The season isn't even half over, but there have been many spectacular performances out of unlikely, and likely, players so far this season.
Several players have stepped out of the shadows to showcase their abilities and many players have looked like stars in the first two and a half months of the season.
These players should not go unnoticed.
I'm ignoring fan voting and going purely by statistics, defensive contributions, and value to the team thus far this season. Each league will have a 25-man roster and will be constructed similar to the real all-star game in that every team will be represented.
Here is my starting lineup, pitchers, and bench players for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star game if it were being held this week instead of in July:
RF—Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (.360 BA, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 87 hits)—Still one of the best in the game.
2B—Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays (.313 BA, 14 HR, 44 RBI)—Loaded with talent, Hill has come into his own offensively and defensively this season.
C—Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (.414 BA, 13 HR, 40 RBI)—Arguably the best catcher in the game. Could he be the next legitimate candidate to bat .400?
1B—Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins (.329 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI)—Still one of the best hitters in the game. He belongs in the four hole in the AL.
3B—Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (.305, 14 HR, 58 RBI)—He'll have his spot in this line up for years to come.
LF—Jason Bay, Boston Red Sox (.286 BA, 17 HR, 61 RBI)—Out of Pittsburgh and flourishing, he's finally shining in the big spotlight.
CF—Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (.319, 15 HR, 51 RBI)—Still the best defensively, he's now also turning on the offensive skills for the Angels.
SS—Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays (.373 BA, 7 HR, 30 RBI)—Tampa's MVP from last season has polished his offensive game and it has shown.
SP—Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals (8-2, 5 CG, 97 K, 1.72 ERA)—He's put everything behind him and is running away with the AL Cy Young like Cliff Lee did last season.
SP—Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (7-2, 74 K, 2.08 ERA)—He's quietly passing John Lackey as the ace on the Angels' staff.
SP—Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (7-2, 106 K, 3.02 ERA)—Suffered a poor first month of the season, but since then has been unstoppable and nearly unhittable.
SP—Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers (6-3, 65 K, 2.24 ERA)—Came over from Tampa Bay in an offseason trade and has proved to be one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball.
SP—Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays (10-1, 3 CG, 88 K, 2.72 ERA)—Consistent, durable, and solid starter every season in Toronto, he's poised for a 20-win season.
RP—Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins (16 SV, 1.78 ERA)—Is probably one of the best in the majors, but goes unnoticed most of the time.
RP—Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics (4-1, 5 SV, 2.52 ERA)—Rookie helping to solidify a young Oakland pitching staff and has earned the closer's job.
RP—Bobby Jenks, Chicago White Sox (14 SV, 3.68 ERA)—Jenks is probably the best White Sox player this season on a team that has struggled early on.
RP—Frank Francisco, Texas Rangers (12 SV, 0.46 ERA)—Shining after claiming the closer's job and even though he's injured, he's helped highlight a Texas pitching staff that is much improved.
OF—Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (.278 BA, 17 HR, 43 RBI)—Really coming into his own and helping strengthen a line-up that has been without Josh Hamilton for most of the year.
OF—Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays (.316 BA, 81 hits, 36 steals)—He's tearing up the bases again and pushing the envelope as one of the best base runners in the game.
OF—Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (.324 BA, 12 HR, 41 RBI)—Loaded with potential, he's living up to his billing and helping Baltimore become a talented team that could challenge in a few years.
1B—Mark Teixiera, New York Yankees (.284 BA, 20 HR, 54 RBI)—After a real sluggish start, Tex has lived up to his contract and with the return of A-Rod, has bashed the ball with authority in the new Yankee Stadium.
2B—Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays (.309 BA, 13 HR, 38 RBI)—A super-utility type, Zobrist has opened eyes with his play around the diamond and with his bat.
SS—Marco Scutaro, Toronto Blue Jays (.298 BA, 5 HR, 19 doubles)—Helped lead the Blue Jays to a big start and hasn't quit hitting.
C—Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians (.335 BA, 10 HR, 45 RBI)—Whether at first base or behind the plate, Martinez remains one of the best hitters in the American League.
3B—Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox (.331 BA, 11 HR, 38 RBI)—Slowed by injuries at a couple points throughout this season, he's still putting up big numbers in Boston.
Hardest Snubs: Johnny Damon, Chone Figgins, Michael Young, Adam Lind, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, Jonathan Papelbon and David Aardsma
SS—Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (.330 BA, 8 HR, 34 RBI)—Hasn't put up big numbers yet this year, but he's the best at his position in the National League.
