The American League's stars have been aligned. Without question, its roster for the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota is a reflection of the best and brightest from the Junior Circuit. MLB tweeted the roster results on Sunday evening, including the final nominees for the fan vote and the reserves:
Who will start? AL pitchers: Betances, Buehrle, Darvish, Doolittle, Felix, Holland, Kazmir, Lester, Perkins, Price, Scherzer, Tanaka. #ASG— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2014
AL reserves: Abreu, Alexei, Altuve, Beltre, Brantley, Cespedes, Encarnacion, Gordon, Moss, Norris, Perez, Suzuki, V-Mart. #ASG— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2014
Here's a breakdown of the rosters for both teams with each player's full name:
|American League Starters||National League Starters|
|Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals||Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals*|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers||Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks*|
|Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners||Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies*|
|Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees||Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies*|
|Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland Athletics||Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers*|
|Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels||Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates*|
|Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays||Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee Brewers*|
|Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles||Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers*|
|Nelson Cruz, DH, Baltimore Orioles||Giancarlo Stanton, DH, Miami Marlins*|
|AL Reserves||NL Reserves|
|Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics||Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers|
|Kurt Suzuki, C, Minnesota Twins||Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds|
|Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox||Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves|
|Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit Tigers||Dee Gordon, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays||Daniel Murphy, 2B, New York Mets|
|Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Oakland Athletics||Starlin Castro, SS, Chicago Cubs|
|Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros||Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds|
|Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox||Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers||Josh Harrison, IF/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics||Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies|
|Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City Royals||Hunter Pence, OF, San Francisco Giants|
|Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians|
|AL Pitchers||NL Pitchers|
|Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers||Johnny Cueto, RHP, Cincinnati Reds|
|Max Scherzer, RHP, Detroit Tigers||Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle Mariners||Zack Greinke, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, New York Yankees||Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants|
|Jon Lester, LHP, Boston Red Sox||Adam Wainwright, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays||Tyson Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres|
|Scott Kazmir, LHP, Oakland Athletics||Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington Nationals|
|Mark Buehrle, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays||Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves|
|Sean Doolittle, LHP, Oakland Athletics||Craig Kimbrel, RHP Atlanta Braves|
|Greg Holland, RHP, Kansas City Royals||Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds|
|Glen Perkins, LHP, Minnesota Twins||Francisco Rodriguez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers|
|Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees||Tony Watson, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Pat Neshek, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals|
While every player honored has a strong case for inclusion, some are more worthy than others. Here's a look at the guys who have been absolute monsters through the first half of the season.
The No Doubters
Mike Trout, 3rd Selection
So much for feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract. After inking a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, a normal man might have struggled as he tried to live up to the mammoth deal.
Well, Mike Trout is no normal man.
Through 82 games, the 22-year-old force of nature is hitting .308 with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. He's well on his way to toppling his previous career highs in the latter two categories.
If the season ended today, he'd get a ton of first-place MVP votes, and he'd be as deserving of them as he is a starting spot for the American League All-Stars.
Trout thanked the fans for voting him as a starter shortly after the announcements came through.
Very honored to be picked to represent the American League in the All-Star Game.Thank you team and fans for your support. #Angels#VoteGRich— Mike Trout (@Trouty20) July 7, 2014
Edwin Encarnacion, 2nd Selection
It's a bittersweet occasion for Edwin Encarnacion. The Toronto Blue Jays slugger is second in the major leagues in home runs and RBI with 26 and 70, respectively, but he won't be able to play in the All-Star Game.
Per Shi Davidi of SportsNet, Encarnacion is headed for the disabled list after suffering a quadriceps injury:
Without a question, Encarnacion is in the early conversation for MVP with Trout, though one of his teammates may be stealing a few of his votes. It's a shame Double E won't get a chance to perform in Minnesota.
The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will miss his presence.
Jose Bautista, 5th Selection
That aforementioned, vote-stealing, Blue Jays teammate is Jose Bautista. The two-time home run king is at it again this season.
He has 17 dingers, but the 33-year-old veteran has transformed himself into more of a complete hitter. Bautista is hitting .300 and could top that benchmark for just the second time in his career if he maintains or exceeds the pace he set in the first half of the season.
Bautista's eye at the plate has seemingly returned. He's already drawn 60 bases on balls after earning just 59 and 69 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In his two huge years with Toronto, Bautista walked an average of 116 times.
He's on pace to fit into that slot again in 2014.
It wouldn't be All-Star season without a spirited debate about players who were snubbed. Here's the biggest snubs from the pool of position players and pitchers.
Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals
With all due respect to the great Derek Jeter who is playing in his last season and All-Star Game, Alcides Escobar has been better than the Captain in every way in 2014.
The 27-year-old shortstop is hitting 18 points higher than Jeter, has a higher on-base percentage, more RBI and he's stolen 21 bases compared to the future Hall of Famer's six.
Some fans may turn a blind eye because of the sentimental value, but this still qualifies as a snub.
Jeff Samardzija, Oakland A's
This one is clearly because of a technicality, but it's still a snub. Jeff Samardzija was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics on Friday, and the deal left the ace without a league to represent.
Despite the fact that Samardzija was selected as a member of the National League squad, he's now part of an American League team.
In addition, we want to congratulate Jeff Samardzija for his selection to the NL squad based on his achievements in Chicago this season.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 6, 2014
Since he hasn't performed long enough to garner a spot based on his work with the A's, he will be inactive for the All-Star Game.
Jeff Samardzija will be inactive for the All-Star Game in Minneapolis. (2/2)— MLB (@MLB) July 6, 2014
WSCR's Bruce Levine breaks down Samardzija's All-Star predicament:
Source:Jeff Samardzija gets his All Star bonus and can attend the game . Where he sits is a TBA . Another Cubbie occurrence .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) July 6, 2014
Well, at least he's likely headed for the postseason with Oakland, the team with the best record in the majors. That wasn't the case in Chicago. Samardzija will almost certainly take the trade-off.