Might Rod Barajas be seeing stars?
Throughout their struggles in recent years, the Mets have done remarkably well in the one department that matters least: All-Star selections. After sending an unfathomable six (!) players to the 2006 game in Pittsburgh, the Mets had four selections in 2007, two in ’08 and four in ’09.
In the first National League ballot update released Tuesday, David Wright was the only Met within striking distance at his position, some 73,000 votes behind Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco. But Wright is having a down year both offensively and defensively, so if he is not voted in as a starter by the fans, he almost certainly will not make the team as a reserve.
No other Met is particularly close. Jose Reyes ranks fifth among NL shortstops and is a longshot to catch the uber-popular Hanley Ramirez or Jimmy Rollins. Jason Bay is 10th among outfielders, but is running out of time to make a serious bid for a starting nod.
If fans do not elect any Mets position players into the starting lineup, then it’s possible that Rod Barajas, who leads all NL catchers with 10 home runs, could become the team’s lone representative in Anaheim. All-Star Game rules stipulate that every organization has to have at least one representative on the 34-man roster.
In the first tally of fan votes, Barajas didn’t even rank in the top five at his position. But he may wind up the Mets’ lone representative nonetheless.
Mike Pelfrey and Francisco Rodriguez have both produced strong numbers to date this season, and either could make the NL pitching staff. But both players will face stiff competition from rotations and bullpens throughout the league, in what is shaping up to be a strong year for pitchers.
Players, coaches and managers select eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) each season. The National League manager (this year it’s Charlie Manuel) selects the rest.
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