Rays: Who Gets All-Star Nod(s)?

Under-performing (and recently injured) Carlos Pena is ranked fourth among first basemen in fan voting; Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton are ranked 14th and 15th respectively among outfielders. So the fan vote doesn’t look too fruitful for the Rays. The team may be kicking ass, but star power has yet to catch up. Players, managers and coaches also vote, but it may not be enough to compensate for fan disinterest.

So it may be yet another one-Ray year on the All-Star team. Why? Because, while the team is achieving way beyond any past season, not that many Rays are having what are commonly known as All-Star years. So what Rays have the best shot?

I don’t follow the other MLB teams well enough overall to know who is excelling at the different positions, but right now you've got to look at catcher Dionner Navarro. He’s batting .313 (the only Ray sregular over .300) and has been throwing out baserunners with regularity. His homerun (4) and RBI (31) totals are pretty low, however.

Also due consideration is third baseman Evan Longoria, who has quickly proven himself to be one of the best fielders at his position and leads the team in homeruns (15). But generally rookies have to post mind-blowing numbers to make the All-Star team.

Starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and James Shields have performed well, but have had their share of bad breaks (Kazmir missed several weeks of the beginning of the season due to injury) and moments of inconsistency. Left-hand reliever J.P. Howell has amassed a remarkable 6-0 record (3.00 ERA), but relievers, other than top closers, rarely get All-Star nods.

So that leaves several Rays as hopefuls, but no real locks. If I had to predict — and if I had to choose, for that matter — it would be Kazmir. After missing several possible starts due to injury, he’s 7-3 (with a couple of heartbreaking no-decisions) and has 2.28 ERA.

More than that, though, he’s been the Ray that has had the most dominant moments. If Kamir can dominate the Red Sox tomorrow night, that would go a long way toward solidifying his All-Star status.

With online voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game closing out Wednesday night, it seems a good opportunity to assess the Rays players most likely to go. You’d think, with the best record in baseball, that the local club would stand to place more than the mandatory one player on the American League roster.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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