No matter how you slice it, Jhonny Peralta has been the best shortstop in the American League. He has the best batting average among AL shortstops, he’s tied for the top spot in on-base percentage, and he has the top slugging percentage by a fair bit.
He’s not the world’s best fielder, but whether you like to judge fielders on fielding percentage, UZR, or defensive runs saved, his ability with the glove has rated very closely to that of Asdrubal Cabrera (if not a bit better).
If we take a look at the best first-half hitters in the American League (as judged by OPS*), we find that no one has as big of a beef about being left off the All-Star team as Jhonny does.
*Stats are entering Monday’s games
Aside: Was anyone else shocked to find five Tigers on this list? I knew that these guys were having great years, and that several had chances at the All-Star team, but to have five of the top 15 hitters in the league? I never would have guessed it.
Paul Konerko looks to be a bigger snub than Peralta (even though he finds himself part of the final vote), but he’s still the third best first baseman, so he’s about where he should be. The rosters aren’t big enough to go three-deep at many positions.
I had thought that Jhonny had a chance to get left off the team (that Derek Jeter vote really throws a wrench into things), but I had just sort of accepted it before looking at the stats. Now, after taking a peek at the numbers, I’m a little bit upset.
It’s a shame that Jhonny has been left off the team because he’s truly having a special season. He’s been one of the best in the league — the exact type of player that should be showcased in the mid-summer classic.