By Greg Bowman
Who would you rather have on your team: Curtis Granderson or Austin Jackson? I have always been a huge Granderson fan, and was dumbfounded and outraged when the Tigers traded him to the Yankees for Jackson, as part of a three-team deal. Jackson seemed like a good young player, with a lot of potential. But Granderson was a superstar in making. This season, however, Jackson has moved even or ahead of Granderson in almost every offensive category. The only area where Granderson has a commanding lead is in home runs.
Jackson is hitting .326; Granderson .245. In the all-important OBP (On-Base Percentage), Jackson has a big lead .408 to 347. And while Granderson has 23 home runs to 8 for Jackson, the Tiger Centerfielder has a slugging per centage of .537 to Granderson’s .510. Jackson has seven stolen bases, to 6 for Granderson, and the Grandy man has twice as many strike-outs, 91 to 56 for Jackson. And in the field, it’s a toss-up. Neither player has an error, they both have two assists, and they have both made spectacular catches.
Now that your head is spinning with all those numbers, it’s clear that Jackson should have been named to the American League All Star team. Granderson got the most votes, joining the rest of the American League squad, which is basically made up of Yankees and Texas Rangers, along with the Tigers’ Prince Fielder. And don’t get me started on Adrian Beltre starting over the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at third. At least Cabrera was named as a reserve. Jackson didn’t even get that consolation prize.
If these All Star games are really supposed to “count,” in determining home-field advantage for the World Series, then only the best players should be chosen from both leagues. And that means doing away with the silly rule that every team have a representative on the All Star squad, whether or not they are deserving. At least the Tigers will be represented by three of the best players in the game: Fielder, Cabrera, and Justin Verlander, even if their deserving teammate Austin Jackson was snubbed.