With at least 5 players heading off to the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco next week I have very little to complain about. Gone are the days where Detroit sends the lone representative that was not selected by either the fans at-large or by the players. Much of this turn in personal fortunes can be attributed in the turn in team fortunes. With Detroit games being shown on national TV with frequency this year the play of individual players, such as Placido Polanco, have certainly been noticed more. This also extends to Carlos Guillen who has put up consistent numbers through the last four years and will only now be making his second appearance in the All-Star game.
Additionally there is only a single pitcher currently slated to be at the All-Star game and that is Justin Verlander. He was pretty likely already headed there before the his no-hitter but became a virtual lock afterwards. Jeremy Bonderman is the last Tiger with a shot at going to the game and the team is using many resources to push fans to vote for him. He would make the 6th Tiger on the team but he is far from being overlooked.
The Tiger that fits the bill of being overlooked is Curtis Granderson. Curtis has been essential to this year’s offensive assault playing nearly every single day and performing the role of leadoff hitter admirably. He makes plays in centerfield that few at the position could even make today and yet he wasn’t even on the ballot. He wasn’t overlooked by the fans though, he was overlooked by his own team.
That’s not all to fair as Curtis was more a victim of circumstances. He is, as the Tiger outfield is concerned, the new guy on the block. With the off-season addition of Gary Sheffield as DH and the All-Star game being played in a National League park, Curtis was pushed off the ballot. Even without being on the ballot Granderson lead the league in write-in votes:
Curtis Granderson, Tigers — wasn’t even on the All-Star ballot, but received more than 376,000 write-in votes. Already has more triples (15) than any Tiger since Barney McCosky’s 19 ini 1940. Granderson is among league leaders in total bases, multi-hit games, slugging percentage and recently has led the American League in extra base hits.
Even if Curtis was on the ballot he faces pretty strong competition in the American League for the All-Star centerfield position but he certainly stacks up well and has a legitimate case for being there. The All-Star team includes Ichiro Suzuki (Starter), Grady Sizemore and Torii Hunter (Reserves). I’m not sure his case for taking Ichiro’s spot is too solid be he belongs. Below is a look at how Curtis stacks up on offense as well as defense against this years centerfield All-Stars.
It is pretty clear that Curtis belongs in the company of these All-Stars and surpasses some; particularly Torii Hunter. With Detroit forced to make ballot decisions early in the year Curtis was overlooked and it has become now, with the benefit of hindsight, the largest snub in all of MLB. That said, Curtis will have years of All-Star games ahead of him and for Detroit.