Yesterday over here at MLBDD, I took a look at five players that have never received an invitation to the All Star Game that should be expecting to RSVP to next year's event. We're going to twist things up today, though, and give you five players that received an invitation to this year's event that shouldn't expect to RSVP to this kind of thing ever again. So instead of looking at guys that have never made it that probably should soon, we're going to look at guys that recently made it that probably won't ever again. Got that? Okay, cool.
So here they are, the five biggest one-hit wonders from this year's incarnation of the MLB All Star Game.
Derek Jeter - Shortstop - New York (AL)
Just take some deep breaths, and accept it: for all of his past greatness, Derek Jeter simply shouldn't be playing in the All Star Game any more. Sure, there are probably millions of ravaging Yankees fans that absolutely need to see Jeter play amongst the best of best (he'll play up to the competition!!!), but realistically, Jeter can't be better than the fourth- or fifth-best shortstop in the American League these days. Maybe in 1999, when being fifth-best meant being behind A-Rod, Nomar, Tejada and Vizquel, could you justify putting the No. 5 shortstop in the league on the All Star team. But when only three AL shortstops are landing on the roster, and one of them is a 37-year-old Jeter, well, that probably can't last.
Jose Valverde - Relief Pitcher - Detroit
Ah, the mighty power of the save. Jose Valverde is now a three-time All Star, having made it in 2007, 2010 and 2011. The unfortunate part of this whole thing? May I present to you his FIP rankings, among qualified relievers, from those three years: 46th, 73rd and tied for 93rd. Not only was Valverde NOT one of the best players in his league during any of those seasons, but he wasn't even one of the best relievers in any of those seasons, either. But then, may I present to you his save rankings from those same seasons: 1st, 18th and 7th. Ah, so that explains his presence. One of the biggest problems with this game has become the incredible usage of relievers both on the rosters and in the games themselves, and Valverde is like the poster boy for these issues. I really hope that I don't have to see him pitch in another All Star Game.
Scott Rolen - Third Base - Cincinnati
Honestly, Scott Rolen being an All Star this year is a borderline travesty. This isn't a knock against Rolen, who's been one of the best players in baseball since hitting the majors; rather, I'm just genuinely confused about how someone could perceive Rolen's 2011 play as All Star-worthy. We don't even need to get into the fact that he's only played in 62 games this year, 20+ less than many other regulars. Really all I need to do is point towards his the on-base percentage, which sits at .276. That's two-seventy-six, for you anti-numerals out there. Rolen hasn't just been a bad hitter this year, he's been flat-out awful. You can ignore that he's still a plus defender at third, or that he's still hitting his fair share of balls into the gaps. That .276 figure says everything that you need to know about whether Rolen deserves to be an All Star. Unless you have 30 homers and play elite defense at shortstop, you can't get away with a .276 OBP and deserve to be an All Star. Or at least, you shouldn't.
Ryan Vogelsong - Starting Pitcher - San Francisco
By now, practically everyone knows Vogelsong's story: after getting knocked around for five years in Pittsburgh, Vogelsong pitched in Japan from 2007-2009 before returning to the U.S. in 2010. He bounced around with some Triple-A clubs, and the Giants found him intriguing enough to give him a minor league deal over the winter. When an injury popped up in the rotation, Vogelsong took over the spot and pitched himself into the All Star Game with a near-2 ERA in 14 starts. Neat story, for sure. Unfortunately, you don't get "neat story" points for like fifteen years, so this is probably going to be the peak of the former journeyman's career. He's already almost 34 and his peripherals indicate that his ERA should take a nice hike in the coming months; at this point, we should just enjoy the story, but don't think that the Giants have unearthed another ace or anything like that.
Kevin Correia - Starting Pitcher - Pittsburgh
First, we covered the Pirate-turned-Giants All Star, and now we'll cover the Giant-turned-Pirates All Star. Correia, now 30, spent the early portion of his career as a reliever with San Francisco before breaking through as a starting pitcher with the Padres in 2009. San Diego brought him back for 2010, and even though he actually improved his xFIP, his luck took a major turn for the worse, and the Padres let him go after the season. In a somewhat odd move, the Pirates snapped up Correia on a two-year deal worth $8 million, but they're looking pretty vindicated right now, as Correia's 11 wins and 4.01 ERA were enough to get him an All Star bid this year. But like with Vogelsong, this will likely signify the peak of Correia's career as a pitcher. Already in his 30's and lacking fantastic peripherals, Correia isn't likely to get better from here, and frankly, he's not all that great at moment, either. Guys like Correia are obviously extremely useful; they just don't usually end up on All Star Game rosters.