Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 6/20/13
There has been a lot of rabble going into the All-Star Game next month about Dodgers rookie phenom Yasiel Puig potentially getting named to the team after just 15 games. Bruce Bochy of the Giants, manager of this year's NL squad, said he'd be hard-pressed to add Puig to the roster. And honestly, I can see both sides of the argument on this one. Puig has been sensational since getting called up. In 15 games, he's hitting .474/.500/.789. His .550 wOBA is better than every single player in baseball this June, with only Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies within 50 points of him. But yet, it's a 15 game stretch. Yeah, it's been an *awesome* 15 games, but can you really give Puig an All-Star berth based on not even a full month's worth of games? If the Dodgers didn't have any other reasonable candidates, I could see the merits of giving Puig a spot based on that. But with Clayton Kershaw a lead pipe lock for the NL pitching staff, and Hyun-Jin Ryu having an outside chance of making the team as well, there's no need to give Puig a spot just to fill the quota. Speaking of the quota, you also need to look the one team that doesn't have a logical All-Star: the lowly Miami Marlins. For as awful as they've been, three of their top four players in fWAR are outfielders, including superstar Giancarlo Stanton, who has beaten the crap out of the ball since returning in May. Do you give the Marlins selection to a guy like Stanton, Justin Ruggiano, or Marcell Ozuna, or do you instead give the nod to rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez, who is 18th among NL starting pitchers in fWAR and 16th in ERA this year? Then, you've got the three current NL starters, who it could be argued don't really deserve to be in New York next month: Carlos Beltran, Justin Upton, and Bryce Harper. Harper will likely either lose his starting job in the voting or pull out of the game due to his knee injury, potentially propelling a more deserving candidate like Ryan Braun or Carlos Gonzalez into the starting role. Beltran isn't an awful selection and would have likely made the team regardless, while Upton has fallen off a cliff after his red hot April.  You also can't forget about the players who Puig should absolutely, positively not go to the game over, including Braun, Gonzalez, Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Shin-Soo Choo, Domonic Brown, and Hunter Pence. Right there you've got seven guys, and that doesn't even consider players having under the radar great seasons like Gerardo Parra and Dexter Fowler. In my opinion, Puig isn't a slam dunk All-Star like Mike Trout was last season. I'd put him more in the Bryce Harper category of a player who I wouldn't raise a fuss if he made the team, but only if a handful of players had to pull out due to injury. But at the end of the day, does it really matter? People will complain if Puig isn't there, people will complain if Puig is there. I doubt anyone will tune in or boycott the game just because of Puig's presence or absence, but let's be honest: the ratings have been in such a freefall in recent years that you wouldn't be able to attribute any change to Puig.  You know that MLB and the Dodgers want Puig to go to Citi Field next month, just for the boon of merchandise sales it would create for the league and the team. When Bochy inevitably doesn't pick Puig, he'll probably slide into the final vote nonsense and get elected by a barrage of #VOTEPUIG hashtags. And remember, the final vote really tells you nothing, considering that four of the five players on the NL ballot and two of the five on the AL ballot last year ended up earning trips to Kansas City anyway. Puig will probably end up there, but the question of "how?" is the most interesting subplot to all of it. [follow]
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