The Case for Bonderman

With the All Star team as it stands today, Jeremy Bonderman will be watching the game from home rather than appearing in front of his home crowd when the All Star game takes place. However, a spot could open up should Kenny Rogers decline his spot. If that happens, manager Terry Francona would be wise to take the 22 year old.

Of course, the premise of this debate lies on whether or not Kenny Rogers decides to attend the All Star game or not. Because he has appealed the suspension, he is still able to pitch in Ranger games, until his appeal is heard. But that doesn't change the fact that Rogers' actions were indefensible to say the least.

Unprovoked actions such as Rogers shouldn't be rewarded with an All Star appearance, regardless of how well he has pitched. For the sake of the game, Rogers should (and the Rangers expect him to) step back and allow someone else to take his place.

It originally came out that AL manager Terry Francona, with his final selection, chose righty Bartolo Colon over his own righty Matt Clement. Colon was obviously the deserving choice, and there should be no debate over his merits in the game.

However, does Clement really command the final position over Bonderman? The stats aren't as clear cut as many would have thought.

Currently, Clement sports a 10-2 record with a 3.85 ERA, coming off his victory on Wednesday night. Bonderman's record is fairly similar, as he has one more win, a few more losses, and a slightly higher ERA (11-5, 3.99 ERA). Off those stats, it's tough to choose a clear cut winner.

Looking deeper, their peripheral stats are fairly close as well. Bonderman has a slightly lower WHIP (1.24 to 1.27) while Clement has an edge in strikeouts (97 to 93).

But what about keeping your team in the game? Bonderman takes a slight edge here. Obviously he has the extra victory, and while they have the same number of quality starts, Clement has received nearly a full run more of run support as he gets nearly seven runs from his offense each time he takes the mound (Bonderman receives less than six). That differential would lead to Clement having a much easier time winning ballgames. Yet Bonderman has still won more.

Plus, sentimental factors must be taken into account. Besides the fact that Bonderman has put up near identical numbers while being eight years the junior of Clement, he's also a member of the team hosting the game. The Tigers currently only have one other All Star; Pudge Rodriguez. Adding a second member to the group would give Detroit the respect of not appearing to have the lone required representative when they've been given the honor of hosting the game.

And not only that, but Boston already has four members of its everyday lineup starting in the All Star game – and while nothing should be taken away from those players as they've all had tremendous seasons, this is an All Star game that represents all 30 major league ball clubs, is there really a need to make a large portion of the team all from the same city? I don't believe so.

Should Rogers end up foregoing his spot, it's likely that Francona will indeed replace him with his own ace, Matt Clement. But that should take nothing away from the fact that through three months, and at just 22 years of age, Bonderman has in fact earned the right to pitch in front of his home fans in the Midsummer classic.

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