It's that time of year again... time to fill out our All Star Ballots and give the power to the people.
And with that power comes the insane picks that made Jason Giambi an All Star starter despite being benched on his own team in 2004... or mediocre Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta being voted in as a starter in 2006.
It is a wonderful theory to have fans vote in players, but often times they will either simply punch in players that play for THEIR team, players they recognize or people who have had good first halves of the season.
So the staff here at Sully Baseball decided to fill out three All Star Ballots with three different sets of Ballots. And each one will have a different criteria for why each player is getting at least one vote.
I filled them out at Dodger Stadium this weekend with a little help from my friend, the Emmy winning writer and comedian Dan Cronin.
BALLOT ONE: The Players I WANT To See Play Ballot
I believe the All Star Game should be filled with players who are having a good year and will be exciting to see. By that I mean a STAR. If the National League is throwing Tim Lincecum on the mound, I want him facing down a star American League player... not someone that an egg head with a calculator tells me has a higher VORP than the league average.
Yeah I know Derek Jeter isn't having his best season... I want to see him face Halladay, Jimenez and Santana.
Is that subjective? Sure... but it's my ballot. You don't like it, get your own.
Catcher - ROD BARAJAS, Mets
His 10 homers leads all big league catchers.
First Base - ALBERT PUJOLS, Cardinals
He's had a bad May, but when the season is over, he'll be in the MVP discussion.
Second Base - CHASE UTLEY, Phillies
10 homers, .307 average and a 1.016 OPS gets the nod over Dan Uggla.
Shortstop - HANLEY RAMIREZ, Marlins
Let's see some hustle out there, Hanley!
Third Base - RYAN ZIMMERMAN, Nationals
A lot of good third basemen to pick from, I'll go with Zimmerman because he's done it over a full season.
Left Fielder - RYAN BRAUN, Brewers
His .324 average, .928 OPS and 30 RBI are among the lone highlights of this Brewers season.
Center Fielder -MARLON BYRD, Cubs
A solid center fielder hitting with power and a good average. A good Cubs signing? What are the chances?
Right Fielder -JAYSON WERTH, Phillies
If Andre Ethier wasn't hurt, he'd get my vote. Heck, Ethier might win the MVP. But for now, the healthy Werth with his .327 average, 1.048 OPS and 9 homers gets the nod.
Cather - JOE MAUER, Twins
The defending AL MVP is earning his dough with a .346 average and a .911 OPS
First Base - JUSTIN MORNEAU, Twins
Morneau leads the AL in hitting, OPS and is only 3 homers away from the home run lead.
Second Base - ROBINSON CANO, Yankees
A .335 hitters with a .956 OPS and 9 homers, Cano is becoming the next Yankee superstar.
Shortstop - DEREK JETER, Yankees
His stats will be there when the season ends. Who would rather see? Jeter or Yuniesky Betancourt?
Third Base - EVAN LONGORIA, Rays
Calm down Yankee fans. Longoria is putting up better numbers than A-Rod. Besides, I'm starting Jeter and Cano!
Left Fielder - CARL CRAWFORD, Rays
Hitting .322 for a terrific team is a smart move on his walk year.
Center Fielder - VERNON WELLS, Blue Jays
The comeback player of the year? 11 homers already to go with a .944 OPS.
Right Fielder - ICHIRO SUZUKI, Mariners
His .352 average, second in the AL, is the lone bright spot for the Mariners this year.
Designated Hitter - VLADIMIR GUERRERO, Rangers
Think the angels could use 10 homers, a .339 average and a .927 OPS?
BALLOT TWO: The First Time All Star Ballot
For some players, going to the Midseason Classic is old hat. For everyone on THIS ballot, it is their first time going and a chance to finally have the title All Star attached to their name.
Some of these names surprised me that they weren't All Stars. But, according to Baseball Reference they weren't... and why would Baseball-Reference lie to me?
Catcher - ROD BARAJAS, Mets
Yup, he is on two of my ballots. A smart move by Omar Minaya.
First Base - JOEY VOTTO, Reds
Leads all qualifying NL first basemen in hitting and OPS and has 10 homers to boot.
Second Base - KELLY JOHNSON, Diamondbacks
How does this guy have 12 homers already? And why did the Braves give up on him?
Shortstop - STEPHEN DREW, Diamondbacks
A playoff hero in 2007, Drew is flirting with .300 as a regular.
Third Base - CASEY McGEHEE, Brewers
He leads the NL in RBI and is only one behind Miguel Cabrera for the best in baseball.
Left Fielder - JOSH WILLINGHAM, Nationals
Has some power and a flair for the dramatic. He also has a .929 OPS as well.
