Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Monday, July 07, 2008

Letter to Joe Sheehan

Hi Joe,

Excellent piece on the ASG roster selections, but I do find myself puzzled by one of your comments. You denounce (quite correctly) the "thought" process that goes into choosing players for the game based on a hot streak of two months while ignoring past history. On the other hand, you make the comment, regarding pitchers who were left off, "No Cole Hamels or Johan Santana, but Ryan Dempster and Brandon Webb."

Never mind Dempster; his selection is silly. Brian Wilson, who you also mention, is another perfect example of players and managers not understanding what defines an elite player but instead being distracted by a bright, shiny bauble (ohhhh, saves! pretty, pretty saves!). But to mention Brandon Webb in the same group is to be guilty of the exact reverse of the prejudice you oppose.

Webb has been one of the elite pitchers in the game almost from the moment of his debut in 2003. Webb has never had an ERA+ of worse than 126. He was better than 150 each of the past two seasons; this year he stands at 132, hardly the record of an undeserving pitcher. Your implication of him as undeserving of selection seems to be based entirely on a poor 4-5 weeks in June and July, ignoring his record from 2003-2007 and his April-May of 2008, in which he had a BB/K ratio of 16/66.

I fully agree that Johan Santana and Cole Hamels are elite pitchers of the type who should be found in the All Star game, while Ryan Dempster and Brian Wilson are not. But to imply that Brandon Webb is some sort of fluke or undeserving selection is a comment perhaps born of frustration and beneath the standards of your usually fine commentary.

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