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Tigers have six All-Stars, but don't blame Jim Leyland

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

Jim Leyland, who will manage the AL team, picked one Tiger, Justin Verlander. (USATSI)
Jim Leyland, who will manage the AL team, picked one Tiger, Justin Verlander. (USATSI)

The managers get the blame. The managers always get the blame.

So you can bet fans all around the American League are cursing Jim Leyland for choosing six Tigers for the AL All-Star team -- and snubbing their favorite local hero.

Except he didn't.

He didn't pick six Tigers, that is. He snubbed whoever you want to say he snubbed, but he didn't do it to pick his own players.

Six Tigers are AL All-Stars, the most of any team. But one of them was voted in by the fans (Miguel Cabrera), and four others were voted in by American League players (Max Scherzer, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter and Jhonny Peralta).

Leyland, who will manage the AL team because the Tigers played in the World Series, picked only one Tiger, Justin Verlander. He also included Joaquin Benoit among the five players on the AL Final Vote ballot, but Benoit will be an All-Star only if fans vote for him.

It's a common misperception that the managers pick the All-Star teams. What they really do is fill out the final spots on the team, after the fans and players first have their say.

Even in that task, they're limited by the rule that requires each team to have at least one All-Star.

In the American League, the first nine spots come from fan balloting. The next 17 come from player balloting. That's 26 of the 33 spots announced Saturday, and this year none of those 26 spots went to anyone from the A's, Astros, Rays or Indians.

In the National League, the first eight spots come from fan balloting (no DH is voted in). The next 16 come from player balloting. That's 24 of 33, and this year none of the 24 spots went to anyone from the Marlins, Cubs or Padres.

Leyland had two extra spots, because Clay Buchholz and Jesse Crain (both voted in by the players) are on the disabled list and won't be in the All-Star Game. He chose Bartolo Colon of the A's to replace Buchholz, and Glen Perkins of the Twins to replace Crain.

He was left with seven spots, and three of them had to go to a Ray, an Astro and an Indian. He took one Ray (Ben Zobrist), one Astro (Jason Castro) and two Indians (Justin Masterson and Jason Kipnis). He gave the other three spots to Verlander, Chris Sale and Brett Cecil.

National League manager Bruce Bochy took Jose Fernandez as his lone Marlin, Travis Wood as his lone Cub and Everth Cabrera as his lone Padre. He had six other spots, and gave two of them to his own Giants players (Madison Bumgarner and Marco Scutaro).

Bochy's other four picks were Cliff Lee, Jeff Locke, Allen Craig and Carlos Gomez.

*****

Fans and players were in almost complete agreement on which position players should start for the American League. The only spot where they disagreed was the final outfield position, where the fans went for Jose Bautista and the players chose Nelson Cruz.

Cruz made the team as a reserve. At the other spots, the reserve spot went to the second-place finisher in the player balloting.

The fans and players disagreed at three positions in the National League. The players chose Paul Goldschmidt over Joey Votto at first base, Jean Segura over Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop and Michael Cuddyer over Bryce Harper for the final outfield spot.

Harper benefited from a late surge in voting. He was the only player voted to start who wasn't already leading in the vote totals announced early this week.

 
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