20. Omar Infante – 2010
2010 was a great year for random All-Stars. Infante was a glove-first infielder who occasionally hit for an empty average, meaning he didn’t walk much or hit for power. He was valuable if his singles were falling in, which they certainly were for the Braves in 2009 and 2010. He did manage to hit .321 in 2010, which was good for third in the league. He was a benchwarmer for the 2015 Royals team that won a title, getting himself a ring without ever being on a playoff roster.
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19. Matt Clement – 2005
Clement was Baseball America’s #10 prospect coming into the 1999 season. The hype train was rolling. He promptly began pitching to an ERA in the 4.00-5.00 range, which was his career M.O. His 2005 selection was clearly a wins-driven choice, as he was 10-2 at the break thanks to a powerhouse Red Sox lineup. Clement led the league in walks in 2000 with 125, and in wild pitches 3(!) different times in 2000, 2001, and 2003.
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18. James Baldwin – 2000
Definitely not the venerated writer from the recent Academy Award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, this James Baldwin was a pitcher, and a bad one. The only stats Baldwin ever lead the league in were wild pitches (14) and losses (15), both in the same season. His 4.65 ERA in 2000 was barely better than his career 5.01 mark. It’s important to acknowledge that this was the heart of the Steroid Era, which is the only way Baldwin could make the team after allowing 21 home runs during the first half. Despite getting the win in the Midsummer Classic, his most memorable moment was giving up a long homerun to Chipper Jones.
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17. Joe Saunders – 2008
How does a soft-tossing lefty who doesn’t strike anyone out make an All-Star team? Don’t walk anyone, get lucky, and play for a really good team. Saunders was the #2 starter for the 100-win 2008 Angels, which helped him win 12 games before the break. In 2008, the pitcher win was still a vaunted stat, despite the fact that it’s one of the least representative of a pitcher’s own ability. This was before King Felix won the 2010 Cy Young award with a 13-12 record, which was the watershed moment for the mainstream renouncement of the win as the end-all-be-all for hurlers.
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