s good but he doesn’t deserve to be on the NL All-Star roster.
Let’s look at a few key statistics and see where Harper ranks.
Harper is hitting .282, 15th best among NL outfielders.
Notable non-All-Stars above him (with their rank): Martin Prado (.321, 4th), Matt Holliday (.317, 5th), Michael Bourn (.311, 6th), Dexter Fowler (.300, 8th), Jason Kubel (.293, 10th), Andre Ethier (.291, 11th), Hunter Pence (.285, 12th) and Angel Pagan (.284, 14th).
We can eliminate Holliday and Bourn because they were selected to replace injured players on the NL roster. Ethier is out too, because of his injury.
Harper has committed 5 errors in just 63 games played, second highest among NL outfielders.
Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence have also committed 5 but they’ve played in 80 and 86 games respectively.
Harper has stolen 10 bases and hustles as much as anyone. But his hustle and speed shouldn’t be a reason to put him on the team.
Notable NL OFs with more stolen bases:
Michael Bourn (25), Juan Pierre (20), Drew Stubbs (17), Angel Pagan (15)
Bourn and Pagan should be an All-Star but Pierre and Stubbs obviously should not.
Some might think it’s cool to have a rookie in the All-Star game. I disagree with this whole-heartedly because of the whole based-on-merit thing but I’ll entertain the idea. Jordan Pacheco (.302/.335/.392), Norichika Aoki (.301/.369/.450) and Todd Frazier (.278/.345/.556) have all played in about as many games as Harper (.282/.354/.472) and have better numbers.
Bryce Harper might surprise a lot of people by playing well in the All-Star game. Baseball is a game of statistics and Harper doesn’t have them to be deemed one of the game’s best. I don’t care if he’s six years old or has three arms, if you told me about a .282 hitter and a liability in the field, I’d pass on him for my All-Star roster.