Predicting All 30 MLB Teams' Guaranteed All-Star Representative
One of the things that sets Major League Baseball apart from the other major sports in the United States is how the All-Star Game is structured. For one, the game counts for something. What’s more interesting is that every team must be represented.
Yes, there must be one player from all 30 teams at every Midsummer Classic. It’s been a highly debated topic considering since the winner of the game gets home-field advantage, not every team should need to be represented. If a team is horrible, why should they get to send someone to represent the AL or NL?
It doesn’t appear that the league is going to change the rule anytime soon, or it definitely won’t be altered in time for this year’s All-Star Game, which will be played at Citi Field—home of the New York Mets—on June 16.
So, that means that the fans and the coaches are going to have to find a way to get a player from the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and everyone in between on the AL and NL rosters. It’s a fun process, I’m sure.
Now that there’s just about a month left until the game is played, the rosters are starting to come together. For most teams, it’s easy to tell who is definitely going to be playing in Queens that Tuesday night. For others, it’s a little more difficult. But that’s why we’re here right now.
Here’s one player from every team that’s bound to be on the roster for the Midsummer Classic.
*All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts. All injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.
AL East Guarantees
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis, 1B
Chris Davis has been hitting the lights out this season and at this point is one of the main contenders for the AL MVP. Despite playing in 64 games this year, Davis is 13 home runs shy of matching is career high of 33, set a year ago. Davis is hitting the ball consistently and hitting the ball hard. He deserves to start at first for the AL. No doubt about it.
Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz, DH
David Ortiz basically told anyone who didn’t think that he’d be able to play at a high level in 2013 to shut up. He’s proved any doubters wrong. The DH is hitting .315/.397/.618 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI through 47 games. He’s been the most dominant DH in baseball and he will likely be in the starting lineup for the AL for the sixth time. Clay Buchholz is another guaranteed All-Star for the Red Sox.
New York Yankees: Robinson Cano, 2B
Robinson Cano has already been named a captain for the Home Run Derby. The chances he’s on the AL squad too? Very high. He might not be having the best season by a second baseman in the AL this year, but he’s still been solid. He’s been getting hits less often than usual, but is still driving the ball. He has 15 home runs and 40 RBI in 64 games. Mariano Rivera is another guaranteed All-Star for the Bronx Bombers.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria, 3B
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria might be having the most unnoticed great year of any player in baseball. He’s hitting .304/.361/.538 with 12 home runs, 38 RBI and 44 runs through 64 games. He’s an outstanding defender, but it still will be tough for him to top Miguel Cabrera in the AL voting. He’ll be a great bench option, nonetheless, for Jim Leyland’s team.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista, OF
The Blue Jays were supposed to be awesome this year and have several All-Stars. Now, it seems like they might just have the one that’s required. Jose Bautista will likely be one of the outfielders voted in by the fans, and he’s probably the most deserving of the nod. He’s not been as great as he’s been in the past, but still has 15 home runs and is fairly popular. He can still hit balls further than you can imagine too.
AL Central Guarantees
Chicago White Sox: Alex Rios, OF
Chicago is only going to have one representative, in my opinion, and it’s going to be a tight battle between Alex Rios and Chris Sale. Sale hasn’t been as sharp as some of his statistics may suggest. His 3.23 FIP and 3.36 xFIP show that his 2.68 ERA is misguiding. Rios, on the other hand, has been solid on offense. He’s been the White Sox’s most feared hitter. I think the coaches take him over Sale in the end.
Cleveland Indians: Carlos Santana, C
On the offensive side of the ball, the Indians have a lot of players with very similar numbers. Justin Masterson may end up getting the call, but I think that Carlos Santana is more deserving. Cleveland wouldn’t be in second place in the division without its star catcher. Hitting .284/.388/.481 with eight homers and 27 RBI isn’t great, but it should be enough. No other Indian has been better, in my opinion.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 3B
This one is too easy. If there’s one player that’s 100 percent going to be in Queens for the week in mid-July, it’s going to be Miguel Cabrera. Coming off a year where he won the AL Triple Crown, Cabrera has played this year without missing a beat. He’s been unstoppable at the plate and continues to torch opposing pitching nearly every time he steps in the box. The fans will vote him into the starting lineup for sure.
Kansas City Royals: Alex Gordon, OF
Aside from his 2-6 record, James Shields isn’t having a bad year for the Royals. But Alex Gordon has been much better. He’s hitting .304/.349/.448 through 61 games with six home runs, 32 RBI and 37 runs. Salvador Perez is having a decent year too, but his power numbers are considerably lower. Gordon is the leader of the offense and he deserves to be selected to the first All-Star Game of his emerging career.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer, C
There’s no doubt in my mind that Joe Mauer will be the starting catcher for the AL at Citi Field. While the Twins continue to be irrelevant, Mauer, as an individual, has continued to play well. He’s hitting .330/.441/.494 with six home runs and 19 RBI. While his power may seem down, it’s actually not bad compared to past years. He’s only hit more than 13 homers in a season once. Count on him behind the plate.
