Each year there are players who have wonderful beginnings to their seasons and their performance compels their local fans to lobby vehemently for their selection to the all-star team roster. In most cases, the player who is elected by the fans to play that position is a proven commodity who for one reason or another has not quite had the same beginning to their season performance-wise.
Carlos Guillen, beyond a doubt has been one of the wonderful surprises to this season and beyond a doubt has out-performed his peers at the position in the American League. Even Jim Price and Dan Dickerson have taken to referring to him as Carlos Guillen, all-star shortstop. He has been a breath of fresh air with his controlled, almost relaxed style of play. His ever present cud of chewing tobacco makes him appear to be a throwback type of player. I think many Tiger fans are just clicking their heels at the thought that a team so miserable one season ago could actually be so close to .500 ball at this stage of the season. Still I believe their should be an en masse campaign for people to stuff the ballots online and at the ballparks to help Guillen to overtake Nomar Garciaparra in the fan voting. Especially considering the fact that Garciaparra only had 34 AB’s going into Wednesday June 23rd.
Here are Guillen’s rankings among AL shortstops as of the 23rd.
2nd .BA .326
1st .SLG .558
1st .OBA .386
1st Runs 49
2nd Hits 83
2nd Doubles 17
1st Triples 7
2nd Homers 10
2nd RBI’s 47
1st BB’s 28
1st .OPS .944
1st Runs produced 96 (runs +RBI)
Even more importantly, Guillen was not even targeted by the Tigers in the offseason as a primary target at a position they deemed important to upgrade in the offseason. For significantly less money they have gotten more production than they would have received had they been succesful in signing one of their two primary targets, Rich Aurilia and Miguel Tejada. In the process, they have made a significant upgrade over last year’s shortstop, Ramon Santiago.
AL Shortstop .BA .SLG .OBA R H 2b 3b HR RBI BB OPS
Guillen .322 .558 .386 49 83 17 7 10 47 28 .944
Tejada .298 .454 .357 33 78 11 0 10 51 24 .811
Aurilia .234 .316 .300 22 49 11 0 2 23 18 .616
Santiago .200 .267 .294 4 3 1 0 0 0 2 .561
Santiago has had limited action so his stats look particularly bad. I have recently learned of another telling stat from reading Allen Barra’s books. It is called SLOB which means .SLG X .OBP. This statistic tells you the number of runs a team of for example, Carlos Guillen’s would score in 100 innings. Guillen would score 21.53 if he continues at this rate. While Tejada’s team would score 16.21 and Aurilia’s 9.48.
In all of this I am not arguing that Guillen is a future Hall of Famer, like Garciaparra possibly is, I just believe he is more deserving as an All-Star shortstop and has had a greater impact for the Tigers than their other more desired options going into the season. I just hold out hope that he can continue to play at this level or close to it and it is not an aberration of their sort we endured while viewing Damian Easley, Bobby Higginson, etc through the years. You can vote for Carlos at MLB.com.