MLB All-Star Game 2012 Lineups: Which League Has the More Lethal Team?
As Michael Buffer always says, "Let's get ready to rumble!"
The 83rd MLB All-Star Game is ready to take center stage Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, and the starting lineups for each team are both extremely formidable in nature.
With plenty of punch in each roster, it may come down to which team can get off the mat quickly after suffering a blow.
Here is the tale of the tape.
Catcher: Buster Posey vs. Mike Napoli
Posey 2012 Stats: 10 HR, 43 RBI, .289 BA, .820 OPS
Napoli 2012 Stats: 12 HR, 30 RBI, .228 BA, .759 OPS
This is the first All-Star selection for both catchers.
Posey is coming back nicely from a broken leg and cartilage damage suffered in a home-plate collision with Scott Cousins last year. Posey continually gets credit from his pitchers for his handling of them during the game and his pitch-calling skills.
Napoli is coming off a career year in which he hit .320 with 30 home runs. Unfortunately, he has come nowhere near that this year, more likely being rewarded by the fans for his performance last season.
First Base: Joey Votto vs. Prince Fielder
2012 Votto Stats: 14 HR, 48 RBI, .348 BA, 1.087 OPS
2012 Fielder Stats: 15 HR, 63 RBI, .299 BA, .885 OPS
What Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto has been able to do thus far in 2012 makes him worthy of collecting his second NL MVP Award. Votto has 35 doubles, on pace to collect the most two-baggers in the National League since Earl Webb set the record with 67 back in 1931. His 1.087 OPS leads the majors as well.
Fielder hasn't been a slouch in his first year in Detroit. While his home run production is slightly down at pitcher-friendly Comerica Park, he has still been a force offensively.
But his numbers pale in comparison to Votto.
Second Base: Robinson Cano vs. Dan Uggla
Cano 2012 Stats: 20 HR, 51 RBI, .313 BA, .953 OPS
Uggla 2012 Stats: 12 HR, 45 RBI, .221 BA, .746 OPS
With multiple All-Star appearances for both starters, second base is well represented in this year's All-Star Game.
Cano shook off a bit of a slow start to once again put up monster numbers, while Uggla didn't quite get off to the rocky start that marked the beginning of his 2011 campaign, but is still only hitting .221.
Can Cano shake off the horrible greeting from Royals fans on Monday night after not selecting hometown favorite Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby?
I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter vs. Rafael Furcal
2012 Jeter Stats: 7 HR, 25 RBI, .308 BA, .765 OPS
2012 Furcal Stats: 5 HR, 36 RBI, .275 BA, .701 OPS
Jeter is making his 13th All-Star appearance, and, at the age of 38, is again putting up Jeter-like numbers. His 111 hits lead the American League, and he continues climbing up the charts in the record books across the board.
Furcal is making his third All-Star appearance and was a major force early on in the 2012 season for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has cooled considerably, however, hitting just .176 in the month of June and .229 thus far in July.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre vs. Pablo Sandoval
Beltre 2012 Stats: 15 HR, 54 RBI, .326 BA, .881 OPS
Sandoval 2012 Stats: 8 HR, 30 RBI, .307 BA, .862 OPS
Beltre is making his third consecutive appearance at the All-Star Game, and his numbers thus far certainly warrant his start. Beltre has become a driving force in the middle of the order for the Texas Rangers and brings Gold Glove defense on the field.
Sandoval was a surprise starter at third for the National League, having missed over a month with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Nonetheless, fans wanted the Panda there, so he got the nod over David Wright at the hot corner.
Not so in this rundown.
Left Field: Josh Hamilton vs. Ryan Braun
Hamilton 2012 Stats: 27 HR, 75 RBI, .308 BA, 1.016 OPS
Braun 2012 Stats: 24 HR, 61 RBI, .306 BA, .990 OPS
This may just be the best individual matchup in the entire lineup.
Hamilton leads the league in homers, runs batted in, slugging percentage and OPS. Although he has cooled since a blazing start, Hamilton has remained healthy for the most part and will again look to direct his Rangers back to the World Series.
Braun has certainly been no slouch either, leading the NL with 24 homers and still providing huge numbers despite not having Prince Fielder for protection in the Brewers lineup.
It's a close call, but Hamilton squeaks out the win here.
Center Field: Curtis Granderson vs. Melky Cabrera
Granderson 2012 Stats: 23 HR, 48 RBI, .248 BA, .853 OPS
Cabrera 2012 Stats: 8 HR, 44 RBI, .353 BA, .910 OPS
Granderson is again delivering power for the New York Yankees after swatting a career-high 41 homers last year. In fact, he is on pace to surpass that number this season.
Cabrera's first year by the Bay has been magical—a league-leading 119 hits, second in the league in batting, all while infusing life into a previously anemic Giants offense.
Right Field: Jose Bautista vs. Carlos Beltran
Bautista 2012 Stats: 27 HR, 65 RBI, .244 BA, .899 OPS
Beltran 202 Stats: 20 HR, 65 RBI, .296 BA, .924 OPS
Bautista shook off a very slow start to the 2012 season and is now tied for the major league in home runs with Josh Hamilton at 27.
Beltran has been everything the Cardinals have asked for and more. Signed to help replace the offense left behind by the departure of Albert Pujols, Beltran's production has done just that, leading the Cardinals to the top of the National League in offense.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz vs. Carlos Gonzalez
Ortiz 2012 Stats: 22 HR, 57 RBI, .312 BA, 1.013 OPS
Gonzalez 2012 Stats: 17 HR, 58 RBI, .330 BA, .967 OPS
Ortiz is making his eighth All-Star appearance, and is once again putting up monster numbers at the age of 36. His 25 doubles and 22 home runs have him on pace for a possible 50/40 combo, a rarity in Major League Baseball.
Gonzalez is making his debut at the All-Star Game this year, but the numbers certainly warrant his placement on the team. Gonzalez leads the league in runs scored and is in the top 10 in the NL in home runs, runs batted in and batting average.
Experience edges youth in this one.
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander vs. Matt Cain
Verlander 2012 Stats: 9-5, 2.58 ERA, 5 CG, 0.95 WHIP
Cain 2012 Stats: 9-3, 2.62 ERA, 2 CG, 0.956 WHIP
You can't get much more evenly matched than Verlander and Cain in terms of 2012 statistics.
Verlander's five complete games leads the league, and his 128 strikeouts also puts him on top.
Cain's two shutouts are best in the National League, and his perfect game on June 13 was an absolute work of art.
This one is tough, but I have to give Mr. Perfect the nod only because he will be more comfortable throwing to his battery mate, Buster Posey.
American League vs. National League: Tale of the Tape
This is about as evenly matched as you can get between two teams and their starting lineups.
Five AL starters have an advantage, but five NL starters also have an edge. In terms of power and pop, the American League gets the edge, but the National League has superior hitters who can use the expansive real estate at Kauffman Stadium to their advantage.
Scorecard Decision: American League in a controversial split decision.