While All-Star games have always been sort of silly it still manages to get people mad about it every year, half the people complaining probably don’t even watch it anyway. The All Star break is meant to be a break first and foremost, because the baseball season is ridiculously long!, and the purpose of this game is meant for fan enjoyment, honestly isn’t every game? It’s literally a popularity contest, so the “best” player doesn’t always play and guys like Derek Jeter will get more votes despite other more “deserving” players. I think the fact that home field advantage is now decided by whoever wins the All Star game should be abolished, then again, the old system was just an alternating between the AL and NL, which I don’t really think was much better. It should be best record, but even that has flaws. I think the rule change allows people to complain more about the selections, which is what I’m going to be writing about right now!, but honestly we’re pretty much deciding home field advantage with a coin flip instead of just taking turns, so whatever. Here are your All-Stars.
American League All-Star(ter)s
C Salvador Perez (Matt Wieters) – I have no idea how Matt Wieters still received top voting from the fans when he’s been out for well over enough time for people to change their vote, it’s been known that he wouldn’t play for the rest of the season for at least a month. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about Jeter, but this is far more ridiculous. At least this allowed them to pick the correct guy for the job, Salvador Perez deserved to be selected normally. It seems like every voting related baseball tradition is criticized, don’t get me started on the Hall of Fame ballot. You can make a case for Derrick Norris, but at least he’s in as a reserve. I think Salavdor’s defense gives him the edge over Norris, and I think Norris can excel from the bench as a pinch hitter, that’s what he’s best at anyway, hitting.
1B Miguel Cabrera – I think you could have made a very strong case for Edwin Encarnacion before he went down, but I guess you could say everything worked out. Not that it should have effected months of voting…Miguel Cabrera is still a very good player, just maybe not the best this year at this point in the season. Import rookie sensation Jose Abreu and his 27 HRs would have been fun to see and garnered my vote, Brandon Moss is also having a fantastic season, luckily we’ll see both of these guys at some point in the game.
2B Robinson Cano – Yeah the more popular guy made it here, but I’m actually not too bummed the mini Astro Jose Altuve didn’t make it. Cano, in a down year, is still beating Altuve in every category except BA and SBs. And honestly OBP is a better indicator than BA anyway. I wouldn’t say Cano is more deserving than Altuve, but at least it’s not outrageous. I think Altuve would have been more fun to watch than Cano however, poor choice fans! I still wish Dozier made it as the representative seeing as it’s in Target field, I mean he only leads 2B in runs and HRs, but I guess his poor BA hurts him, even with his OBP being a very respectable .342. Ian Kinsler probably deserved it as well, proving Dave Dombrowski can’t do any wrong, I hope Doug Fister continues to pitch great.
3B Josh Donaldson – He was probably more deserving of the spot last year, and although he’s cooled off, he’s still been the best 3B in baseball playing for one of the best teams. There should really be no argument here. Adrian Beltre and Kyle Seager are clear #2s.
SS Derek Jeter – Being the captain for the most popular team during his retirement year, of course he was going to start. This has happened every time, no one should be surprised. This is a popularity contest, he’s in. He hasn’t played too bad…okay he has looked like someone watching the Walking Dead season 2, that show is terrible! I have no idea how he only has 28 runs when he bats 2nd most of the time for the Yankees, but he’s the captain. He’s Jetes. He’s one of the most recognizable faces in baseball to non-baseball fans. Let the fans see him one last time, the Yankees won’t be heading to the playoffs anytime soon!, on National TV. I’m sure the more deserving player, pretty much Alexei Ramirez or any non walking dead player, will play for most of the game anyway, Jetes is only starting, and what an emotional last start it will be for some fans.
OF – Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones – At one point in the season you could argue that Michael Brantley was the best offensive OF in baseball, you can still make that argument now, but it’s just you could have made a stronger argument before. He’s probably still top 3 guy in the AL, but he didn’t earn the starter gig because he’s on Cleveland and he’s never really been this good before. His defense isn’t doing him too many favors either, but I don’t think Adam Jones, despite his positive score on some metrics, is that good either. I think it would be cool to see him play. Honestly I’m surprised so many Orioles made the team, I didn’t realize they had that much fan voting power or were dumb enough to vote in an injured player. I think Brantley deserved to start over Bautista and Jones, but this isn’t a huge snub either because both of those guys are having fantastic seasons and Brantley still made the team. Jones surged late, Bautista surged early, and Brantley has been quietly solid all year.
DH Nelson Cruz – Correct choice. Victor Martinez has been having a fantastic year, but Nelson Cruz has been doing even better than that, which is actually ridiculous.
National League Starters
C – Yadier Molina – He is not the most deserving catcher this year, Jonathan Lucroy deserves the start and it’s a no-brainer. I know every Cardinal fan and ESPN can’t stop raving about this guy, and don’t get me wrong Yadier is a very good catcher, but Jonathan Lucroy has been far away the better player this year. Lucroy has been the 5th most valuable hitter according to his WAR ranking. If only the Grantland love for him would carry over to ESPN, I thought these two sites were related! Heck even Devin Moresco and Evan Gattis (now injured though) were more deserving than Yadier. At least Lucroy and Moresco are reserve players, but as long as Yadier is healthy and a Cardinal, then he’ll probably win the NL starting gig every time…or Buster Posey. Wow the NL has some good/popular catchers, Lucroy may never get to start.
