According to the Diamondbacks site, "Justin Upton is one of the most exciting young players in baseball. But if he is going to make a second straight All-Star Game appearance, he's going to need some help from D-backs' fans." That's because Upton is currently sitting 12th in All-Star balloting among outfielders, almost 650,000 votes behind the current third-place man, Andre Ethier of the Dodgers.
But does Upton deserve to be an All-Star this year?
Even as a Diamondbacks' fan, I'd have to say he doesn't. Never mind being among the best outfielders in the National League, his production this season doesn't even make him the best outfielder in Arizona -- Chris Young has a batting average that's 25 points higher, with as many home runs and eleven more RBIs than Upton.
Really, there are a number of Diamondbacks who deserve the honor more than Justin.
Last year, it was a different matter. On this date in 2009, Justin Upton was batting .320, with a .991 OPS -- that's almost two hundred and forty points higher than at this point. It currently ranks only sixth on the Diamondbacks, not only behind the man who patrols the outfield to Upton's right, but also Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoche, Stephen Drew and the largely-unsung Kelly Johnson.
If anyone should be an All-Star for the Diamondbacks this season, it's probably Johnson, who has proven to be a very good pick-up for the team, especially considering the Braves simply declined to offer him a contract this winter.
He has hit .267, but leads the team in walks, which is just what you want from your leadoff guy. As a result, his on-base percentage is .371, the best on the team, and with a dozen homers he has already far surpassed his total from last season.
Of course, it won't happen by popular ballot -- no Arizona player has been voted on to the All-Star team since Luis Gonzalez. But in a season which has largely disappointed Diamondbacks' fans, Kelly has been one of the brighter spots, and it would be nice to see this acknowledged with a trip to Anaheim. Alternatively, we can just send the entire bullpen to the All-Star game, because who better than them to serve up the balls for the Home Run Derby?
Jim McLennan is the Manager of our fine Diamonbacks site, AZ Snakepit.