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Hunter Pence Is Qualified To Be An All-Star

Look, I'm not saying I don't think the Astros are a bad team, because they obviously are, but sometimes the snarking on them does get a bit out of control. Allow me to demonstrate this via Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who created an NL All-Star team and couldn't resist a jab at Hunter Pence.

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For the last spot, Pence beat out Michael Bourn for the spot as somewhat deserving Astros rep.

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Pence is no superstar, and he's not as good as a few of the outfielders in the NL, but I don't see how you could say he's only somewhat deserving of an All-Star spot. Defensive metrics are notably finicky early in the season, and the only reason Pence's WAR isn't close to the top 6 among NL outfielders is because he's getting weighed down by a -1.5 defensive rating there. Even then, you're splitting fractions of a hair when it comes to worthiness over the course of a half-season. 

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Pence probably wouldn't be an All-Star based on just this year's numbers if he wasn't an Astro. That doesn't mean he's not deserving of it. Justin Upton and Shane Victorino are hardly dominating him by the numbers. This isn't a situation where the Marlins wind up sending a woefully young Alex Gonzalez to the game (1999!) because they have no other choice: Pence is qualified. 

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.