First-timers Gordon and Perez to represent Royals in 2013 All-Star Game + Holland snubbed?

Just when everyone thought the Royals easy choice for the All-Star game was closer Greg Holland, the Royals had two position players – catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon – selected as reserves, marking the first time since 2000 (Mike Sweeney, Jermaine Dye), that the Royals had two position players in an All-Star Game. It is the first time since 2003, that the Royals had two players (Sweeney, Mike MacDougall) selected as All-Stars.

“Two very deserving guys, two homegrown guys. That’s special,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s kind of a gauge where you’re going as an organization. When you’ve got two All-Stars on one team, it’s not just the obligatory one pick any more. That’s special. These guys both were voted on by their peers, which is special. It just shows how well they’re perceived and how well they’re doing in the American League.”

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City Royals

This selection has been a long time coming for Gordon (.292/,351/.426, 8 HR, 46 RBI), who has arguably been the best left fielder in the American lead the last three seasons (an incredible 6.9 WAR in 2011-12) and was snubbed in a deserving 2011.

“I think it’s just cool to be selected by the players,” Gordon said. “That’s when you kind of get noticed and that’s when you see that other players, your peers, are really respecting how you’re playing. That’s really cool and I couldn’t be any happier.”

“If you asked me three years ago, I would’ve said no chance,” Gordon added. “As Ned says, it’s something no one can ever take away from you.”

I am very surprised that closer Greg Holland (2-1, 1.91 ERA, 20/22 saves, 0.96 WHIP, 14.9 K/9) was not selected. He has simply been dominant for two months since his last blown save May 6 (0.86 ERA, two runs, seven hits and 37 strikeouts in 21 games, including 30 strikeouts and just three walks in his last 17 innings), and was, I thought, an easy selection – the best pitcher on the best pitching staff in the American League and whom I think he was the most deserving player on the roster.

“I think everybody in the clubhouse knows it [that Holland deserves to be an All-Star]” Gordon said of Holland. “His numbers are pretty amazing and I told him, ‘This is pretty cool but you’re well-deserving as well.'”

The All-Star roster selection is not the easiest process, and it is awesome that the Royals got two players in, but we two position players from a putrid offense, while not getting a pitcher from the best staff, chosen. It is not that Perez and Gordon are not deserving, but a surprising move. Gordon was KILLING it until George Brett’s arrival, when he went in a prolonged slump. I thought that slump, would dip his numbers enough that he would not make the All Star Game. Perez is a STUD, and this is the first of many All-Star games for him, but I was surprised to see him make it, but I thought if the Royals were to get a position player, he would have the best shot.

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“No, not this soon,” said Perez, whom Yost has labeled a “future All-Star.” “Like I told you guys, I just play hard every day and do my best for my team every time. After the game, after going 0-for-4, the last thing I thought was that I’d be going to the All-Star Game.”

Perez, the first Royals catcher selected since Darrell Porter in 1980 (also a selection in 1976) and only the third catcher ever chosen (Ellie Rodriguez, 1969), is hitting .302 with four home runs, 15 doubles and 36 RBIs in 71 games. Perez will join another first-timer, Houston’s Jason Castro, in backing up Joe Mauer.

I am also surprised that Holland, who has struck out 43.8% of the batters he has faced this year – the best in baseball and the fifth best ALL-TIME, wasn’t even included in the five-player fan vote, but there is no way a Royal would get voted in (Gordon in 2011 and Jonathon Broxton in 2012 were nowhere close) and he has a better shot to be named as a replacement. I would say there is an outside shot that Eric Hosmer could also be added as a replacement, but his recent hot stretch (6 homers in the last 10 games/seven in the last 13) is probably not enough to make up for the fact that he hit just one dinger in the first two months.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at the New York Mets Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16.

***

American League roster
Starters
C Joe Mauer, MIN
1B Chris Davis, BAL
2B Robinson Cano, NYY
3B Miguel Cabrera, DET
SS J.J. Hardy, BAL
OF Mike Trout, LAA
OF Adam Jones, BAL
OF Jose Bautista, TOR
DH David Ortiz, BOS
Pitchers
RHP Clay Buchholz*, BOS
LHP Brett Cecil, TOR
RHP Bartolo Colon@, OAK
RHP Jesse Crain*, CWS
RHP Yu Darvish, TEX
RHP Felix Hernandez, SEA
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA
RHP Justin Masterson, CLE
RHP Joe Nathan, TEX
LHP Glen Perkins@, MIN
RHP Mariano Rivera, NYY
LHP Chris Sale, CWS
RHP Max Scherzer, DET
RHP Justin Verlander, DET
Reserves
C Jason Castro, HOU
C Salvador Perez, KC
1B Prince Fielder, DET
2B Jason Kipnis, CLE
2B Dustin Pedroia, BOS
2B Ben Zobrist, TB
SS Jhonny Peralta, DET
3B Manny Machado, BAL
OF Nelson Cruz, TEX
OF Alex Gordon, KC
OF Torii Hunter, DET
DH Edwin Encarnacion, TOR

*- Chosen on Player Ballot, injured
@- Injury replacement

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