Many choices in the 2010 All-Star Game were validated through various ways over the last few days.  And all season.

And one major snub will be validated for the same duration.

The Chicago White Sox have surged back to contention in the American League Central.  Great hitting by the likes of Paul Konerko and others, paired with the unbelievable pitching of the starters and bullpen alike, have the Sox 20-5 over the last 25 games.

But the real key in all of it has been the superb all-around play of outfielder Alex Rios.  He has played unbelievably in center, has shown great speed along the basepaths, and has been as consistent a hitter as anyone in the American League.

But for some reason, Joe Girardi of the New York Yankees selected Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays and Torii Hunter from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to back up a solid starting outfield.

Hunter, a perennial all-star, isn’t a problem.

But what I have a problem with is not one, but two players from the fourth best team in the same division as the AL manager get the nod over a much more deserving candidate from a team that has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.

As a baseball nut, I watch every highlight of every game, and try to catch as many games on as I can.  I also know how to read statistics.  And both of these ways to evaluate talent makes this choice absolutely despicable.

When I watch a White Sox game, I see Rios and Konerko consistently wreaking havoc on opposing pitching, whether there are players on base or not.  Now that Juan Pierre is reaching base and Alexei Ramirez has turned into a solid No. 2 hitter, the runs are flowing and the team is starting to win frequently.

I also see Rios stealing bases with frequency, gliding from gap to gap in center field, robbing home runs, making perfect pegs to all the bases and cut-off men, and hitting in the clutch.

I’ll watch a Blue Jays game, and I’ll see Jose Bautista go 0-for-5 with three strikeouts one night.  The next night he will go 1-for-4 with a solo home run and two strikeouts.  I’ll see him miss a cut-off man, show little to no speed on the basepaths, and strikeout on a 3-2 pitch with the tying run on third.

With Vernon Wells, it is almost the same story, just strung out over time.

He gets off to a super hot start, hitting home runs with regularity and driving in runs like it’s nothing.  Then he has stretches like the one he just snapped on Wednesday, where he finally singled to end an 0-for-21 slump.

Now, he’s a fantastic fielder and he has decent speed, so I won’t complain too much about Wells.  I’ll just let the numbers tell the story.

Here are the offensive statistics through July 7 for all three:

Rios – .302 AVG, 14 HR, 47 RBI, .354 OBP, .510 SLG, 22 SB, 41 K, 21 BB

Bautista – .238 AVG, 22 HR, 54 RBI, .363 OBP, .538 SLG, 3 SB, 67 K, 52 BB

Wells – .272 AVG, 19 HR, 49 RBI, .326 OBP, .542 SLG, 4 SB, 50 K, 24 BB

So, looking at those numbers, what do you see?

I see Rios with a higher batting average, way more stolen bases, and a pretty even clip on everything else.

Bautista is hitting .238, people.  Sure, 22 home runs jumps at you.  I know that.  But it’s kind of peculiar how he has eight more home runs than Rios, but only seven more RBI, right?  So he draws walks.  Big deal.  Not helping a ton that he strikes out 26 more times than Rios with that argument.  Even with the high walk total, his OBP is barely higher than Rios’s.

Wells is in the mix for several reasons, but his numbers could be argued as even more subject to criticism.  Especially in an event that offensive numbers are put on such a pedestal.  Rios has 15 more stolen bases than both of them combined, and is probably in the top five defensive center fielders in the American League—of course, behind Wells.

Now, back to the AL East bias argument.

It’s not like Joe Girardi hasn’t seen Alex Rios play.  Rios was a member of those same Blue Jays into August of last year.  He was putting up sub-par numbers until this season.  Especially for all that talent he brings to the table.

So does that give Girardi the “he wasn’t good when we played ’em, so he’s not in consideration” argument?  Very well could be.  It is difficult to follow every major league team when you have to manage a single club everyday, but when a decision like choosing the all-star team comes into play, shouldn’t he get some help, or possibly even go to an or a to see who’s most deserving?

I’m not upset that two good players on an average team are going to play in the all-star game.  I’m just upset that there was at least one player well above the offensive protocol for such an event, and he gets left out due to either a lack of knowledge from the manager, or because he plays in the wrong division.

We see legitimate snubs every year in the MLB All-Star Game.  But rarely does one like this stick out so much.  Now the game has an interesting look:

July 13, 2010, be sure to watch FOX as the National League tries to defeat the American League East All Stars!

Man, what a watch that will be!

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