Is there a reasonable case in saying that the Chicago Cubs should have more players representing the team in the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star game?
Yes, the Cubs started off with a rocky April and early May; Yes, they are currently going through a losing streak in series wins; yes, they have struggling pitching and batting now, but we all know what they are capable of when they get on a hot streak. In the month of June the Cubs have played 10 games and have only won two. With the All-Star game creeping up, players need to get hot again if they want to get a chance to start in the big game.
Last year the Cubs were lucky enough to have two players go to the All-Star game with Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair. LaHair is now playing in the Japanese leagues and Castro is in a rut. In his first two seasons in the big leagues, Castro combined to hit .304 in 2010 and 2011. Castro’s batting average has slumped this year with an average of .240 so far. As of now this is not that big of a deal because there is still plenty of season left to play, but as far as the All-Star game is concerned, this is a big problem. In the last two seasons Castro was elected to represent the Cubs but this year he is not even considered in the top five.
The Cubs do however have some candidates who are slipping under the All-Star radar. When it comes to pitching most would think of Jeff Samardzija as the best possible candidate. Those people would have a strong case to present but there is one other pitcher the Cubs have who is having a heck of a season. Dale Sveum has committed that he would list Travis Wood as the Cubs top All-Star candidate because of his consistency. With a 2.65 ERA, Wood is currently in eleventh place in National League ERA and the only Cubs pitcher to have an under .300 ERA. With a 5-4 record on the season, Wood is leading the NL with the fewest hits per nine innings with a 6.115. Also worth noting is that Wood does have a grand slam on the season. However let’s not forget about Samardzija. With a 3.18 ERA and 98 strikeouts on the season he has established himself as a powerful strikeout pitcher. He currently leads the NL with 98 strikeouts per nine innings at 10.337.
The Cubs do have two potential All-Stars in pitching, but do they have any position players who can join them?
Anthony Rizzo is the main candidate that is being pushed to go for the Cubs but again there is another player or players who could go just as well. Rizzo does have 10 home runs and 39 RBI’s on the season but shouldn’t Nate Schierholtz, Dioner Navarro, Cody Ransom and David DeJesus be promoted as well. Schierholtz currently leads the team in slugging percentage with a .524, and he is second in batting average with runners in scoring position. Dioner Navarro is a veteran catcher who has had a great season so far coming off the bench. How could one forget about the game where he hit three home runs? He has one of the top three slugging percentage on the team and his on base percentage is outstanding with a .358. David DeJesus is leading the Cubs in on base percentage and batting average. He has turned himself into a terrific lead off hitter. He doesn’t swing and miss much and he knows his strike zone very well. Cody Ransom is a player who should start at third base for the NL. Pablo Sandoval is the current leader in the ballots but if one was to look at each players stats they would notice that Ransom has had a better season so far. Pablo has more HR (8), RBI (37) and Runs scored (26) then Ransom does but he also has more at bats (225) then Ransom. Ransom has hit 7 HR, 13 RBI and scored 11 runs on the season so far but that is with only 68 at bats. With 57 more at bats then Ransom, Sandoval is able to lead the NL for third. Also it could be that he is on a reigning World Series Championship team.
Only one thing is certain and that is that the Cubs will have at least one player in the All-Star game. According to official All-Star game rules “each team has to have at least one representative on its league’s All-Star Roster.” Who the representative or hopefully representatives will be is still a question mark. Hopefully fans will start to see how good Cubs players really are and how under the radar they are.
Current NL Ballot Leaders