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White Sox Mon Jul 04 2011

Quentin Gets the Call as Sox All-Star

Thumbnail image for white sox.gifIn something of a surprise move, right fielder Carlos Quentin was announced Sunday as the lone White Sox representative -- for now -- in next week's All-Star Game.

Also selected as an all-star during his mammoth 2008 season, Quentin is having the best season of any Sox hitter not named Paul Konerko. Despite a .253 batting average, he has 17 home runs, 49 RBIs, a .516 slugging percentage and a .353 on-base percentage (thanks largely to 28 walks and a league-high 17 HBPs.) Among AL leaders, Quentin is tied for third in extra-base hits (40), tied for fourth in doubles (23) and tied for seventh in home runs.

Thumbnail image for 2011 mlb all star logo.jpgBut he wasn't the only Southsider who deserved consideration. Here's a look at those who missed out:

1B Paul Konerko

Before the all-stars were announced, I started to outline an article on the ballot. Without hesitating I put Konerko on the "Who Made It" side because if anyone on the team deserved it, he did. Konerko was the strongest Sox candidate and one of the most underrated hitters in baseball. He not only leads the White Sox in home runs, batting average, RBIs and OPS , but among the league leaders, he's fifth with a .317 average, fourth with 21 home runs and tied for third with 62 RBIs. He's playing as well as he did last season, when he finished fifth in AL MVP voting.

Moreover, Konerko has been around long enough to establish his name and be snubbed on previous occasions (2004 and 2010). The silver lining to it all is that he can still make the team and most likely will, based on his season so far (and the relative size of the Chicago fan base). While you have to scratch your head at Paulie not getting in already, fans can still vote him in as the final man on the roster.

RHP Philip Humber

Humber's consistently solid performances have earned him more and more attention since the Sox picked him up on waivers in January. A.J. Pierzynski argued that Humber deserves a spot on the all-star roster after Saturday's shutout win and with James Shields, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez all scheduled to pitch on the final day before the break, the AL will need to add more pitchers. Humber might have a shot.

Even before Saturday's win at Wrigley, which was due as much to defense as great pitching, Humber had strong numbers. As Jim Margalus pointed out, his four losses should really be three, after Will Ohman gave up a home run to lose the game on May 31 against the Red Sox. Humber is seventh in the league with a 2.69 ERA.

RHP Sergio Santos

If the decision about Santos was made three weeks ago, when Santos had allowed eight runs on seven hits and six walks in his past 2 2/3 innings, I would hesitate about adding him into the argument. But the way Santos responded and turned his game around (one run in his past eight appearances) is one of the reasons he should have been part of the AL roster.

Pitching two solid innings against the Cubs on Friday, Santos grabbed his 18th save, which lands him fifth in the AL. He has been a clutch closer in crucial series against the Cubs and Rockies and deserves some credit nationally.

C A.J. Pierzynski

With Joe Mauer injured, the AL catching ranks are wide open. Pierzynski should have been part of the argument considering the strong offensive performance he put up. When you compare him to Matt Wieters, AL manager Ron Washington's pick, A.J. is the clear winner. Wieters' biggest upper hand, and winning reason according to Washington, is his defensive capability. Wieters has thrown out 23 runners attempting to steal (45 percent), first in the league.

Where Pierzynski has the upper hand is offensively. He has a batting average of .290 compared to Wieters' .262, though the Orioles catcher has a 7-3 edge in home runs. Bottom line, the AL all-star catching race was a close one this year and A.J. should have been seen as a stronger contender.

Also, you can see White Sox minor-leaguers Dayan Viciedo and Gregory Infante in Sunday's Futures Game, playing for the World Team.

 
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