3B—David Wright, New York Mets (.364 BA, 36 RBI, 17 steals)—Not hitting for power as much this season, Wright is still mashing and stealing more bases this year. He's pivotal now that Delgado and Reyes are out of the line-up for the Mets.
1B—Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (.324 BA, 22 HR, 57 RBI)—Adrian Gonzalez loses his starting nod to Pujols and he shouldn't complain.
RF—Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies (.322 BA, 22 HR, 59 RBI)—Ibanez's first season in Philadelphia has gone way beyond what the Phillies likely expected. He's making the Phillies a threat to win the World Series again this season.
2B—Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies (.305 BA, 15 HR, 43 RBI)—Along with Howard, Ibanez, and Victorino, Utley is apart of the most potent line-up in the National League.
CF—Carlos Beltran, New York Mets (.344 BA, 8 HR, 39 RBI)—He's continued to hit, although not with as much power. His presence, along with Wright's, has been very important for the Mets early on.
LF—Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (.313 BA, 13 HR, 42 RBI)—Braun has yet to go on a tear yet, but still has put up big numbers to help Milwaukee to the top of their division.
C—Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (.327 BA, 6 HR, 26 RBI)—Missed some time as well this year, but hits the ball with a lot of pop in a less-than-spectacular Atlanta line-up. He's definitely one of the top back stoppers in the National League.
SP—Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks (5-4, 2.20 ERA, .188 BAA, 90 K)—He's received little run support this year and he should have nine or 10 wins, but he should still get the starting nod over a very good group of pitchers in the NL.
SP—Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds (6-4, 2.17 ERA, 62 K)—He's quietly becoming one of the best young starters in the NL, if not all of baseball. He might have passed teammate Edison Volquez as the Cincinnati ace.
SP—Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants (9-1, 2.39 ERA, 68 K)—He's always had electric stuff and now is showcasing it for the second-place Giants. He's received just enough run support from the light-hitting Giants to earn nine wins so far this year.
SP—Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers (9-3, 2.72 ERA, 93 K)—Another good, young starter, Billingsley just so happens to also be on the best team in baseball. He, too, is quietly becoming an ace in just his second full season.
SP—Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins (6-1, 2.76 ERA, 83 K)—Hampered with injuries early on in his career, he's shrugged off the arm problems this year and posted great numbers across the board for the Marlins.
SP—Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs (7-4, 69 K, 2.94 ERA)—The lone Cubs representative, Lilly is perhaps the best this season in an impressive group of starters for the Cubs.
RP - Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets (16 SV, 0.57 ERA)—Given a big contract by the Mets means, he needed to produce and K-Rod has done just that this season.
RP—Heath Bell, San Diego Padres (18 SV, 1.32 ERA)—After Hoffman left San Diego, Bell was handed the closer's role and he hasn't disappointed this season.
RP—Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (6-0, 16 SV, 1.41 ERA, 53 K)—Six wins and 16 saves for the top club in the big leagues and Broxton has mowed down batters at a record pace.
RP—Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers (15 SV, 0.47 ERA)—No spring chicken, Hoffman is still closing games and shutting the door, this time in the unfamiliar Brewers uniform.
3B—Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals (.310 BA, 12 HR, 42 RBI)—He made headlines this year with his hit streak, but he's also one of the better players defensively. He's mired on a club still a couple years away, at least, of contending.
1B—Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres (.277 BA, 22 HR, 43 RBI)—Hitting in one of the toughest parks in the majors, Gonzalez has unloaded off NL pitching and has undoubtedly become one of the best left-handed power hitters in the game.
OF—Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies (.337 BA, 9 HR, 47 RBI)—Along with Todd Helton, Hawpe has been one of the most consistent performers in the first half of the season for the Rockies.
2B—Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates (.315 BA, 25 RBI, 22 doubles)—Always good with the glove, Sanchez has been raking this season as well and looks like the player who won the batting title a few years ago.
SS—Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros (.344 BA, 36 RBI, 23 doubles)—Tejada's playing on a poor Houston squad, but that hasn't prevented him from being near the top in many batting categories.
1B—Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers (.290 BA, 15 HR, 56 RBI)—He's led the Brewers to the top with his clutch hits and is shrugging off those who think he's overrated.
OF—Carlos Lee, Houston Astros (.313 BA, 11 HR, 40 RBI)—Off to a slow start, Lee is turning the dial up on the offense and is hoping to help lead his club out of the cellar and near the top of the NL Central.
Hardest Snubs: Mark Reynolds, Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Tim Lincecum, Yovanni Gallardo, Francisco Cordero, Ryan Franklin, and Justin Upton
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