|Is it too late to make an all star push for Carlos Ruiz? Getty Images.|
Carlos Ruiz leads all catchers in baseball with a .368 batting average, a .600 slugging percentage, 1.029 OPS. He also is tied for the National League lead with 32 RBI and has played some very solid defense this season. As Todd Zolecki points out, Ruiz is just short of enough plate appearances to qualify to be the major league leader in hitting in all of baseball.
Clearly, he is no better than fourth best at his posiiton in the National League.
Ruiz enters this week currently in fourth place among National League catchers in All-star voting, trailing St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, and Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann. Ruiz has just a little over half as many votes as Molina, who is the first catcher to over one million votes among the National League contenders.
- Yadier Molina, Cardinals - 1,000,048
- Buster Posey, Giants - 707,508
- Brian McCann, Braves - 707,508
- Carlos Ruiz, Phillies - 562,021
One of these players is an all star catcher,
All this tells me is that fan voting continues to be nothing more than a popularity contest, and once a catcher breaks through to the all star game it is nearly impossible for anyone else to crack the roster until someone is injured, on a decline in their career or traded to the American League.
Keep in mind one other thing. Each Major League Baseball team is represented in the all-star game every year, so somebody from the Phillies has to go. Right now, who would be sent to Kansas City? You figure Cole Hamels has a decent chance to be added to the pitching staff, and a strong case can be made for closer Jonathan Papelbon. This actually makes it more difficult for Ruiz to reach the all-star game in Kansas City this year because how many catchers can a team have on the roster, and how can a manager turn down Hamels and Papelbon, who have been all stars before?
It is not fair, but a dim reality. Ruiz is the victim of a numbers game.
With this latest all star news, Phillies fans will rally to get Ruiz voted in to the game by any means necessary. But if the Phillies want to take charge here they will need to take more action than flashing a message on Phanavision, placing a banner on their website, and having Dan Baker make an announcement prior to the first pitch each home game. The Phillies have the potential to add up to 40,000 votes for Ruiz at every home game, but they no longer employ the practice of handing out ballots to each row in the stadium early in the game, and collecting them a couple of innings later.
I can remember many years at Veterans Stadium punching out holes in the ballots for myself, my dad and grandparents. Like many, I filled out ballots with all Phillies players. Today the ballots sit idle in a number of spots around the ballpark, close to trashcans leaving it up to you to pick up a balot and return it to a drop box before you leave.
OK, so the Phillies realistically will not add 40-45,000 votes for Ruiz (and other Phillies) per home game, but they could add an extra few thousand here and a few thousand there with a little effort. While I have not asked any of them about it, I would be surprised to learn the ushers would oppose doing this f it meant getting a guy who truly deserves a spot on the all star team could get a boost.
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