Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Arizona Fall-Star Faux Pas: A Soapbox from Wallee Wright

The list of Fall League All-Stars came out yesterday and our intrepid Arizona correspondent was not amused. The good news is that Astros RHP Tyson Perez got the nod. The bad news? Well, let's hear from Wallee Wright about that as he borrows my soapbox for the day.

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The Arizona Fall League rosters for their Fall Star game were named today on MLB.com, and frankly folks, monkeys at the San Diego Zoo could have made better choices slinging dung at poster board rosters. It’s a shame the folks that make these selections have chosen to include young men who have not performed up to their billing because it lessens the honor for those who truly deserve the recognition … and Tyson Perez is one of those who has earned this recognition.

A little harsh, you say? Try this on for size … the list includes MLB Top-100 prospect number 86, Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier, who is rocking a .184/.298/.327 slash with 17 strikeouts in forty-nine at bats, but does not include the Yankees Greg Bird, slashing .343/.375/.672 with a league leading 6 home runs and sixteen strikeouts in sixty-seven at bats.

Had to get a certain number of players from each team, you say? Puzzle me this then, Batman … how does the roster include Minnesota Twin outfielder and MLB Top-100 Number One, Byron Buxton, who is stroking a modest.264/.316/.302 yet exclude Minnesota Twin outfielder/2B Eddie Rosario who is the second leading hitter in the entire league at .429/.436/.449?

But it’s the pitching staff that I’m sure those monkeys played a part in selecting … check these out – the Blue Jays Roberto Osuna made the squad with a 12.27 ERA and 2.59 WHIP in seven and one-third innings of work, walking four and striking out seven; and Tayron Guerrero of the monkey’s home town Padres made the squad with an astounding 21.60 ERA and 3.30 WHIP in three and one-third innings of work.

Not making the Falling Stars roster was our own Mark Appel, with a league high seventeen innings of work at a 1.59 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and four bases on balls to go with his fourteen strikeouts … nor did the Pirates Joely Rodriguez, with a 3-0 record in thirteen and one-third innings and a 1.35 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and three walks against 13 strikeouts. But looking forward to ‘play(ing) the best, and beat(ing) the best’ is Arizona’s Archie Bradley with his 0-2 record and 6.55 ERA with a 2.18 WHIP while walking seven and striking out eight.

This screed is not an indictment of the players selected and mentioned … it is not their fault. These young men are all superior athletes, with extraordinary skills that folks like myself could have never dreamed of possessing, and it troubles me not just a little to write something like this piece. But an All Star game should include only those whose performance warranted selection and should not be based upon the number of winter visitors from a certain area, or the location of the game, or the ranking of the players by MLB.com, which is apparently what was employed this year … unless, of course, the San Diego Zoo is missing some monkeys.

~ Wallee Wright ~

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