Some articles are easier to write than others. A lot of times, they practically write themselves. Some story lines are too rich to be ignored whereas others have a tendency to take hours; figuring out even an idea. This happens to be one of the latter.
I’ll never complain about having to write about the Chicago Cubs. Even during seasons such as this that appears to be headed nowhere. I love the Cubs. However, there’s only so many times or ways you can express it in writing. The Crosstown Classic is over, even with three more games to play. The fond farewell to Kerry Wood has been said. It’s a cold hard fact that the Cubs aren’t giving us a lot of material to work with.
So, there I sat, staring at the main page of the Cubs’ website. Maybe I was hoping to get lucky on a late breaking organizational move or stunning piece of off-day heroics. Needless to say, there hasn’t been much going on since the St. Louis series. I mean that in every way possible.
Yet, I kept at it. Item after item, stat after stat. And then there it was: The Chicago Cubs have seven players on the All-Star Ballot.
I’m still not sure I can believe that. I’d seen it before, but hadn’t exactly registered it as anything significant. Probably for the same reasons I’m depressed with them, up at 1:00am and struggling to write about something: they were playing well and now they’re falling back to Earth. Violently and quickly.
Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto.
Has that sunk in yet? Good. Castro was the only representative for the Cubs last season and Geo went in 2008. Soriano has six appearances and one as a Chicago Cubs player. Stewart, Barney, LaHair, and DeJesus have never been voted onto an All-Star team.
We all know that most All-Star selections are favorites and not necessarily “All-Star”. It’s why you’ll continue to see Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez when neither has been Jeter or Rodriguez since 2004. I wish I could give fans the benefit of the doubt when it comes to team selections, yet these are the same people who complain about the game and still vote. Until the teams are selected as they should be -from within the league itself- we’re doomed to fan favorites and guys 80 games from hanging them up forever.
That being said, let’s measure up our hopefuls against their fellow position players:
2B Darwin Barney– batting .259 tied with three other NL 2nd basemen for 10th overall. 8th in hits with 38 and has 17 runs scored, which is good for 9th. An on base percentage of .306 has him at 17th.
SS Starlin Castro– his batting average of .313 ranks him 4th. He is four hits off the lead mark of 60 behind Cardinals Rafael Furcal. 18 runs still have him in the top 10 at 8th while his OBP just has him out at 11th with .323.
1B Bryan LaHair– batting .310 is 3rd while 40 hits is 6th and 18 runs is 4th in the league. His OBP ranks 5th at .408 and he’s 5th in RBI at 21.
3B Ian Stewart– in 137 plate appearances, Stewart is batting .197, 24th among his position. An OBP of .286 is 21st overall and his runs scored and RBI totals have him ranked 11th with 14 and 13 respectively.
RF David DeJesus– as leadoff, DeJesus is batting .282, currently 6th amongst RF. His OBP, also 6th is .367. He’s scored 25 runs, good enough for…6th and is 5th in hits with 44
LF Alfonso Soriano– Tied for 7th in hits with 38, his average is 19th at .257. His RBI total of 23 earns him 5th place. His OBP however is low at .291 and 30th. Ryan Braun leads with 12 HRs, eight ahead of Soriano.
C Geovany Soto– Average .161 OBP.250 15 Hits 3 HR 6 RBI. Limited playing time due to injury.
Given these numbers and rankings, it’s fair to say the Cubs have three legitimate All-Star possibilities. I think Bryan LaHair, David DeJesus, and Starlin Castro have fared well in their respective positions and deserve a vote based on their performances.
Whether or not they fit based on popularity…we’ll have to see.
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