Let’s face it. No one really pays much attention to the Oakland Athletics these days. In fact, it seems no one ever did pay much attention to the A’s. Last year, the A’s lone All-Star and future AL Rookie of the Year, Andrew Bailey was penciled in by AL manager, Joe Maddon. The A’s starters or candidates, if you will, did not receive much support outside the bay area.
The east coast seems to focus on just the big names, rather than giving credit to those players who are actually performing well during the season.
Despite hitting .309 with 9 RBI’s through the seasons first two weeks, A’s OF, Ryan Sweeney will probably go overlooked by most voters.
Daric Barton, who leads the A’s in OBP (.492), OPS (.901) and walks (15) will probably get overlooked as well. It seems as if no matter how well the A’s play they fail to garner much recognition. They sort of fly under the radar while the New York Yankees and Boston RedSox receive most of the attention.
This season, the A’s All-Star candidates are OF Ryan Sweeney, OF Rajai Davis, OF Coco Crisp, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, SS Cliff Pennington, 2B Mark Ellis, 1B Daric Barton, C Kurt Suzuki and DH Eric Chavez.
Among those nine players, Eric Chavez, to me, seems most deserving of appearing in an All-Star Game. In his prime, Chavvy was one of the best, if not the best, thirdbasemen in the game. In 2001, Eric Chavez hit .288/.338/.540 with 32 HR and 114 RBIs. Needless to say, despite his success, Chavez failed to gain considerable recognition throughout the country. The following year, Chavez hit .275/.348/.513 with 32 HR and 109 RBIs and still failed to garner enough votes for the Mid-Summer Classic.
Now, Chavez is a shell of his former self. Deprived of his remaining prime years due to injury, Chavez now serves as Oakland’s primary DH. Currently, Chavez has proved to be healthy and as a result is currently hitting .244/.250/.366 with 3 RBIs. More importantly, Chavez has managed to hit five doubles–an indication that he’s got some power left in his bat.
Aside from my own fantasy All-Star pick, Kurt Suzuki is the A’s most deserving player to be deemed an All-Star. Although, Brett Anderson is quietly making a name for himself and could be the A’s representative in Anaheim this year. Suzuki, however, plays almost everyday and is considered the next best thing after Joe Mauer. Despite early struggles, Suzuki is expected to be a big contributor on offense.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ryan Sweeney and Daric Barton are all equally deserving as well. Hopefully, more fans will vote this year for the players who are producing rather than just voting for a “recognizable name” on the ballot.