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On Tuesday the American and National Leagues will square off as All-Star representatives meet in Kansas City where the two leagues battle for home field advantage in the 2012 World Series. For the eighth time in his career, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz heads to the game, this time with the honor of being the starting designated hitter for the AL. However with the celebration of Ortiz comes the question of whether other Sox players were perhaps deserving of a spot on the roster, namely catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and reliever Scott Atchison.
Both players have had significant roles for the Sox this season, with Saltalamacchia establishing himself as one of the better power hitting catchers and Atchison seemingly making appearances every other day. Each player has a fair case for a place on the team:
Stats: 365 games, 45.1 IP, 36 H, 9 BB, 33 K, 0.99 WHIP, 1.79 ERA
Atchison has certainly been a workhorse for Bobby Valentine out the bullpen, but there are just too many relievers in the AL squad more deserving. The one pitcher I’d say Atchison could have been favored over was Oakland’s Ryan Cook (1.46 ERA in 37.0 IP, with 21 BB and 38 K), especially given the comparison in their strikeout-to-walk ratios, but the hits allowed by Atchison make up for it. Additionally Cook made the roster as Oakland’s lone representative, as each team must have at least one player.
Stats: 68 games, .235/.285/.513, 17 HR, 41 RBI
Obviously two things jump out on Salty’s stat line, his home run total and his low batting average. The power has been dramatically impressive, as he has already surpassed his previous career high home run total of 16 last year. He leads all major league catchers in home runs as well, but he’s not quite up to the All-Star standard quite yet. Mike Napoli earned the fan vote with the Rangers, while Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters are backups. Mauer’s .326 batting average easily makes him an All-Star for the Twins while Wieters might be the best defensive catcher. Salty has had a great year for what he is, but he’s a year or two away from developing into a potential All-Star caliber player.
Overall, the contributions of the two players have been very significant for the Red Sox, but do not necessarily compare to the performances of other players at their positions across the league. The two remaining off the roster may be disappointing, but the final roster is nearly perfect in identifying true All-Stars across the league.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Mike Napoli, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Ryan Cook, Scott Atchison, Texas Rangers