2017 MLB American League All-Stars
Yup, the All-Star Game was this past Tuesday. But…close enough. And a nice topic to get back in the swing of things. So here is my team. Only 32 players this year, down from 34 in recent years. 21 position players, 11 pitchers, with each team represented (Again, I don’t necessarily love this rule…but…it is the rule). (S) for starter. Comments below each position.
C: Salvador Perez, KC (S), Gary Sanchez, NYY
Three catchers are usually selected for the actual game. This year thankfully there were only two…for both leagues. Not sure why this changed, but it’s absolutely for the better. Two is about the max that deserve to be there. Last year I took only one on my team (Perez). If I took a third this year, it would’ve been either Brian McCann or Alex Avila. No thanks. Anyway, I’ve said pretty much enough on catchers. Sanchez may be the future, but not giving him the starting gig over Big Sal…this year.
1B: Justin Smoak, Tor (S), Logan Morrison, TB, Jose Abreu, CWS, Yonder Alonso, Oak
Just…yuck. Just feels really strange with no Miguel Cabrera anywhere to be found here. These guys are simply having better years though. And thanks to the “every team has to be represented” rule, here are each of these 4 teams’ representatives! Smoak started the real game and, sadly enough, he was the right choice. Morrison had a similar OPS (.931 to Smoaks’ .936), so if you wanted him to start, you won’t get an argument from me. Not sure how he didn’t even make the real team. I’m all set with Corey Dickerson. Actually, I’m all set with Morrison too, but his numbers are there this year. Avisail Garcia was the real life ChiSox rep, but I prefer Abreu. Probably doesn’t matter either way. It was either Alonso, Khris Davis or Ryon Healy for the A’s. Alonso’s .934 OPS was also right with Morrison and Smoak. The other A’s were in the .800’s. Plus Davis and Healy DH a fair amount. But still…these 4 guys are All-Stars?
2B: Jose Altuve, Hou (S), Jonathan Schoop, Bal, Robinson Cano, Sea, Starlin Castro, NYY
It’s Altuve and then everyone else once again. Not enough superlatives out there for that guy. Schoop is shockingly enough the Orioles rep. If you wanted to put Manny Machado on the team because he’s Manny Machado, I’d probably be ok with it though. I’m not putting Robby Cano here because he was the MVP of the real game. No, seriously. He is kind of quietly having a pretty good year. As is Castro.
3B: Jose Ramirez, Cle (S), Miguel Sano, Min, Mike Moustakas, KC
Jose Ramirez is 3rd in the AL in OPS, .005 behind 2nd place. Jose Ramirez! Let that one sink in for a while. Sure he had a pretty good year last year. But was abysmal two years ago. Of course he was only 22 then, so…but still. Pretty impressive. Sano is another guy breaking out this year. His 120 K’s already are pretty unsightly though. Having second thoughts about “Moose” as I write this…but I guess 25 bombs and good defense should count for something.
SS: Carlos Correa, Hou (S), Elvis Andrus, Tex
You may be able to pencil in Correa’s name here for years to come. Francisco Lindor may have something to say about it eventually, but not this year. Correa has been filthy this season. I will also say Lindor was on the edge of my team and if you wanted to find space for him, it wouldn’t upset me. Andrus was going to be my sole Rangers player, though that did change. Still deserving of a place on my squad however. And please Red Sox fans…admittedly, I am a total homer. But the fact that Xander Bogaerts was in the Final Five voting was an absolute joke, I’m sorry. Disappointing year for X, to put it mildly.
OF: Mike Trout, LAA (S), Aaron Judge, NYY (S), George Springer, Hou (S), Mookie Betts, Bos
This is what I wrote last year: “Just copy and paste Trout here for at least the next decade…unless he switches leagues at some point.” His injury this year changes nothing. There really is not much to say about Judge and Springer. Monster years from the both of them. Now here is where I become a little of that Boston homer I just referred to. In my opinion, Betts hasn’t necessarily been “All-Star-ish” this year. Just hasn’t seemed it. Comparatively speaking to last year anyway. But maybe we were spoiled last year. However, when you review the numbers as a whole, you can justify a spot for him. And I did.
DH: Nelson Cruz, Sea (S)
1 DH is enough. One of the jamokes selected at 1B can handle DH in my game if they need to. I would nominate Abreu.
UT: Marwin Gonzalez, Hou
How can a guy who doesn’t even start for his own team be an All-Star? Well, let me introduce you to this year’s Brock Holt!! Except…way better. .967 OPS. He actually has been playing every day for a while now. I mean, Norichika Aoki? Please. But Marwin plays all over the place too. If you play fantasy baseball, and I do, he is pretty much eligible at every position no matter what type of league you are in. That’s worth something if you can create offense along with the defensive flexibility. Oh, and the Astros are 10 games better than everyone else in the American League. Take as many guys as you want from that team and put them here. Although, I will draw the line at Josh Reddick.
P: Chris Sale, CWS (S), Jason Vargas, KC, Dallas Keuchel, Hou, Corey Kluber, Cle, Carlos Carrasco, Cle, Michael Fulmer, Det, Ervin Santana, Min, Yu Darvish, Tex, Luis Severino, NYY, Andrew Miller, Cle, Craig Kimbrel, Bos
I will probably cut and paste this preamble every year, in case there are any new readers that may give a crap. I know, fat chance. Anyway, here it is: 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.
Last year, I picked 3 closers and 2 part middle relievers, part closers and only 8 starters. Kind of made me sick to my stomach. This year we get back to normal…9 starters, 1 middle man, 1 closer. Sale is the relatively easy choice to start, though if Kuechel or even Kluber didn’t miss time in the first half, they would have certainly made it closer. Specifically Kluber, with his playoff performance last year, as well as the fact that his own Indian coaching staff were the coaches for this years’ All-Star Game. Journeyman 34-year-old Vargas leads the league in wins and ERA, as well as WAR, if that’s a statistic that floats your boat. Good for him for making his first All-Star team.
I’m surprised that Carrasco wasn’t on the real squad. He got hammered in one start in late June that jacked up his ERA a bit. But even so, 3.44 ain’t bad. Combined with his other numbers, he seemed like an easy pick to me. Fulmer was my Detroit pick…as he was in reality (until they added Justin Upton to the squad as well). Can’t ignore Ervin’s contributions to the surprising Twins this year (as surprising as 2 games over .500 is…but they are only 2.5 games out…and I’m not sure anyone saw that coming). Darvish and Severino have high-ish ERA’s, but they are still in the top 10 and have good numbers otherwise. Maybe Lance McCullers Jr. and Marcus Stroman deserve some consideration as well. But they get squeezed out on my team.
Kimbrel is a no-brainer…the guy has been virtually untouchable this year. As has been Miller. Even though Miller doesn’t close, it’s hard to ignore his dominance. As for relievers that missed the cut, maybe a case for Roberto Osuna could have been made. But Alex Colome, Brandon Kintzler, Kelvin Herrera, Kenny Giles? Nah. Justin Wilson & Dellin Betances? Perhaps. But I’m comfortable with just Miller and Kimbrel.
So there you go…NL to follow..at some point…first I have to celebrate the fact that the Fat Panda is finally out of Boston…good riddance…
Posted on July 14, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged Aaron Judge, All-Star Game, American League, Carlos Correa, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel, first half, George Springer, Jose Altuve, Jose Ramirez, Miguel Sano, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, National League, Nelson Cruz. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.