I have to admit I was a little surprised Billy Butler was the Royals representative for the 2012 All-Star Game (unless Jonathan Broxton is voted in as the Final Vote) instead of Mike Moustakas or Alcides Escobar. After all, Moose was getting a lot of deserving All-Star voting attention and Escobar is having an All-Star kind of year. But I shouldn’t be surprised Butler got the All-Star nod over Moustakas and Escobar.
One, Butler is having another good year, which is Billy being Billy. It’s easy to take Butler for granted because he’s consistently good. His batting average is at .290 and his on base percentage is at .366. He leads the team in slugging percentage at .500, home runs with 16 and RBI with 48. Yes, his defense is bad and Eric Hosmer is a much better defensive first baseman. But the designated hitter is an offensive position, and Butler is an excellent hitter.
Another reason why Butler was picked over Moustakas and Escobar was the makeup of the American League All-Star roster and fan and player voting. For third base, Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is a starter, voted in by the fans. Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was voted in by the players, managers and coaches as a reserve. And compared to Moustakas, Cabrera is having a better year offensively, even if Moose’s defense is better than Cabrera’s.
As for shortstop, the Yankees Derek Jeter will be a starting A.L. All-Star shortstop until he retires. Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was voted in by players, managers and coaches as a reserve shortstop. And Texas has a good shortstop in Elvis Andrus, who is one of the reserves picked by Rangers manager Ron Washington. In Escoabar’s case, he didn’t have the player votes Cabrera had, and it was natural for Washington to pick Andrus.
Three designated hitters are on the A.L. All-Star roster. Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, another fan favorite like Jeter, is having a good year and will start. Next is Butler, who was selected by Washington. Finally, the Comeback Kid, Chicago White Sox DH Adam Dunn, who was voted in by the players, managers and coaches.
Butler is a first time All-Star and a deserving one. Moustakas is having a great year, but Miguel Cabrera is having a better year and is better known among his peers. One could argue Escobar was snubbed, but the players were more familiar with Asdrubal Cabrera and voted for him. If the Royals had a better record and more national attention, Escobar would have had a better chance to make the All-Star roster.
There is one more chance for the Royals to add another player to the All-Star roster. Closer Jonathan Broxton is on the A. L. Final Vote ballot. As of this writing, starting pitcher Yu Darvish is leading the A. L. Final Vote tally. To be honest, I doubt a lot of Royals fans will vote for Broxton. Yes, he has 20 saves. But those saves didn’t come easy and when he’s on the mound, fans wish for the halcyon days of Joakim Soria.
It’s a little disappointing the Royals have only one player on the roster, since the game is being played in Kansas City. But the Royals brought this on themselves. If they were playing better, there would be more Royals on the All-Star roster. The best way to get more players on an All-Star roster is the win the American League Pennant. For the Royals, let’s hope that’s sooner than later.