Who are the Astros' All-Stars?
Fan voting for next month’s All-Star Game is winding down, and the Astros have three players who should get strong consideration for the National League team: shortstop Miguel Tejada and outfielders Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence. There are no Astros players even close to getting voted in as a starter like Lance Berkman did last year, but at least one player will be going as a reserve.
Astros manager Cecil Cooper threw center fielder Michael Bourn, who leads the National League in steals, into the All-Star mix.
“I’ve got four guys who have think are capable of doing and have those kinds of numbers,” Cooper said. “Carlos has been very consistent. He’ hitting .300 and has 12 homer and 40-plus RBIs. You look at Hunter and he’s got a great on-base percentage and has 10 home runs and has been productive. He’s a solid hitter, and Michael Bourn has been getting on and has stolen bases. All three should be considered. And Tejada has been outstanding.”
Tejada is a long shot to make the team in a league where Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia and Hanley Ramirez of Florida are playing. Tejada is a distant fourth in fan voting behind Ramirez, Rollins and Milwaukee’s J.J. Hardy.
In-stadium voting ends Friday and online voting continues into next week.
Competition in the outfield isn’t quite as stellar, and combined with the fact as many as six outfielers could be picked it appears likely Lee and/or Pence have a better shot at making the team than Tejada. Philadelphia’s Raul Ibanez, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and New York’s Carlos Beltran are the three leading vote-getters to start, with Alfonso Soriano in fourth, Shane Victorino in fifth and — yes — Manny Ramirez in sixth.
Pence entered Thursday hitting .324 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs, which are certainly All-Star-worthy numbers. Lee was hitting .300 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.
The Astros don’t have any pitchers All-Star worthy. Yes, Chris Sampson is having a great year, but middle relievers typically don’t make it. Sorry, Sammy.
Took some time Thursday to look up some numbers. Here’s where the Astros rank in the National League in a few hitting categories:
Runs: 14th at 286
Hits: Fifth at 634
Homers: 11th at 58
Batting average: Fourth at .267
Batting average with bases empty: Fourth at .278
Batting average with runners in scoring position: Eighth at .256
Extra-base hits: 12th at 195