All-Star votebook: Forget-me-nots
Some who didn't make ballot worthy of consideration
Remember the old joke your friends used to play on you? You know, the one in which you tell them you're playing baseball and they cleverly crack, "Oh, what position? Left out?"
Well, after five weeks of the 2005 baseball season, quite a few players are finding themselves in that very spot because they aren't on the ballot for Major League Baseball's 76th All-Star Game, which will be played in Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday, July 12.
That doesn't mean they don't have a chance to be in the game, of course.
When Major League Baseball changed the All-Star Game roster selection rules in 2003, it allowed players to have a chance to vote in some of their peers.
And as for fan participation for the "left out" position, there's always the write-in campaign and the popular Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote, which will determine the 32nd and final name on each roster.
Here's a heady top-10 list of players not on the official list ... so far.
1. Neifi Perez, SS, Cubs: With Nomar Garciaparra out for months with a serious groin injury, Perez has stepped in and assumed control at shortstop for the Cubs. He's batting .297 with four home runs and 13 RBIs and has scored 13 runs, giving him stats that stack up with the best shortstops in the National League so far.
2. Pedro Feliz, OF, Giants: They call him "Happy Pete," and he's making his teammates happy with his stellar play in the Giants' injury-weakened outfield. Feliz entered Monday with a .319 batting average and five homers. He's also got 26 RBIs, easily the most on his team.
3. Brad Hawpe, OF, Rockies: Not many people knew his name at the beginning of the year, but the Colorado rookie has seized a starting spot and is hitting .343 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
4. Xavier Nady, OF/IF, Padres: The Padres call him "X" and he's been an X-factor for them early with four homers and 12 RBIs. Manager Bruce Bochy has said the team will get him starts against lefty pitchers all year, so look for X to get time in all three outfield positions plus third base and first.
5. Victor Diaz, OF, Mets: He wasn't expected to make the team, but he did and he's played more -- and better -- than the Mets expected. Diaz is batting .275 with four homers and 12 RBIs.
6. Grady Sizemore, OF, Indians: The can't-miss kid is starting to live up to his hype. He's getting a lot of at-bats now and is batting .268 -- the second-highest batting average on the Indians -- with three homers, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored.
7. Marco Scutaro, SS, Athletics: Ticketed for the Minors during Spring Training, the seemingly unbreakable Scutaro has taken over at shortstop for injured Bobby Crosby and responded with a .256 batting average, 13 runs scored, superb defense and a knack for the game-winning hit.
8. Willy Taveras, OF, Astros: This rookie outfielder has made the early absence of Lance Berkman at least somewhat tolerable by bringing more of a little-ball approach to the table. He's hitting .266 and has 10 stolen bases. He also ranks third on the Astros in at-bats.
9. Nook Logan, OF, Tigers: Logan is one of the quickest guys in the Major Leagues, and Detroit manager Alan Trammell is starting to take advantage of it. Logan has only 71 at-bats, but he's hitting .338 and has scored 15 runs and stolen three bases. More playing time could be on the way.
10. Dallas McPherson, 3B, Angels: OK, we'll admit it: A .200 average, one home run and three RBIs looks lame at this point in the season. But McPherson missed most of April with a back injury, has enormous power potential, and will start most of the Angels' games at third base. In other words, he could catch up to the rest of these guys in a hurry. And, like the rest of these players, he's not on the ballot.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.