1B – Paul Goldschmidt – He leads all 1B in WAR and has been one of the few bright spots for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so it’s only a matter of time until the they trade him away for pennies on the dollar. I think for a while Goldschmidt wasn’t in first, actually I remember he was in 5th when I voted. I’m a huge fan of Morneau and want him to go back to Minnesota for the game, but if the game wasn’t at Target Field, Morneau wouldn’t really have a chance. But the story is worth voting for, and I since the system is flawed so the best players don’t always play, why not let the best stories play? Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo have all been playing at elite levels as well, but only Freddie Freeman is on reserve.
2B Chase Utley – He’s always been a fan favorite and he seems like a terrific guy, but he shouldn’t be starting. And for now it looks like he’s the only Philly on the roster, Daniel Murphy being the only Met on the roster and probably only got in over Rendon because every team needs a representative, not that either Utley or Murphy have been playing poorly, they’re both playing quite well, it’s just that they should be sitting next to each other on the bench. Rendon was classified as a 2B during the ballot, but he could be starting over Utley and Aramis as he played time at 3B as well. Dee Gordon has been playing great as well and certainly could have deserved a shot at starting this year, which is crazy because he almost didn’t start for his team at the start.
3B – Aramis Ramirez – Honestly I can’t explain this one, is Aramis Ramirez popular all of a sudden? Todd Frazier deserves this spot, he’s been amazing this year and is really carrying this team that’s been riddled with injuries and Brandon Phillips. How Anthony Rendon didn’t even make the team is one of the biggest snubs this year. All he’s done has been one of the best hitters in baseball. Heck I’d even take Casey McGehee over Aramis Ramirez, can anyone explain to me how he got in? If the Brewers had voting power, how’d they still lose to Molina?
SS – Troy Tulowitzki – Yeah another no-brainer on this one. One of the best players in baseball.
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez – I don’t think we have a LF here, but I think the best LF in the NL is probably Justin Upton and he’s on the final vote ballot, so he has that going for him. All 3 of these guys deserve the start over him though, but it would be interesting if OF voting was done by exact OF position. Giancarlo Stanton has arguably been the best hitter in baseball, and he’s starting as the NL DH, but he really deserved to be starting in the OF. All the guys starting in the OF are better defenders than Stanton, but Stanton has been the best hitter in baseball and I feel like fans usually vote for that more. I guess playing in Miami doesn’t help when there are no fans to vote for you.
DH Giancarlo Stanton – Only surprise here was that the fans didn’t vote him in outright.
AL Pitching Staff
I would probably want Chris Sale, Garret Richards, and Corey Kluber in there over Mark Buehrle or Max Scherzer, but all these guys have been fantastic this year and we can’t really blame the players, coaches, and managers, if anything these selections seem to reflect that everyone makes poor choices. I’m the only one that’s correct! Chris Sale is the most baffling to me though, yeah he got injured for a bit, if Kershaw gets in then Sale should get in. I thought the people heavily involved in the game would at least understand that, I was wrong.
No Koji is a little surprising, especially with the manager being Ferrall, but maybe he wanted to give his guy a rest. Then again bringing him to the All-Star game could increase his trade value if they wanted to go that route. I’d probably take out Perkins if it weren’t at Target Field for either Sale, Richards, or Kluber. Actually I’d probably take out every reliever to put those 3 in. They got no respect it seems. I just don’t like choosing RPs when they have so much less innings than starters, SP>RP anyway.
NL Starting Pitchers
Samardzija won’t be eligible for the NL team now that he’s not in the NL, and I think there are better pitchers in the AL than Samardzija. Tyson Ross…interesting choice. I guess they needed a player from the Padres, but maybe Huston Street would have been better if the manager had to choose from San Diego, I’m not saying I would have picked a RP over a SP when I just stated I liked them better, but when the manager picked 5 RP anyway, why not chose Street in there? Tyson has been pitching well, but All-Star caliber seems a little bit of a stretch, but whatever, I’m glad he got selected and he has been pitching well. Jordan Zimmermann has really turned it around since the start of the season, something I’m happy about. Josh Becket, and he somehow he keeps doing this, deserves a spot along with Tim Hudson and Alfredo Simon. I would have thought Tim Hudson would have been voted in by his peers. Jake Areitta has been brilliant as well.
Like I said SP>RP, but it’s not like these guys have been pitching poorly. Still, 5 relievers seem a tad high when you’ll be using starters on reliever like innings. Tony Watson has sterling peripherals, but I think I’d rather just use a starter as relief guy for fun instead or add to my bench. Anthony Rendon or Anthony Rizzo anyone? What do people have against the name Anthony? Neshek was chosen by his manager, sometimes the manager just trust his guy over other players because he knows him, and he’s been pitching well. Plus he used to pitch for the Twins, so that could have swayed his opinion there. I guess Kimbral and Chapman are a requirement at this point, why does Chapman get the injury pass but Sale doesn’t? There’s no way a team that played against Sale wouldn’t vote for him.
