Predicting the MLB All-Star Game Lineups
I know many people out there feel the All-Star game is simply a gimmick. Fortunately for you, I am not one of those people. I think it is fun to have a game of baseball where the best of each league square off head-to-head. Obviously, it doesn’t quite carry the gravity of a September game in a tight divisional race, but it is fun. In my mind, baseball is supposed to be fun.
Voting is almost over, and the lineups are all but certain. As I am writing this article on July 1, here are the latest vote tallies from both leagues. For the National League, updated tallies have not been posted since June 23, but there were new American League results posted just today by John Schlegel of MLB.com.
While most of the results seem to be pretty certain, you never can be sure until the final vote is tallied. As a result, here are my predictions for each of the starting positions on both rosters and how the lineups will ultimately look.
American League Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
He was over one million votes ahead in the voting, and it is really not surprising that Joe Mauer will start behind the plate for the American League.
This season should look pretty familiar. He is carrying a .320 batting average with a .404 on-base percentage. Even though he only has eight home runs and 26 RBI, he is a household name who is having yet another solid season. That is the perfect formula for All-Star voting success.
American League First Baseman: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
I did not see this season coming from Chris Davis. If you did, you are obviously much more brilliant than I am.
He did hit 33 home runs last season, but that was in 132 games. He has played 82 games this season and already has 31. He owns a career batting average of .270, but he is hitting .332 this season. I am incredibly impressed, and he deserves this position.
American League Second Baseman: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Robinson Cano is having a good season, but I don’t think it is quite up to his self-imposed high standards.
He is hitting .287 with 17 home runs and 48 RBI. Again, these numbers are pretty normal for him except for the average is about 20 points lower. It might feel like I am splitting hairs here, and while there really is not much doubt that he should be starting, these results are a little bit low.
American League Third Baseman: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
The remarkable thing about Miguel Cabrera is that he actually has a chance to repeat as a Triple Crown winner.
Right now, he is leading the American League with a .373 batting average and 82 RBI. He only has 25 home runs, so he is quite a bit behind Chris Davis, but the point remains that he is a remarkable talent. He has a track record of amazing production at the plate, and there’s no reason you would not vote for him to start.
American League Shortstop: J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles
J.J. Hardy is having another solid season. He might not hit for very much average, but he does have quite a bit more power than your average everyday shortstop.
There are obviously other strong choices at the position, but people love power, and Hardy would be the right selection for that.
American League Outfielder No. 1: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Mike Trout might not be quite as dominant as he was last season, but there is no doubt that he is still one of the best stars in baseball.
He is still hitting .315 with 13 home runs, 52 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He is only 21 years old right now, and obviously his career is still on the way up. However, I think he will be pretty happy with his second All-Star appearance in as many years.
American League Outfielder No. 2: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
Adam Jones is always a little bit behind Mike Trout, but that doesn’t stop him for being a great outfielder in his own right.
He also brings an incredibly well-rounded game to the field, and he should easily be a threat to go 20-20 every season. Right now, he is hitting .292 with 15 home runs, 57 RBI and nine stolen bases. He might be a little bit behind in the popular vote, but this season he is right up there with Trout.
American League Outfielder No. 3: Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
I know he is technically in fourth place right now, but as you can tell, Baltimore Orioles fans have done a pretty good job voting so far. It would not surprise me to see a major turnout over the last few days to put Nick Markakis into the starting position.
His numbers are solid, and even though he is not quite at the level of production of his main competition, Jose Bautista, I think the Baltimore fans will get him through.
American League Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
There is not much to say about this decision. David Ortiz is the best designated hitter of the past decade, and his output is still impressive.
National League Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
He is technically in second place in the voting, but if San Francisco Giants fans were loyal enough to help Pablo Sandoval stay in the conversation with David Wright, I have no doubt that they can help Buster Posey over the last few days.
His .324 batting average is complemented with 11 home runs and 47 RBI. He is a great defensive player on top of all of that, and I think he will be the starter despite being slightly behind at this point.
National League First Baseman: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
I have to think it must be kind of nice for Joey Votto. He has always kind of been in the shadow of Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard. It is not that he was ever by any means worse, but he did not quite have the power production.
Now, he is the star of the show. He still only has 14 home runs, but he is hitting .326. He is a great first baseman who is finally getting his credit.
National League Second Baseman: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Phillips can do everything on the baseball diamond. He is a great defender even though he is more well-known for his offensive prowess.
He is hitting .268 so far this year with 11 home runs and 61 RBI. He is the main run producer for the high-flying Cincinnati offense, and it will be good to see him get a chance to get all of this recognition.
National League Third Baseman: David Wright, New York Mets
I already alluded to the fact that David Wright should not even have competition from Pablo Sandoval for this position, so now I guess I have to justify that.
He is having one of his better seasons with a .304 average, 12 home runs, 41 RBI and 14 stolen bases. There are not very many third baseman who are able to produce a 20-20 season, but David Wright is one of them.
National League Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki is quite simply impressive. He has only appeared in 61 games, which is approximately 20 less than many of the other guys on this list, but he is hitting .347 with 16 home runs and 51 RBI.
If you look in the National League, there’s no one else who even comes close to Tulowitzki in terms of productivity. He is one of the best defenders in the game, and he has almost doubled any other National League shortstop in terms of overall votes.
National League Outfielder No. 1: Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals
Carlos Beltran doesn’t seem to understand the idea that you’re supposed to become less productive as you get older. His game has certainly evolved since he was a young outfielder with the Kansas City Royals, but he is still a great player.
He is now hitting .308 with 19 home runs and 50 RBI. He is the heart of the St. Louis lineup, and he is still one of the top players in baseball.
National League Outfielder No. 2: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
Justin Upton got off to a ridiculous start to the 2013 season, and while he certainly has cooled off quite a bit, he is still one of the most multitalented players in baseball.
Right now he is hitting .245 with 15 home runs and 37 RBI. Those are definitely not the most impressive numbers on this list, but he has such a big lead in terms of votes that there is no way he will fall out of the starting lineup at this point.
National League Outfielder No. 3: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Bryce Harper made a big impression last year as a rookie, and he is doing a great job avoiding the proverbial sophomore slump this season.
He is hitting .287 with 12 home runs and 23 RBI. One particularly impressive development is the fact that he is on pace to cut his strikeout total in half this season. That has definitely helped his numbers look better, and that should serve him well as he continues to improve.
National League Designated Hitter: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies
This one will be determined at the manager’s discretion, but I believe that Carlos Gonzalez will be the man chosen to fill this role. He is one of the best offensive weapons in baseball, and I think he should have had a starting position in the first place.
His .296 batting average combined with his National League-leading 22 home runs should have been plenty to put him in the starting lineup, but he will be eventually.
My Projected American League Starting Lineup
1. Mike Trout
2. Robinson Cano
3. Miguel Cabrera
4. Chris Davis
5. David Ortiz
6. Adam Jones
7. Joe Mauer
8. J.J. Hardy
9. Nick Markakis
My Projected National League Starting Lineup
1. Carlos Gonzalez
2. Brandon Phillips
3. Joey Votto
4. Carlos Beltran
5. Troy Tulowitzki
6. David Wright
7. Buster Posey
8. Justin Upton
9. Bryce Harper
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