American League All-Stars
In honor of the Major League Baseball All-Star game played Tuesday, here is my American League All-Star team. 22 position players, 12 pitchers, each team represented (as much as this pains me, I suppose since the roster is so damn big, everyone should have a guy there at the very least…though they don’t do that in the NFL). (S) for starter. Comments below each position.
C: Stephen Vogt, Oak (S), Salvador Perez, KC
As I’ve always said in the past, I have no use for 3 catchers on a roster. Could’ve probably made a case for either Russell Martin or Brian McCann. But putting better players on the team at other positions is my preference. Vogt edges out Perez to start, but I wouldn’t quibble either way. Maybe Perez deserves it since his team is better. Whatever…I’m sticking with Vogt.
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Det (S), Albert Pujols, LAA, Mark Teixeira, NYY, Mitch Moreland, Tex
4 first basemen may be a little steep. And Teix and Mitch Moreland(??)? Don’t love Teix’s .240 average. But 22 dingers and 62 RBI’s, plus 10th in league in OPS is hard to ignore. Moreland has 16 bombs and is 13th in the league in OPS, if you can believe that. I’m putting him on, like it or not. Miggy is still the man and Albert must have found some juice again with his 26 taters…but it’s all good for the game.
2B: Brian Dozier, Min (S), Jose Altuve, Hou, Jason Kipnis, Cle, Dustin Pedroia, Bos
Not enamored with taking 4 second basemen. But the first 3 are legit. That’s actually exactly what I wrote last year, albeit with different players. Dozier gets the start, but again, I would not argue if you wanted to go with Altuve or Kipnis there either. Pedroia? Well, he is my one rep for Boston. .819 OPS (22nd in league), 9 dingers, .306…works for me. Brock Holt was in the real game as the Red Sox lone rep. Love the dude and what he has done. But All-Star? I think not. Clay Buchholz? Hahaha…that guy is a joke. Xander Bogaerts or Mookie Betts? Close, but couldn’t do it. More on them later…
3B: Josh Donaldson, Tor (S), Alex Rodriguez, NYY
This is where I start taking some liberties. It’s my team, I can do it if I want. Donaldson is the clear choice here, especially since he may be one of the leading MVP candidates now. Backup? Sticking A-Fraud here. I know he hasn’t played here in a while. But so be it. It’s a crime that he didn’t make the real squad. MLB celebrated Pete Rose in this year’s game, but A-Rod wasn’t there? Didn’t seem right.
SS: Manny Machado, Bal (S), Carlos Correa, Hou
You thought last year’s shortstop crop was weak? Putrid this year. Downright atrocious. That’s why I’m sticking Machado here. He could still do it I am sure after going through the Orioles system as one, but being blocked by JJ Hardy in the bigs. And I am taking Correa too, despite the less than 150 plate appearances so far in the bigs. He’s come in with a bang. Let’s start rewarding the kids! Alcides Escobar started in real life…yikes! Jose Iglesias was his backup…double yikes! Xander Bogaerts is better than both those guys, but I still didn’t think he had enough. Plus I didn’t want to be accused of being a homer…anyway, back to Iglesias, yeah, he’s fifth in batting at .314. But it’s about as empty a .314 as you can get. He still looks terrible at the plate. His defense is probably still top notch (made a fantastic play in the actual game), but if it is such a difference, why is his WAR only 1.3? He’s even only 9-15 in steals. Couldn’t go there.
OF: Mike Trout, LAA (S), JD Martinez, Det (S), Lorenzo Cain, KC (S), Jose Bautista, Tor, Alex Gordon, KC, Brett Gardner, NYY
Trout and JD Martinez are obvious. You could argue Gardner over Cain, but really doesn’t matter. Don’t love Bautista’s .239 average, but like Teixeira, can’t ignore the power numbers. Plus, he could play some third on this team! Maybe could make a case for Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts or even Hanley Ramirez but went with Gordon…a full year after writing, “Alex Gordon? Nah.” He is a better player than I ever gave him credit for I will say. You may say, “where is Adam Jones?” I may say, “where is he is right!” Had a phenomenal start to the season, but has tapered off dramatically since then. I’m penalizing him for it. I heard someone mention Josh Reddick as a candidate. I pretended I didn’t hear that.
DH: Prince Fielder, Tex (S), Nelson Cruz, Sea
‘Nuff said, just like last year. Start either one, fine with me.
P: Chris Sale, CWS (S), Felix Hernandez, Sea, Sonny Gray, Oak, Dallas Keuchel, Hou, Chris Archer, TB, David Price, Det, Corey Kluber, Cle, Wade Davis, KC, Dellin Betances, NYY, Andrew Miller, NYY, Zach Britton, Bal, Glen Perkins, Min
As I’ve explained in the past, my inclination is to take way more starting pitchers than closers and certainly middle relievers. Great starters are infinitely more important to their team and that is why they get the big bucks, as they say. Closers historically get hot for a year or three, but unless they are Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, they inevitably fail and fall back into middle relief or the minors or out of baseball. Very few of the elite ones that can do it for 10 years plus. Middle relievers are usually failed starters AND closers. So even though they can be dominant, it usually doesn’t last. And if it does, they will go back to another key role.
The first 6 starters are no-brainers. I picked Sale to start, but go with any of the others if you choose. Kluber may be the most controversial choice of course. Had a rough April and not a great June, but has had periods of dominance this season as well. K’s are huge and ERA is respectable. The fact he won the Cy Young last year cannot go unnoticed. Rather take him here than the likes of Hector Santiago, Scotty Kazmir, Yovani Gallardo and of course Wei-Yin Chen!
This is what I wrote about Davis and Betances last year: “Wade Davis and Dellin Betances have been exclusively middle relievers. And have been dominant. But not All-Stars in my book.” Maybe they heard me and got pissed. Because they have been even MORE dominant this year, and have also closed games for stretches where the regular closers have been out. Makes them All-Stars this year, I’d say. Darren O’Day could have a case here as well, and some Harris dude from Houston. But 2 middle relievers is enough for me.
Speaking of dominant, Andrew Miller was just that before he got hurt. Somehow the real voters forgot that. Signed to be a setup guy, he grabbed the role in the spring and never looked back. Speaking of failed starters…but his performance this year cannot be overlooked. Britton and Perkins have been pretty damn good as well. Huston Street? Maybe, but no worries from me about leaving him off.
Posted on July 17, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, American League, Boston Red Sox, Carlos Correa, Chris Archer, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Dallas Keuchel, David Price, Dellin Betances, Dustin Pedroia, Felix Hernandez, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, MLB, MLB All-Star Game, Nelson Cruz, Prince Fielder, Salvador Perez, Sonny Gray. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.