AL West Guarantees
Houston Astros: Jason Castro, C
Please don’t make me choose. This is a prime reason why the “player from every team” rule is a stinker. The Astros don’t deserve a representative. But if I had to pick one, I guess I’d have to go with Jason Castro. He’s hitting .261/.316/.455 with eight home runs and 20 RBI, which isn’t great by league standards, but for Houston, he’s a top player. You could make the case for a couple of other players. I think it’ll be Castro.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout, OF
There won’t be a sophomore slump for Mike Trout. He’s proved that his rookie season wasn’t a fluke and that he’s the real deal. He’s been one of the game’s best players this year even though his team, the Angels, have played poorly to this point in the season. Trout made his first All-Star Game last season and it’s in the bag that he’ll make it to his second in 2013. I should clarify: the second of many.
Oakland Athletics: Josh Donaldson, 3B
While Yoenis Cespedes has had great power numbers this year, Josh Donaldson is the most deserving player on Oakland of an All-Star nod. If the fans don’t vote Cespedes in, I think Donaldson makes the AL team. He’s hitting .322/.391/.521 with nine home runs and 42 RBI through 65 games while leading all position players on the team in WAR. He’s had a breakout year to say the least.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez, SP
Seattle’s offense this year has been poor at best, which makes it easy to say that a Mariners pitcher will be representing the team at the Midsummer Classic. But it’s really a tough choice as to which pitcher, Felix Hernandez or Hisashi Iwakuma, who have both been lights out this year. Iwakuma might be more deserving—as he has the better record and ERA—but I think King Felix is too good for Jim Leyland to pass up.
Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish, SP
Yu Darvish is arguably the top pitcher in the AL this year. He’s 7-2 on the year in 13 starts and has a 2.75 ERA thus far. In 88.1 innings of work, he’s averaging 12.02 strikeouts and 2.75 walks per nine innings. He already has 118 strikeouts on the year and has given opposing hitters constant headaches. He has a remarkable repertoire and putting that all together, he might end up as the AL’s starting pitcher in New York.
NL East Guarantees
Atlanta Braves: Justin Upton, OF
Justin Upton was just about as hot as anyone in baseball to the 2013 season. Even though he’s cooled off recently, he’s still going to be playing at Citi Field with the other top players in the game. In 62 games, Upton has 14 home runs and 29 RBI. In fact, Evan Gattis has played much better. But Gattis likely won’t get voted in by the fans like Upton will. The coaches could still add Gattis, though.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton, OF
Here’s the way things are going to go for the Marlins: The only way Giancarlo Stanton gets selected to play for the NL is if the fans vote him in. If the fans don’t do that, expect to see Marcell Ozuna roaming the outfield for Bruce Bochy. Stanton is the more popular player, but has been injured for a chunk of the year, which has lessened his production. He’s only played in 22 games this season.
New York Mets: David Wright, 3B
This is a no-brainer. For those who haven’t been playing attention, the All-Star Game is being played at Citi Field, where the Mets play. David Wright is the captain and easily the best player on the team. He’s hitting .275/.372/.459 with eight homers and 34 RBI through 59 games. Expect New York young arm Matt Harvey to make his first All-Star Game appearance too. He’s been lights out for nearly the entire season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Cliff Lee, SP
The Phillies haven’t played so well this season, but that can’t be said for star lefty Cliff Lee. Lee is 7-2 on the year with a 2.55 ERA through 95.1 innings of work across 13 starts. He’s also struck out an average of 7.84 batters per nine innings while walking just 1.51. Philadelphia could very well get two players in the All-Star Game, and if that’s the case, Domonic Brown and his 19 home runs will be there in a New York minute.
Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, OF
While Harper is currently injured, I think he’ll be healthy enough to make it back in time to play in the All-Star Game, to which he’ll definitely be selected. A lot of fans love to watch Harper play full-speed every time he takes the field. He’s having another good year in Washington and is bound to get voted onto the NL’s squad. Jordan Zimmermann is likely to be on the team too.
NL Central Guarantees
Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 1B
There will likely be a few first basemen that the NL coaching staff are going to have to weed through in order to get a total of three or more on the team. Anthony Rizzo has been playing fine for Chicago this year, and I think he’d be a valuable addition to the team. He’s the Cubs’ top power option and although he’s only hitting .252 on the year, his run production outweighs that. Chicago needs a representative; he’s one of few options.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto, 1B
Joey Votto is having an MVP-caliber season and is a sure bet to be in the starting lineup for the NL. He’s hitting .328/.446/.520 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI and 52 runs scored. He has a great eye at the plate and walks 16.8 percent of the time. One of the best hitters in baseball, there’s no reason to doubt that Votto won’t make his fourth career All-Star Game. He also might win his second MVP later in the year. The fans will absolutely make him a starter.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun, OF
Let me preface this by saying that Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura both deserve to make it to the All-Star Game this year. But unless the fans vote them in, I doubt Milwaukee gets more than one or two guys in Queens. Ryan Braun gets the guarantee here because the fans will vote him in. He’s a fan favorite and Gomez and Segura are only going to be alongside the slugger is if the NL coaches decide they want one or both of them.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen, OF
Surprise, Andrew McCutchen is having another solid season. He’s near the top in nearly every statistical category for the Pirates and is the current WAR leader. Through 61 games, he’s hitting .290/.359/.455 with seven home runs, 30 RBI, 40 runs and 15 steals. The Pittsburgh faithful love him, and they have the opportunity to get him into the NL’s starting lineup.
