When I finally had a chance to see who was going to represent the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, it should be noted that I was understandably shocked. The fact that three players were selected from Toronto was relatively unexpected, at least to this writer.
We all knew that Jose Bautista was going to win the fan vote and be selected as a starter for the American League. That much had become apparent over the course of the final few weeks and was cemented when he passed Nick Markakis with a week to go in the voting. Bautista has been turning it on of late, raising his average to .264 with 20 home runs, 59 RBI, a wRC+ of 138, and a fWAR of 3.6.
Needless to say, he deserved the honor.
That said, I was a bit surprised that Toronto was able to garner multiple representatives. Given the poor play of the team as a whole and the depth at the other positions where Blue Jays players, well, showed up and performed, I thought for sure that Bautista’s selection by fan vote would surely prevent another, more deserving player from getting selected as a reserve.
Nonetheless, Edwin Encarnacion was granted a spot on the roster thanks to his solid first half, which includes a .266 average, 23 home runs, 66 RBI, a wRC+ of 139 and a 2.5 fWAR. He’s been Toronto’s single greatest run producer since mid-April and it was good to see him gain a selection despite David Ortiz winning the popular vote.
Okay, so I guess I could be happy there. The Blue Jays two sluggers get to represent the team as All-Stars and the people of Toronto get to be happy.
So you could imagine how intrigued I was when Brett Cecil was named to the team as well.
That’s not to take anything away from Brett Cecil and his accomplishments in 2013. His transition to the bullpen has been incredibly beneficial to this team. He holds a 3-0 record, a 1.43 ERA, a 0.818 WHIP, and a 10.2 K/9 ratio. For him to sit there today with a 1.2 fWAR as a middle reliever is indicative to just how much he’s meant to Toronto this season.
The problem is, All-Star bullpens are not known to be comprised on stellar set-up men. Generally speaking, these rosters are generally made up of starters and closers, and the middle inning guys get the snub. And Cecil is one of two on the roster, with the White Sox Jesse Crain also getting the nod. Those two got selected over qualified closers in Oakland’s Grant Balfour and Kansas City’s Greg Holland, or even a starter in Tampa’s Matt Moore.
It is a testament to what one man can do when placed into the proper role, and it is an honor most deserving for Brett Cecil in this comeback season.