I was all ready to hate on Jason Castro. The Houston Astros catcher is what inspired me to assemble the team you are about to see. When I heard that Castro was an All-Star, I laughed. I figured that the MLB’s stupid rule that every team has at least one representative at the Midsummer Classic was the only way Castro could have ever made the American League’s squad.
Then I looked at his stats. Turns out, Castro is pretty much the third (or maybe fourth depending on your opinion of Cleveland’s Carlos Santana) best catcher in the AL. He’s having a legitimately good season (.266/.330/.474) for a terrible team.
So fine, Castro. You have escaped my snark for now. But others aren’t so lucky. Thanks to the MLB’s every-one-gets-a-medal All-Star rule, there have been some clunkers that have been paraded around as the league’s best. I’m here to bring them to light. Some ground rules: I’m picking from the last 15 years because, well, I can. And I’m only selecting reserves, so guys who have sucky seasons but won the fan vote because of popularity don’t count. The more obscure the guy, the better. And having terrible stats isn’t the only criteria; Joe Schmoe could have had a legitimately solid half season, but through hindsight we know just how bad he was.
Meet the Worst All-Stars All-Star Team.
Mark Redman, Kansas City Royals 2006
2006 stats (at All-Star break): 6-4, 5.27 ERA, 32 Ks, 32 BBs
For some reason, Mark Redman was the first guy I thought of when coming up with this list. Redman was, at best, a very average pitcher. According to Baseball Reference, his comparable to guys like Pete Schourek and Dave Mlicki. Fact is, the Royals have been bad for a long time. In 2006, they lost 100 games, but someone from the team had to make the ASG. That guy was Redman, in his lone season in Kansas City. He finished the year with a 0.1 WAR. The better Royals selection would have been with Ryan Braun, who was . . .wait. That’s not the same Ryan Braun.
Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh Pirates 2011
2011 stats: 11-7, 4.01 ERA, 59 Ks
Winning 11 games at the break makes you look good with some old dudes who think that VORP is a brand of hair gel. But hindsight makes these picks easier to make: Kevin Correia posted a 1-4 record with a 7.23 ERA to finish the 2011 season.
Jose Rosado, Kansas City Royals 1997
1997 stats: 7-4, 3.39 ERA, 73 Ks
I hate to pile on the Royals here, but consider this: Jose Rosado was an All-Star in two of his five (mediocre) seasons as a pro. And while those stats look decent, he went 2-8 with a 6.75 ERA over his final 15 starts in 1997. Rosado had a very lucky first half, with a .249 BABIP. Then reality hit, as that jumped to .335 in the second half.
Kent Bottenfield, St. Louis Cardinals 1999
1999 stats: 14-3, 3.78 ERA, 89 Ks
I don’t care that Kent Bottenfield won 18 games that year. I have never heard of Bottenfield, and I was in my baseball card collecting and obsessing prime in 1999, so that’s saying something. Plus, he was buoyed by Mark McGwire’s 65 home runs that year. Anyone can win 18 games with the help from those ‘roids.
Mike Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates 2003
2003 stats: 0-3, 6.87 ERA, 13 saves
We bow down to you, Mike Williams, owner of the highest ERA of an All-Star ever. You truly are the WASOAT (Worst All-Star of All-Time).
Damian Miller, Arizona Diamondbacks 2002
2002 stats: .263/.355/.469, 9 HRs, 36 RBI
Granted, that’s a solid stat line for a catcher. But I have always harbored silent resentment against Damian Miller because his likeness would never appear in MLB video games because he wasn’t a member of the MLBPA (he was a replacement player during 1995 spring training after the strike season of 1994), so I’d always have to go in and manually change his name in order to have the most accurate rosters possible. All right, I was a nerd.
Cesar Izturis, Los Angeles Dodgers 2005
2005 stats: .275/.322/.338, 1 HR, 20 RBI
Cesar Izturis was a glove man, through and through. His offensive ceiling is .275, which he magically hit in 2005. I’d get his selection if he was the only rep for the Dodgers, but Jeff Kent was voted in as a starter. There is no rightful place for Izturis on this All-Star team, but there is on the Worst All-Stars All-Star team.
Ken Harvey, Kansas City Royals 2004
2004 stats: .305/.353/.426, 10 HRs, 34 RBI
Ken Harvey was a force for Washington’s defense in the 1990s, making four Pro Bowl appearances…wait. It happened again. This is some guy also named Ken Harvey who wasn’t an above average middle linebacker and instead was a ho-hum first baseman who played 271 games in his short career.
Ron Coomer, Minnesota Twins 1999
1999 stats: .282/.312/.415, 11 HRs, 37 RBI
Nope. Not All-Star quality.
You know how rampant steroid use must have back at the turn of the millenium when MIKE BORDICK hit 14 home runs in one half of a season when he finished with 91 total over a 14-year career.
Robert Fick, Detroit Tigers 2002
2002 stats: .290/.352/.479, 11 HRs, 40 RBI
There was once a time in Detroit when Tigers fans looked on at Robert Fick all misty-eyed and said to their young sons, “There goes the next Bobby Higginson, boy. Make sure you appreciate him while he’s here.” Turns out, Fick was only the next Mike Blowers.
Greg Vaughn, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2001
2001 stats: .244/.330/.497, 21 HRs, 60 RBI
Greg Vaughn was a four-time All-Star and hit 355 career home runs. He was no scrub. But his 2001 and final All-Star season was pretty Rob Deer-esque. I always got the feeling that Vaughn was quietly envious of his cousin Mo Vaughn, who was more popular and generally better overall. Sorry to tell you, Greg. But Mo would never appear on this list.
Scott Podsednik, Chicago White Sox 2005
2005 stats: .294/.369/.344, 0 HRs, 17 RBI, 29 SB
Scott Podsednik was a light-hitting lead-off man who helped the Sox win the 2005 World Series. But really, he was a poor man’s Otis Nixon. I still like Podsednik, though. He’s from West, Texas, the town you may know now because it literally was almost wiped off the map after a horrific fertilizer plant explosion earlier this year. Prior to that tragedy, Podsednik was the most notable thing to come out of the Czech-settled town. It makes me yearn for simpler times.