It has been 12 years since the Royals have had multiple players in the MLB All-Star Game, but this could be the year that streak ends.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at beautiful Kauffman Stadium on July 10. For 3 days, the city of Kansas City and the Kansas City Royals organization will take center stage in the baseball world. The hope was that the Royals would have an exciting young team that would be in contention at that point in the season. And while there is still time for that to happen with just under 2 months to go until the game, things have gone mostly poorly for the Royals so far this season. There was the injury to Catcher Salvador Perez, the injury to Closer Joakim Soria, the comical Broxton beanball walk-off loss in Oakland, the disastrous first inning the team played in front of its home crowd, the injury to Center-fielder Lorenzo Cain, the slow start by Alex Gordon, the 12 game losing streak, the Hochevarity of SP Luke Hochevar, the sub-.200 batting average of Eric Hosmer, Jonathan Sanchez becoming the pitcher version of Juan Gonzalez, and most recently the season-ending elbow injury to SP Danny Duffy. Nobody expected this season to go perfectly, but certainly nobody could have expected all of that disaster to hit before May 15. But despite all of that, there have been several bright spots for the Royals so far this season. And while it is extremely unlikely that any Royal gets voted in as an All-Star starter, it is not far-fetched to think that there are as many as FOUR players who could be deserving of selection as a reserve. Let’s take a look at these players, one by one, along with their primary competition to this point at their respective positions.
Billy Butler-Kansas City Royals
David Ortiz-Boston Red Sox
Edwin Encarnacion-Toronto Blue Jays
Adam Dunn-Chicago White Sox
Analysis: While “The Butler” is having a very nice year to this point, unless he goes on a surge and separates himself from this group in some way it is going to be very difficult for him to get selected out of this group. It is pretty clear that based on the numbers at this point, he would be the 4th most deserving candidate of these four players. Not to mention, the likelihood of two DH’s being selected is not good.
Mike Moustakas-Kansas City Royals
Miguel Cabrera-Detroit Tigers
Evan Longoria-Tampa Bay Rays
Adrian Beltre-Texas Rangers
Analysis: With the type of defense he’s been playing, and the fact that statistically nobody is separating themselves from the pack here, Moose has a very good chance at being selected as a reserve. Cabrera will likely get voted in as the starter, and the numbers at this point are close enough that is easy to see defending American League Champions manager Ron Washington going with the hometown guy in Moustakas. Unfortunately, it is also easy to see him going with his own guy in Beltre.
Alcides Escobar-Kansas City Royals
Derek Jeter-New York Yankees
Elvis Andrus-Texas Rangers
Mike Aviles-Boston Red Sox
Analysis: Clearly Derek Jeter is deserving of the starting spot he will surely be voted into. And while Aviles is having a very solid year to this point, his relative anonymity and the fact that he is extremely unlikely to continue to put up numbers like this make him the odd man out of this group. So once again, that would leave Ron Washington deciding between one of his own players and one of the host city’s players. Though he lacks the power numbers, the defensive reputation combined with the average, steals, and home-field advantage give Escobar a very good chance of being selected.
Alex Gordon-Kansas City Royals
Adam Jones-Baltimore Orioles
Josh Hamilton-Texas Rangers
Curtis Granderson-New York Yankees
While Gordon’s numbers don’t stack up at this point, this selection was taking into consideration the fact that he got off to such a slow start to begin the season and has hit put up very good numbers to get up to the respectable level he’s at now. If he continues at the pace he’s been on since he broke out of his funk, he will be right in the mix come decision time. And given the fact that he deserved to make it last year and didn’t (with Washington also being the manager who snubbed him), he should have a very good chance of being selected.