UPDATE: Fans righted the ship in the final days of voting by pushing Alex Avila into the starting catchers role for the American League.
The MLB All-Star Game is meaningless. I will be the first to admit that. Even the league recognizes this after ending the 2002 classic in a thrilling 7-7 tie.
But the selections do matter. When players' careers are remembered and evaulated in retrospect, All-Star selections play a key role in their legacies. Fair or not, it serves as a metric to a players worth when compared to their peers.
That's why I am taking exception to a likely participant in this season's Midsummer Classic, Yankee's catcher and leading vote-getter Russell Martin. Look below at the statistics for three of the leading candidates to start behind the plate for the American League.
The data clearly shows that Martin's performance this season has been subpar in comparison with Martinez and Avila, who are both having exceptional seasons. Not only is Martin's average down, he also has the fewest runs batted in, despite playing for the leagues’ most potent offense.
10 other catchers in the American League have collected more hits than Martin this season, including the likes of Yorvit Torrealba (Rangers), Miguel Olivo (Mariners), and Jorge Posada (Yankees, DH/C). He has also surrendered the third most stolen bases in the AL (43).
I am not blaming Martin, nor will I criticize a system that allows fans to vote their favorite players into the game. I am blaming Yankee's fans, who are too ignorant to realize that the anchor of their defense is an average player in the midst of the worst season of his career.
If anything, Martin should be embarrassed by the selection. I would be.