Center Fielder -MARLON BYRD, Cubs
Like Barajas, is on both ballots. His signing slid under the radar last off season.
Right Fielder - JASON HEYWARD, Braves
Probably the first of many All Star selections.
Cather - JOHN BUCK, Blue Jays
The main piece in the Carlos Beltran trade is leading AL Catchers in homers... just not with the Royals!
First Base - KENDRY MORALES, Angels
I had to double check, but Morales is indeed an All Star virgin.
Second Base - TY WIGGINTON, Orioles
Not sure what position to put him in... but his 13 homers and .960 OPS deserves a spot on the team.
Shortstop - ELVIS ANDRUS, Rangers
Think the Braves are regretting the Mark Teixera trade?
Third Base - ADRIAN BELTRE, Red Sox
Nope, Beltre has never been an All Star before. His .335 average merits a spot now.
Left Fielder - SHIN-SOO CHOO, Indians
Think the Mariners could use his left handed swing with power now? Cleveland is happy to have him.
Center Fielder - AUSTIN JACKSON, Tigers
With Granderson hurt and Jackson hitting, not a lot of people are complaining about that trade now!
Right Fielder - JOSE BAUTISTA, Blue Jays
Did you know he was currently tied with Paul Konerko for most homers in the big leagues?
Designated Hitter - JOSE GUILLEN, Royals
Surprisingly, Guillen, with his 11 homers and 31 RBI, would be a first time All Star as well.
BALLOT THREE: The Anti All Star Ballot
The final ballot I like to call my "Sanjaya Ballot." Basically I am trying to find the absolute worst combination of players. Inevitably you will see there are players on the All Star Ballot who are barely even playing. They don't have a crystal ball handy when they make up the ballots so they don't know who is going to get hurt, stink up the joint or need psychiatric treatment.
So I found what I think is the best combination of players who are either off to awful starts, are hurt or got cut from their teams... and seeing one or two of these guys get elected might prompt baseball to reconsider the whole "Let Fans Vote" thing.
Cather - J. R. TOWLES, Astros
He has only 9 hits all year and he is hitting .191 with no power. But he DOES have 8 RBI... a pretty good hit to RBI ratio!
First Base - JEFF CLEMENT, Pirates
The Pirates thought they were getting a solid bat from Seattle, not a .180 hitter with 6 extra base hits.
Second Base - KAZ MATSUI, Astros
Remember when he was going to be the next big Mets star? Now he is the the latest unemployed Astro.
Shortstop - TOMMY MANZELLA, Astros
Another sub .200 hitter in the Astros lineup. His OPS doesn't bust .500... and neither will the Astros!
Third Base - ARAMIS RAMIREZ, Cubs
He has a hurt thumb, which would account for the .160 average and sub .500 OPS. Another unmovable Cub.
Left Fielder - CARLOS LEE, Astros
Yup. Another Astro. $19 million should buy you better than a .196 average, 5 homers and a .325 slugging percentage.
Center Fielder - CARLOS BELTRAN, Mets
The face of the Mets hasn't played a game all year. He's not even healthy enough to not swing at an Adam Wainwright pitch.
Right Fielder - MARK DeROSA, Giants
He was supposed to bring offense and versatility to the Giants line up. Instead he brought a .194 average, no power and a trip to the DL.
Cather - GERALD LAIRD, Tigers
He was never an offensive powerhouse... but a .155 average? .237 slugging? Yikes!
First Base - CASEY KOTCHMAN, Mariners
He used to flirt with .300. Now he is hitting .196. But his 3 homers almost is tops with the MarinerS!
Second Base - BRIAN ROBERTS, Orioles
The One time legit All Star wasn't producing before an abdominal injury sidelined him.
Shortstop - ADAM EVERETT, Tigers
A .197 average and .258 slugging percentage an All Star does not make.
Third Base - BRANDON WOOD, Angels
The perennial prospect is hitting .156 with an OPS of .381.
Left Fielder - MILTON BRADLEY, Mariners
To the surprise of nobody, he hasn't produced. He at least has asked for help.
Center Fielder - GRADY SIZEMORE, Indians
He's a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner. But this year he's hitting .211 with a .560 OPS, no power and languishing on the disabled list.
Right Fielder - MATT LaPORTA, Indians
The the Brewers sell the Indians a bill of goods? They certainly didn't sell them the slugger they thought they were getting.
Designated Hitter - PAT BURRELL, Rays
The Burrell in Tampa Bay experiment ended with his release after only 16 homers over a year and 2 months.
There you have it. Three ballots... three different thought processes.
Vote often. Vote insanely.
It's the American Way!