It's never fun when the team you root for has to be shoehorned into the All-Star Game. You know, like the 2004 Royals and their legendary All-Star, Ken Harvey. Or the '03 Devil Rays and Lance Carter. Or--I hate to say it--the 2000 Brewers and Bob Wickman.
But it might be worse when your team has a whole bunch of potential All-Stars, and that same rule--the one that ensures the Washington Nationals will have a representative this year--might just keep out some of your guys. That, combined with the fact that Milwaukee isn't exactly the biggest market in the league, might be the case this year.
For the first time since the early 80s, the Brewers have four legitimate All-Star contenders. Really! I don't think anybody has any doubts about Carlos Lee or Derrick Turnbow. It's possible that Carlos Lee, toiling as he is in little ol' Milwaukee, won't get the votes he needs from New Yorkers who are trying to write in David Wright at every position, but short of going 0-for-June, he's on the team. If Turnbow is still in the top three in the league in saves when the pitching staff decision is made, that's another no-brainer.
Chris Capuano is probably also a lock, if the chocies were made today. He's 8th in the league in ERA, 5th in strikeouts, 6th in K/9, 8th in K/BB, and he's the only qualifier to have thrown a quality start in every one of his outings. Because Cappy is so low-profile, he might get aced out if room has to be made for some undeserving Marlin, but strictly on merit, he's right up there with Pedro Martinez and Brandon Webb.
Of those Brewers who I think deserve the honor, the guy who I think is most likely to be aced out, whether because of roster limitations or because everybody takes him for granted, is Damian Miller. Damian has been a big part of the Brewers offense, providing unusual pop for someone in the 7th or 8th spot in the lineup. Among regular NL catchers, Damian is second only to Brian McCann in OPS, and leads everybody in extra base hits. As a matter of fact, he's tied for fifth in the league (not just catchers!) in doubles.
If fan voting operated on a strictly merit-based system, then McCann might get the starting nod. He's batting nearly .350 and is right up there with Damian in every other statistical category. However, I fear that the catching race will be a close one, and somebody like Mike Piazza or Paul LoDuca will be the starter, leaving Phil Garner to choose from McCann and Miller for a backup. Garner might also be partial to his homeboy Brad Ausmus, so if the NL team has three catchers, McCann and Miller can't both get the honor.
Amazing, eh? And if Bill Hall were on the ballot as a shortstop, you could make a case for him, as well--the only starter with a SLG over .500 (his is .607!) and double-digit home runs. While I might write in Hall at four positions, I'd be happy to see four Brewers represented in Pittsburgh.
Tags: Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, David Wright, Brian McCann, Brandon Webb, Bob Wickman, Brad Ausmus, Washington Nationals, Lance Carter, Phil Garner, Paul LoDuca, Kansas City Royals, Ken Harvey