St. Louis Cardinals: Shelby Miller, SP
Shelby Miller is quickly developing into one of the top pitchers in baseball, and he’s done it in a very short period of time. Miller is arguably the favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year and deserves to be in the Cy Young conversation as well. The righty is 7-3 through 12 starts with a 1.91 ERA through 75.1 innings of work. Carlos Beltran is another Cardinal that’s sure to be in Queens, as should Adam Wainwright.
NL West Guarantees
Arizona Diamondbacks: Patrick Corbin, SP
Patrick Corbin entered 2013 with just 22 games of big-league experience under his belt. This year, though, he’s looked like a guy that’s been great in the majors for the last 10 years. He is undefeated through 12 starts with a 9-0 record. Almost no one has been able to cross the plate against him, as his ERA sits at 1.98. If the lefty doesn’t get selected to the All-Star Game, it just shouldn’t be played.
Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Troy Tulowitzki is healthy, meaning the rest of the league better watch out. The Colorado shortstop is not just playing like the best player on the Rockies or in the NL West, but potentially the best in the entire NL. Only Miguel Cabrera has a higher WAR this season than Tulowitzki. He’s hitting .353/.420/.651 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI. Like I said, watch out.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, SP
There are a couple of players on the struggling Dodgers that could end up making it to Citi Field, but Clayton Kershaw is the only sure bet. He’s once again one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and it doesn’t matter what his record is. The southpaw has a 1.88 ERA in 100.1 innings. He’s striking out 8.61 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.51. He could end up starting for the NL.
San Diego Padres: Everth Cabrera, SS
Everth Cabrera is having a breakout season, which is great for him, considering there aren’t any other players on the Padres that deserve to represent San Diego on the NL roster. The speedy shortstop leads the team in WAR and that’s mainly because he’s a five-tool player—or at least a four-tool player. He’s hitting .294/.369/.412 with four home runs, 24 RBI, 33 runs and 29 steals in 65 games.
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey, C
Buster Posey is the top catcher in baseball—and I know that Cardinals fans will argue with that statement. He’s a fan favorite and consistent producer in the heart of the Giants’ everyday lineup. He’s hitting .297/.375/.493 with eight home runs and 35 RBI. I don’t see any way where Posey doesn’t make it to the All-Star Game. Unless he gets hurt between now and June 16, he’ll be in Queens.
American League Guarantees
Below is a full look at the guarantees for every team in the American League. Players with asterisks next to their name represent players who recently received the most votes by the fans at their respective positions in the most recent results announcement, per MLB.com.
|Baltimore Orioles||Chris Davis*||1B|
|Boston Red Sox||David Ortiz* ||DH|
|Chicago White Sox||Alex Rios||OF|
|Cleveland Indians||Carlos Santana||C|
|Detroit Tigers||Miguel Cabrera*||3B|
|Houston Astros||Jason Castro||C|
|Kansas City Royals||Alex Gordon||OF|
|Los Angeles Angels||Mike Trout||OF|
|Minnesota Twins||Joe Mauer*||C|
|New York Yankees||Robinson Cano*||2B|
|Oakland Athletics||Josh Donaldson||3B|
|Seattle Mariners||Felix Hernandez||SP|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Evan Longoria||3B|
|Texas Rangers||Yu Darvish||SP|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Jose Bautista||OF|
National League Guarantees
Below is a full look at the guarantees for every team in the National League. Players with asterisks next to their name represent players who recently received the most votes by the fans at their respective positions in the most recent results announcement, per MLB.com.
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Patrick Corbin||SP|
|Atlanta Braves||Justin Upton*||OF|
|Chicago Cubs||Anthony Rizzo||1B|
|Cincinnati Reds||Joey Votto*||1B|
|Colorado Rockies||Troy Tulowitzki*||SS|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Clayton Kershaw||SP|
|Miami Marlins||Giancarlo Stanton||OF|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Ryan Braun||OF|
|New York Mets||David Wright||3B|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Cliff Lee||SP|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Andrew McCutchen||OF|
|San Diego Padres||Everth Cabrera||SS|
|San Francisco Giants||Buster Posey*||C|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Shelby Miller||SP|
|Washington Nationals||Bryce Harper||OF|