American League Reserves
C Derek Norris – Probably the best offensive catcher when he plays, his numbers are ridiculous for the amount of time he plays.
C Kurt Suzuki – Love the homer pick here, Suzuki actually has been playing very well for the Twins at catcher. I love how both these catchers are platoonish guys.
1B Edwin Encarnacion – is injured and will be replaced, they’ll probably go with either Kinsler or Seager. I’d probably still choose Dozier though, but I’d put all my money on Kinlser.
1B Brandon Moss – Hitting great, deserves his spot, I don’t remember what position he was in the ballot. Also I feel like Pujols should have been brought in as well, but he’s not even on the final vote…I guess that’s a snub.
1B Jose Abreu – leading the league in HRs, great signing by the White Sox, I usually don’t say positive things about this team either.
2B Jose Altuve – Has been stealing like crazy. May even deserve to start, I disagree. I think it should have been either Kinsler or Dozier.
3B Adrian Beltre – Tough call between him and Kyle Seager, but I can’t really complain too much about Beltre over Seager here.
SS Alexei Ramirez – Will probably have to play most of the game after Jeter tires out running to 1st.
OF Michael Brantley – totally deserves his spot, he’s been playing great.
OF Yoenis Cespedes – Another great defender and hitter and playing much better than last year, but numbers seem closer to last year than his rookie year.
OF Alex Gordon – One of the best defensive LFs out there, never really met expectations when he was selected #1 overall, but certainly hasn’t been bad. Alex Gordon seems pretty similar to Alex Smith and now they’re both in KC.
DH Victor Martinez – Out shined by Cruz, but has been hitting better than Miggy.
National League Reserves
C Jonathan Lucroy – Best catcher this year. Period. (triple periods!)
C Devin Mesoraco – Totally deserves his spot here.
1B Freddie Freeman – I don’t really see too much of a difference between him and Rizzo, actually Rizzo has probably played a little better.
2B Dee Gordon – Could probably cover SS as well if he wanted.
2B Daniel Murphy – Lone Met representative…David Wright lost out to Aramis Ramirez! Come on Wright, it was yours for the taking! There really are no Met fans out there.
3B Matt Carpenter – Him and Harrison are utility players I guess, I think there were more deserving people out there. Like Anthony Rendon, but I guess you need that super utility for 1 game…
3B Todd Frazier – Best 3B player out there. And was one of the best in the 1998 little league world series too.
SS Starlin Castro – He’s been playing well, I’m surprised he was able to bounce back pretty strongly after last year, but it looks like the steals are gone. I wonder when he’ll get traded.
OF Giancarlo Stanton – Starting DH, could shift to the OF later in the game though. Could end up playing the most of the game then, which would be great.
OF Josh Harrison – He’ll be used as a super utility man, but just a really big surprise here, just wow.
OF Hunter Pence – Probably the best hitter on the Giants, they had a goliath lead over the Dodgers, but then they lost it.
OF Charlie Blackmon – Early season dominance got him into the game, but teammate Corey Dickerson has probably been playing better than him for over a month now.
The Final Vote is happening now, Here’s where you can vote
Out of the extra voters, I’m voting for Chris Sale and Justin Morneau. Justin Morneau suffered a concussion all the way back in 2010. He did everything right, it actually didn’t even look bad at the time, check it out. But that’s the thing with head injuries, we just don’t understand them. It seems like after 3 1/2 years Morneau has finally able to play at an elite level again, he’ll probably never be the same again, but it’s great to see his production return. He’s top 10 in the MLB in RBIs and 2nd only to Giancarlo in the league. I know sabermetricians will tell you RBIs don’t mean as much anymore, but sending Justin Morneau back to Minnesota, were he’s played a majority of his career, 10 years, and won a MVP for them back in 2006. It would be great to reunite the M & M boys, but Mauer won’t be starting so it won’t be as good as it could have been. Letting him play in Minnesota would be a treat to all the Minnesota fans, all baseball fans, and most importantly Morneau himself.
Kluber has been one of the best pitchers in the game, but because he plays for Cleveland he’s been largely ignored. He deserves to be in the All Star Game, but he has to compete against Garret Richards, a 26-year-old rookie who’s been pitching just as good as Kluber, or Kluber has been pitching just as good as him…both these relatively new pitchers are having phenomenal seasons. Chris Sale is somehow not on the American League All-Star team, which I can’t understand, and it’s a real shame because now the other 2 won’t be able to get in. He suffered an injury yeah, but Matt Wieters is out for the year and he still got voted in. Every time he’s been on the mound he’s been absolutely dominant. He and Kershaw suffered injuries and both have 87 innings under their belt, but of course Kershaw gets in no problem, he is amazing, and Sale has to get voted in. The AL has had some very good pitching performances so far this year and Sale has been arguable a top 5 guy so he’ll get in. It’s a shame for Kluber and Richards though.