Your Quarter-Season MLB All-Stars
If you wanted to, you could have voting for the All-Star game starting April 22, as ridiculous as it sounds—and we wonder why there are so many complaints about who got snubbed. But here have been the best players at their position through the first 40 games.
C Victor Martinez (Cleveland Indians)
Victor Martinez has more than rebounded after a terrible season in 2008; he is hitting .400 with a 1.104 OPS through 40 games this season. He has split time between catcher and first base this season—21 at catcher and 19 at 1B—but he is still the best catcher in the AL, and the best hitter so far.
1B Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
Cabrera is making people in Detroit forget about his first season there and thank Dave Dombrowski for locking him up. Cabrera is hitting .381 with eight HRs and a 1.064 OPS.
2B Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers)
Leading Texas to the best record in the AL West, Kinsler has been on an absolute tear at the plate and on the base paths, hitting .306 with 11 HRs and nine stolen bases. Kinsler has 30/30 potential and possibly 40/40. It’s hard to leave Aaron Hill off this list, but Kinsler has been fantastic.
SS Jason Bartlett (Tampa Bay Rays)
Bartlett has been by far the best SS in the weak AL crop this season, but would still be having the best even with a strong crop. Bartlett is hitting .380 with a 1.000 OPS, not to mention his great defense. He'll cool off, but he's a big reason the struggling Rays are still in it.
3B Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays)
I'm not a guy who looks at RBI, nor do I think they measure how good a player is, but when you have 46 in 39 games, it’s a product of how great of a season you're having. Longoria is making a good run to follow Dustin Pedroia as guys who won a rookie of the year and then followed with an MVP.
LF Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Rays)
Another Ray having a fantastic season, Crawford is hitting .329 but has 25 stolen bases and is attempting to make a run at 100. If he keeps getting on base, he just might do it.
CF Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)
How great does the Erik Bedard trade look now? Adam Jones has hit .366 and played a great center field. Jones has an eye-popping 1.077 OPS, and he is a future MLB star. He won't keep hitting .366, but he'll hit for power and play great defense.
RF Nick Markakis (Baltimore Orioles)
Another Oriole to build around. Markakis is hitting .327 and is a guy who looks like he might win a batting title some day. He also has a rocket for an arm in right field.
DH Adam Lind (Toronto Blue Jays)
Fortunately you cannot vote for DH this year. Why do I say fortunately? Because we all know David Ortiz would beat out Adam Lind, making him a huge snub and making Ortiz one of the worst All-Stars in the history of the game. Lind has been one of the best hitters on the best team in baseball and is finally getting time to play regularly.
P Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals)
8-1, 0.60 ERA. I don't really need to write more about Greinke; he's been the best.
C Bengie Molina (San Francisco Giants)
The best hitter on one of the worst offensive teams thus far, Molina has better numbers than a good crop of NL catchers, including his little brother Yadier, who is often considered the best of the Molinas.
1B Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
Pujols is just being Pujols.
2B Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
People worried about him coming off his hip surgery, but it has clearly benefited him. Last year in the first half people were talking about Utley for MVP, but then he hurt his hip. If he stays healthy, he could join his teammates Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins as former MVP winners.
SS Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins)
Hanley has been outstanding, hitting .348. He looks like he's going to keep getting better and better, although it should be noted that he has slowed down a bit on the base paths, being caught four times on 10 tries.
3B Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals)
One of the few bright spots on the Nats this season, Zimmerman has a 30-game hit streak this season. He is hitting .358 with 10 HRs and has finally had a breakout season after much hype.
LF Raul Ibanez (Philadelphia Phillies)
The 37-year-old is enjoying the best season of his career thus far and has been the best free agent signing of the offseason. If Rollins was hitting and Cole Hamels was pitching, the Phillies would be running away with the division.
CF Carlos Beltran (New York Mets)
One of the few Mets actually hitting for power this season, Beltran is also hitting .364. Beltran is enjoying his best season as a Met thus far.
RF Adam Dunn (Washington Nationals)
Dunn has only played a few games in right this season, but for an All-Star team, we'll stick him there. Dunn is proving all the teams that passed on him this offseason wrong. Dunn is hitting .287 with a .430 OBP and 12 HRs, and there are a lot of teams that would kill for the Nationals' offense right now. It's definitely not the reason they stand at 11-27.
DH Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
Braun was too good to leave off any list, so I have him the NL DH spot that doesn't exist. Braun has been the Brewers' MVP this season and has finally learned some plate discipline, drawing 25 walks for an eye-popping .451 OBP.
P Johan Santana (New York Mets)
Johan finished last season strong and hasn't slowed down. Santana would have won his third Cy Young award last season with a real bullpen, but it looks like he'll grab his third this season, and people will begin to discuss Johan as a Hall of Famer.
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