I think it’s pretty absurd that All-Star ballots are released three or four weeks into the season. Even if the voting ended as recently as a month ago, Alexi Ogando would be the starting pitcher for the American League, and Mets fans know firsthand the struggles he’s been through since then.
I don’t start paying attention to All-Star candidacy till around mid-June, and I don’t vote till the night the polls close. So here, despite that fact that no one asked, are my All-Star selections. The players listed in bold are my choice to start and the players following are the reserves for that position.
C – Brian McCann, Miguel Montero, Chris Iannetta
McCann is an easy choice, as is Montero for a reserve role. Iannetta probably won’t make it because of his .219 batting average, but he’s in the top four amongst catchers with 200 plate appearances in HR, RBI, runs scores, OBP, SLG%, and wOBA. McCann and Montero are the only other catchers to appear in the top four in each of those categories.
1B – Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols
It’s my guess all three will make the team and Pujols will start due to his popularity, if he’s healthy.* First base is the deepest position, unless you count outfield as one position, which I don’t. And for those who are concerned about the Nationals in the future because of their pitching and Bryce Harper better not overlook Michael Morse.
2B – Rickie Weeks, Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinosa
Fairly easy choice with the first two, but Espinosa has been a revelation for the Nationals. And for those of you concerned about the Nationals in the future because of their………..yadda yadda yadda.
3B – Ty Wigginton, Ryan Roberts, Chase Headley
This was a real tough choice and I couldn’t pick a starter. I’m almost inclined to vote for David Wright based solely on his popularity with the fans or for Chipper Jones for the nostalgic vote. Be that as it may, Wiggy leads all 3B in home runs and SLG% and has positional versatility that’s become very important recently. Roberts is tied for second in home runs and leads in stolen bases, so I gave him the nod for the power/speed combo, and also the hometown vote for a position so thin, the hometown vote becomes important. He’s also fourth in wOBA and OBP and third in SLG%. Headley is hitting .299/.394/.403 and is second in stolen bases among third baseman. And Blazing Saddles is one of my favorite movies, so I giggle every time his name comes up because I think of Harvey Korman as Hedley Lamarr. Honestly, none of these guys are real All-Stars and it wouldn’t even be a discussion if Wright and Ryan Zimmerman were healthy. I wouldn’t argue if Aramis Ramirez made the team.
SS – Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro
Not much debate here. Reyes is having a first half that comes along once in a blue moon, Tulo is having a terrible season for him and it’s still really good, and Castro is one of the game’s most promising young stars. Towards the end of the season, all we’ll be hearing is how Jose Reyes will be the best free agent on the market, and this will be a good way for the rest of the country to see what all the Mets fans already know.
OF – Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman (left to right), Matt Holiday, Justin Upton, Carlos Beltran (left to right), Hunter Pence
There are some other guys you can make a case for, including Seth Smith, Shane Victorino and Andrew McCutchen, but there’s that stupid rule that every team has to be represented Sorry, Cutch.
P – Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Correia, Anibal Sanchez, Brian Wilson, Craig Kimbrel, Joel Hanrahan, John Axford
The Phillies pitching is living up to their hype, Kershaw is a stud, and Correia and Sanchez are having a real solid years and someone needs to represent the Marlins and Pirates. Cutch could have represented the Pirates in the OF to make room for Lincecum here, but the Astros are so dreadful, no other player even comes close to Pence’s candidacy, so I had to go with Pence there and Correia here. Sorry, Lince. I hate that rule.
*Author’s Note – If Pujols is indeed not healthy, then I would replace him with Gaby Sanchez, which would allow Lincecum to replace Anibal Sanchez. Don’t overlook Sanchez, though. He’s actually been just a little bit better than Lince. But a large part of the All-Star game is star power, and that would tip the scales in Lincecum’s favor dramatically.
American League will go up tomorrow.