Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Questionable All Stars Pt. 6: Shea Hillenbrand

The All Star selection process is such a subjective procedure that sometimes deserving players get left off. Then there are times when players who do not deserve to be All Stars are named to the team.

Shea Hillenbrand was elected to start the All Star game in just his second season. Hillenbrand was a serviceable player and had some power, but he seemed allergic to taking a walk, which drove down his value significantly. 2002 was one of his better years, but to say that he deserved to start the All Star game is another story entirely.

In the first half of the 2002 season, Hillenbrand hit .298/.331/.490/.821 with 13 home runs. Certainly decent numbers, and he probably deserved to be an All Star, but not good enough to start. 2002 was a bad year for third basemen though. The real problem was that Hillenbrand only walked 11 times in that first half. In 370 plate appearances. His inability to occasionally get on base other than hitting was what eventually led the Red Sox to trade him, because he did not hit nearly often enough to make up for not getting on base.

At the end of the year, Hillenbrand's numbers were .293/.330/.459/.789 with 18 home runs and 25 walks. The next year, he was traded to Arizona for Byung-Hyun Kim and Bill Mueller took over at third base and won the batting title.

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