The Seattle Mariners will have one representative at the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Felix Hernandez will make his third All-Star appearance, and represent a team that has struggled to get players voted onto this team in the last few seasons. Gone are the days when the Mariners dominated the All-Star Game in 2001, and the game is in some ways a barometer of how the team is doing.
The obligatory spot
I always have mixed feelings about the fact that each team must have a representative on the All-Star team. The rule protects certain clubs that might go years without an All-Star selection. As it is, the game still has an element of popularity over production, and we have certainly seen times where players were voted onto the team based on their accomplishments of the past. Still, there have been times when you look at the statistics of a player and know right away that they have no business being on this squad based on their performance.
There have certainly been years when I feel like a Mariner got snubbed, but not this year. There just isn't anyone who is putting up All-Star numbers other than Hernandez. I think King Felix is deserving when you look at the ERA and the strikeouts. The wins aren't there, but few Mariner pitchers rack up wins with this offense. Other than Hernandez, no Mariner pitcher is particularly dominant this year.
I can't see arguing for any Seattle hitters to be on the squad either. Ichiro is hitting a soft .274, and the core of young hitters is in the .240-.260 range. In general, I like what I am seeing from Montero, Ackley, Seager, Saunders and Smoak. They aren't crushing the ball, but they are improving and the power numbers are slowing starting to creep up. They could be a very solid lineup in a couple of years. All-Stars? Not yet. Maybe next year.
The author lives in Los Angeles, but grew up in Seattle and still roots faithfully for the Mariners even though they are sometimes frustrating to watch. He gets to Seattle whenever he can to see his M's. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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