There are nine Boston Red Sox players listed on the 2013 All-Star ballot, one for every position, including designated hitter.
With the game a month away, David Ortiz appears a lock to make the team. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury have a good chance to make it as well. A Red Sox player deserving a spot is not even on the ballot; Daniel Nava.
Looking at the past three seasons, the American League's roster usually has six or seven outfielders on it.
Mike Trout, Adam Jones and Torii Hunter are the current American League outfield leaders in All-Star votes by fans. The next three are Nick Markakis, Jose Bautista and Nelson Cruz.
Nava may not have the name recognition or the pedigree of the others, but he does have the numbers.
Nava is top 15 in the American League in average (.300), runs (38), RBI (44), OPS (.865) and WAR (2.1).
Among AL outfielders Nava is number one in OBP, top three in RBI, average, walks and OPS.
Nava has made it look easy. But it wasn’t always that way.
Daniel Nava took the long road to the majors. He was on his college baseball team. Sort of. He was the equipment manager. Nava wasn’t wearing a uniform, he was cleaning them.
Nava went on to actually play for the College of San Mateo, a junior college, after a friend encouraged him to give baseball a shot.
After two years in the juniors, Nava returned to the team he washed the jocks for, Santa Clara University, but this time he was playing baseball on a full scholarship. He hit .395.
Undrafted after graduation, Nava got a tryout with the independent league Chico Outlaws. They cut him. A year later, Nava was back with the Outlaws and hit .371. That’s when the Red Sox came calling.
In 2007 the Sox paid $1 for the rights to Nava. That’s right, one buck. For the cost of a couple of Drew brothers the Red Sox could have had 79 million Daniel Nava’s.
I think John Henry just hurled himself off his yacht.
Nava was able to rise through Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A before making his presence felt in his first Red Sox at-bat in 2010. The switch-hitting outfielder hit the first pitch he ever saw in the big leagues for a grand slam — just the second player ever to do that. Last night was the third anniversary of that home run. Fittingly enough, Nava homered.
Now Daniel Nava is a deserved All-Star.
It’s up to Red Sox Lifer’s to make sure it happens. Vote for Daniel Nava at MLB.com.