As we close the seventh week of the 2014 season, Oakland Athletics fans can expect more than the customary one player selection for this year’s All-Star Game in Minnesota on July 15. After 44 games, the A’s have proven themselves as one of baseball’s best with a 28-16 record with a host of players that are deserving of action in the Midsummer Classic.
Josh Donaldson (10 HR, 35 RBI, .280 BA) and Derek Norris (4 HR, 20 RBI .354 BA) should be serious considerations for Boston Manager John Farrell if not voted in as starters. It’s unknown where the duo rank in current balloting in what is basically a popularity and stadium vote contest. Donaldson leads his position in the major three categories. Norris’ .354 BA is 40 points higher than the closest contender and, even though he’s been platooned with John Jaso, his 4 HRs are only two behind the leader for the position.
Fans should remember Donaldson, and his impressive mid-year stats, along with Jed Lowrie, were snubbed last year in what was called “a numbers game” – the “game” being that Tigers manager Jim Leyland selected five additional Tigers players to go with Miguel Cabrera who was also voted in.
Sonny Gray (5-1, 52Ks, 2.10 ERA) is making his name known since his ALDS Game 2 appearance last October. He’s is the A’s pitching ace, second in the AL with a 2.10 ERA, and a win vs. loss that’s bound to get better as the A’s excel.
Not to be ruled out is A’s starter Scott Kazmir (5-1, 43 Ks, 239 ERA), who was robbed of another victory by getting the quick (and uncalled for) thumb by homeplate umpire Jerry Layne on Saturday, May 17. Brandon Moss (9 HR, 39 RBI, 301 BA) is 11th in the AL for batting average and his combined stats are best among AL first basemen.
Last year’s Home Run Derby winner, Yeonis Cespedes, should get the callback for HR Derby also.
The A’s have not had a position player on the All-Star roster since Ramon Hernandez in 2003 and have not had a player voted in for the starting line-up since Jason Giambi was named in 2001. The A’s have not had more than one player on the AL roster since 2010 when Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, both pitchers, were chosen. Oakland has not sent multiple position players to the Midsummer Classic since 1991 with Rickey Henderson, Dave Henderson, and Harold Baines.
This once wasn’t a problem in Oakland in 1989 – 1997, when fans were familiar with players such as Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, and even Dave Henderson were familiar faces in the game. In the 70s in wasn’t uncommon for the A’s to have enough players with Captain Sal, Reggie, Catfish, Campy, Vida, and Rollie (notice, didn’t even need to use last names) decked out in the green and gold – which they did, splitting their jerseys, some wearing green and some in gold – on the field of the All-Star Game.
If the A’s players and pitchers continue to produce at the current rate and the team maintains its winning ways, regardless of name recognition.
Voting is available online until 8:59 p.m. on July 3 and voting will be available at the Oakland Coliseum until June 20. The AL team will be unveiled on Saturday, July 5.