Who’s your A’s All-Star?

Your obvious A’s All-Star candidates are Kurt Suzuki and Andrew Bailey. Quickly making his way into that mix is Trevor Cahill, who has been downright nasty in his past couple of starts, particularly his last two, which has resulted in a 2-0 record and 1.31 ERA. Add in the 21/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio through those 20 2/3 innings of work, and the tale gets even better. He lost two of his first four starts but has since won his last seven decisions. Cahill’s final two tests will come against a pair of power-loaded teams: first, the Yankees, against whom the 22-year-old has yet to face in his career; then come the Angels, whom Cahill has fared well against in five starts (2-1, 2.56 ERA). So, assuming he continues his hot streak against said teams, he should — in my opinion — be invited to the All-Star Game. The thing is, though, as we already know, he won’t be allowed on the active roster since he’s slated to pitch Sunday. And if you’re a team like the A’s who are likely to boast just one representative, don’t you want that representative to actually step onto the field at some point? So, my other vote, who happened to rightfully be noted by Geren today, is Craig Breslow. When those outside of the A’s community think of potential Oakland All-Star relievers, Bailey immediately comes to mind. And yes, Bailey is again having another good year (his 1.64 ERA is seventh lowest among AL relievers), but there are many who would send Breslow in a heart beat. As Geren said today, “If we need to win a game, I always put him in.” His opponents are batting .156 against him, which happens to rank fourth lowest among AL relievers. And the amount of work he’s been given (39 games, second in AL) speaks for itself. He’d automatically give the AL a dependable lefty in the ‘pen, as he’s done for the A’s pretty much all season.

Bottom line: Cahill, without a doubt, deserves to be an All-Star. His current 2.74 ERA ranks fourth among all AL starters and his .274 opponents BA is good for third. Breslow, also, deserves to represent the A’s. So send them both. One sits, one (hopefully) pitches. Both are honored, as they should be.

Of course, that’s not taking anything away from Bailey or Suzuki, the latter whom I’ve yet to speak of. Suzuki’s value to this team is undeniable, but I’m not so sure his current numbers (.258, 10 homers) are going to cut it in the competitive AL catchers race. Then again, Geren’s on the coaching staff, and he’s said countless times that Suzuki would be his pick, so it will be interesting to see how much pull he has in it all.

Either way, the All-Star representatives will be announced tomorrow, so make sure you keep an eye out on the A’s site for who’s headed to Anaheim in a week.

Who gets your vote? Comment, and tell me who and why.

A. Andrew Bailey
B. Craig Breslow
C. Trevor Cahill
D. Kurt Suzuki
E. Other

1 Comment

You raise an excellent point Jane. I’ve never really agreed with pitchers going to the all-star game, but their manager saying “he can’t pitch”. (I seem to recall Barry Zito once throwing to one batter…) Really, what’s the point? Send someone who can, and will, play.

Cahill has been excellent, and definitely deserves a spot. Excluding yesterday’s outing, he had a 1.35 home ERA and no homers allowed at home; after an ERA over 4 and a MLB-worst 20 home HR allowed last year) I’m impressed with how far his curve and change-up have come along. It would be nice to see him pitch in the game (when exactly is the last time an A’s pitcher got into the game – I know Bailey didn’t last year, and Duke the year prior).

As impressed as I am with Breslow’s numbers, worthy as they are, I don’t know why set-up/middle relievers don’t get more respect. They are a key part of the game, but rarely make the all-star game (rather, let’s throw a closer in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, find three guys who can throw 95+, as they’ve done in recent years. Bailey’s having a good season, kind of quiet, but there’s so many closers who are always all-stars, or having a similar year, with more saves/strikeouts, so it’s harder justifying him (I’m still thinking rewarding players like Breslow for a standout year – kind of like Jose Bautista – is the way to go, rather than just vote in the ‘names’.

That said, I would love to see Suzuki in there. Sure, his average is only around .260, but he’s leading the team in HR (by far, even with time missed to injury), and is a dangerous clutch hitter. Not to mention that A’s pitchers have a 3.34 ERA with him behind the plate; by far, tops in the majors. He doesn’t get enough credit for the game he calls.

I’d really love to see an All-Star game some day. But for now, I also suggest we send Jane, to cover the game via Twitter (for those of us who can’t watch/listen to the game, her tweets help).

At this risk of sounding like a suck-up… very good article! Good stats and cases for the players, and it got me thinking!

Can’t wait to see more articles.
~Kevin

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