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MLB All-Star Game 2011: Alex Gordon Still Eligible For (But Not Worthy Of) Final AL Slot

The headline already states my case most directly, so alas, I'm already on the defensive.

Alex Gordon has enjoyed a very fine first half of 2011. His current OPS is 60 points higher than any season he's played in the majors so far (.841 this season; previous high is .783 in 2008). He's hitting for a higher average than ever (.293), slugging better than ever (.479) and getting on base more than ever before (.362). He has an incredible 38 extra-base hits in the season's first half, a beautiful sign of what's to come for Gordon. And for Royals fans who have waited year after year for the second overall selection in 2005 MLB Draft to make good on his promise, 2011 has provided your answer.

What's at stake is the last slot for the American League roster in the 2011 All-Star Game -- tabulated by overall fan votes among five candidates. Those choices are Gordon, Paul Konerko, Victor Martinez, Ben Zobrist and Adam Jones. Zobrist is hitting like Chris Getz, so let's automatically throw him out. That leaves three strong hitters, all of which might be better qualified to land the final spot than Gordon.

Gordon's defenders will point to his appearance on league-leaders lists, and rightfully so. To beat them to the punch, I'll post them here. He's eighth in the AL in total hits (98), third in doubles (24), ninth in triples (4) and tenth in extra-base hits. He's also first in assists from the OF with 13. It's clear that Gordon is an all-around player who is going to be a force in all facets of the game for years to come. He's also not the best candidate for the final AL All-Star vote.

That belongs to Paul Konerko. Consider the basic numbers: .324 BA, .973 OPS, 22 home runs, 64 RBI, 100 hits. He's even cutting down on his strikeouts this year, a sign that even at 35-years-old, the ChiSox slugger continues to grow as a hitter. In fact, after a prolonged career that might bring him to the fringes of Hall of Fame consideration, this is perhaps Konerko's finest season yet. In short, how does that not earn him the final All-Star vote?

As for the other candidates, Victor Martinez is hitting 30 points higher than Gordon and Adam Jones has a few more home runs with the same RBI totals for the Orioles. All three -- Gordon, Martinez and Jones -- are having fine seasons that should make both management and the fan base quite proud. Just not All-Star proud. That's because another strong season from an unheralded first baseman deserves his fifth All-Star nod as another notch in his potential HoF belt.