Hafner shafted

Bob Wickman? That’s it? Really? Sure, if you look at one grossly overrated stat, Wickman deserved his All-Star selection, but not over Grady Sizemore and certainly not Travis Hafner.

Roster limitations and the every-team-must-have-a-representative rule always play a large part in the All-Star selection process, and if AL manager Terry Francona needed another bullpen arm, Wickman’s 22 saves would understandably catch his eye. What didn’t catch his eye, though, is the spark Sizemore provided the Indians when he was inserted as the team’s leadoff hitter in May. Grady’s overall numbers are outstanding (.296, 8 HR, 38 RBI, 50 runs, 11 steals and a .349 OBP) but his numbers from the leadoff spot are even better (.303, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 7 steals and a .364 OBP), and his numbers in June were downright filthy (.377, 4 HR and an unreal .455 OBP). Not coincidentally, the Indians went 17-10 in June and catapulted into the wild-card race.

Of course, not all of the credit goes to Sizemore. After a slow start to the season, Travis Hafner is now one of the hottest hitters in baseball, currently standing at .314 on the year with 17 homers and 57 RBI, numbers that currently place him in the AL’s top-20 in all three categories, and his .583 slugging percentage is good for fourth in the AL. Meanwhile, Toronto’s Shea Hillenbrand is hitting .304 with 8 homers, 37 RBI and a .447 slugging percentage…and he’s going to the All Star game. And you can’t even use the “Toronto needed a representative” argument because Jays’ starter Roy Halladay was also selected. Let’s hope the snub propels Pronk to a monster second half.

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