The rosters for the All-Star Game will be announced Saturday night on Fox and, barring something approaching divine intervention, it will mark the 13th straight year that a Royals player fails to win election to a starting job.
Alex Gordon ranked 11th among outfielders in the final balloting update released this week and was more than 1.2 million votes out of a starting spot.
Results from the player balloting aren’t known. It’s conceivable a Royals player could be selected by his peers throughout the league. Barring that, however, the selection will fall to Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
And say this much: Leyland is well-acquainted with the Royals. Even so, here’s your chance to send along some local input. The All-Star Game is July 16 at Citi Field in New York.
We’ve identified five candidates for selection, and we’re conducting an online poll to determine who you, the fans, think is the most deserving candidate.
We’ll close that balloting Friday afternoon and publish the results in Saturday’s paper.
Here are the candidates (in alphabetical order):
Designated hitter Billy Butler
His numbers are down from a year ago, when he was picked as the Royals’ lone All-Star for the game at Kauffman Stadium, but he still leads the Royals in on-base percentage and OPS+ (a metric that adjusts OPS — on-base percentage plus slugging percentage — to the player’s ballpark.)
Left fielder Alex Gordon
Has been the club’s most consistent all-round player. He leads the Royals in nearly every meaningful offensive category (hits, runs, homers and RBIs) while displaying the defensive form that could net a third straight Gold Glove. Also the club leader in WAR (the wins above replacement metric).
Closer Greg Holland
Has proved to be a worthy successor to two-time All-Star Joakim Soria as a lockdown closer since inheriting the job nearly a year ago. Has 19 saves in 21 chances and 53 strikeouts in 32 innings while compiling a 1.97 ERA.
Catcher Salvy Perez
A Gold Glove candidate who controls the running game better than anyone else in the American League. He also has been a steady offensive presence in keeping his average around .300 for the entire season. Prevailing view among those close to the club is he is the Royals’ most-irreplaceable player.
Starting pitcher Ervin Santana
Look past their win-loss records, which stem from a regrettable lack of offensive support, and Santana (5-5) and James Shields (3-6) emerge as legitimate All-Star candidates. Santana’s other numbers are, overall, slightly better than Shields’, so he makes our list.