Yesterday we picked Baltimore’s token All-Star representative; its Meathook All-Star if you will. My choice was Brian Roberts, and reader votes are tied up between B-Rob and George Sherrill. By All-Star standards, neither will light anyone’s fire, but neither is a pockmark on the game either.
Today, however, we look at Washington’s token rep, and, whoa boy, this could get interesting. For one, the list of candidates is much shorter. And, you know, whomever the chosen one is will be at least a bit of an abomination and, with any luck, could crack the illustrious top 10 worst All-Stars of the new millenium.
Here are the top candidates for Washington’s All-Star spot, along with my pick and a poll at the bottom so we can reach some kind of consensus:
Christian Guzman — key stats: 46 R, .311 AVG — Guzman is 8th in the NL in batting and leads the league in hits. He also leads in at-bats, hardly ever walks and doesn’t hit for power. Still, he seems like the obvious choice, until considering the other half-dozen NL shortstops — Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Miguel Tejada, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Theriot and Yunel Escobar — with resumes and Q ratings in excess of or equivalent to Guzman’s.
John Lannan — key stats: 3.34 ERA — He’s got the NL’s 12th-best ERA. He’s also 4-8.
Jon Rauch — key stats: 2.25 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 15 SV — A career middle reliever who’s handling closing duties with The Chief on the shelf, Rauch would be the tallest All-Star ever. (I think. Didn’t look it up.) He’s only 8th in saves, but he has the 4th-lowest ERA and 2nd-lowest WHIP of all NL closers.
Tim Redding — key stats: 6-3, 4.05 ERA — The team is somehow 14-3 in his 17 starts and 17-46 in their other 63 games.
My pick? Thank God Guzman is hitting over .300 and Rauch’s ERA is under 3.00, because if either slid to the other side of those marks the Nats would have an awfully embarrassing representative. But hey, that’s what you have to give when you sport the league’s worst record.
For my money, the pick’s gotta be Rauch. I mean, he’s actually good, and has consistently performed well during his time in D.C., whereas Guzman has been a stinking pile (or an injured stinking pile) for the past three seasons. Plus, who would you rather see as an All-Star: a 6’11” pitcher with a neck tatt or a fat shortstop with a petit goatee?