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Carlos Lee an All-Star

Carlos Lee was named to the NL All-Star team earlier this evening.

In addition to being the the only Astro named, Lee was one of seven outfielders named to the All-Star team, and made the squad as one of the eight offensive players named by the players' vote.

I am a big fan of the idea that every team should be represented, and since that rule is in place, Carlos Lee is the obvious representative from the 'Stros.

And although Carlos Beltran seems a biased choice from the fans, I really can't argue that Carlos should be starting. He's 11th among NL outfielders in OPS, and he's seventh among leftfielders in VORP.

But still, you'd think that Lee would've received a lot more love for his 67 RBIs.

Time was, leading the league in RBis as an outfielder as you entered the break would get you punched into the starting lineup. I guess this is more about how the RBi has become devalued. Runs driven in and the numbers about them are dismissed out of hand by a good amount of fandom these days. I don't know if its the same segment that voted for Beltran, but the point remains.

I for one still believe in the concept of a "run-producer," and Carlos Lee has been the best in the league this year. You've seen the RBI totals, but have you seen this?

Top Five NL Outfielders
Min 100 PA
Player Team OBI OBI%
Matt Holliday COL 49 .201
Carlos Lee HOU 52 .197
Jeff Francoeur ATL 44 .196
Brad Hawpe COL 42 .194
Hunter Pence HOU 27 .189
If you've read here for a while, you'll have seen OBI before. It's a stat tracked at Prospectus, and it means "Others Batted In," RBI minus homers. The purpose of its associated percentage is to deflate the argument against the use of RBIs as a critical stat, that opportunities to drive runners in are not equal. OBI% evens the field by tracking RBIs per opportunity, and it shows that Lee has come through for his team as much as anyone in baseball.

And whoa, there's that Hunter Pence kid again.

Anyway, I guess this has been less about the All Star team than about my own biases. But congratulations to Carlos Lee for becoming Houston's 52nd different player to be named to the All-Star team. That the Astros are in the midst of a disappointing year does not change the fact that he belongs at the game.

For the time being, Carlos becomes the first lone representative of the Astros at the Midsummer Classic since 2003, when only Billy Wagner made it. And Lee is more like Alou and Clemens than Drabek and Kent and Pettitte as a free agent who came to Houston and made the All-Star team in their first season. Seeing the level-headed way Lee approaches the game, it's not surprising that he has succeeded even under high expectations.

The other thing going on is that Lee doesn't necessarily have to be the Astros' sole representative. Once again, Roy Oswalt is on the ballot for the Final Vote, where MLB invites the fans to correct the most egregious snub. Don't know if Oswalt is that, but I'm going to vote for him anyway.

You can do so, as well, here.

Houston's 52 All Stars

Pitchers Hitters
  Andujar Lidge   Alou Knight
  Clemens Lima   Bagwell Lee
  Cuellar Niekro   Bass May
  Dawley Oswalt   Beltran Menke
  Dierker Raymond   Berkman Morgan
  Drabek Shane Reynolds   Biggio Mumphrey
  Farrell Richard   Caminiti Puhl
  Forsch Ryan   Cedeño Craig Reynolds
  Hampton Sambito   Cruz Staub
  Harnisch Scott   Davis Thon
  Hudek Smith   Ensberg Watson
  Jones Wagner   Kent Wynn
  Kile Wilson  
  Knepper Woodeshick