Gail Burton/Associated Press
In his final season, Derek Jeter is going to hit leadoff and play shortstop for the AL, which is asking a lot of a 40-year-old.
And this is the AL lineup, as drawn up by Farrell:
- SS Derek Jeter, Yankees — RHB: 0.6 fWAR
- LF Mike Trout, Angels — RHB: 5.5 fWAR
- 2B Robinson Cano, Mariners — LHB: 3.5 fWAR
- 1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers — RHB: 3.1 fWAR
- RF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays — RHB: 3.1 fWAR
- DH Nelson Cruz, Orioles — RHB: 2.4 fWAR
- CF Adam Jones, Orioles — RHB: 3.5 fWAR
- 3B Josh Donaldson, Athletics — RHB: 3.6 fWAR
- C Salvador Perez, Royals — RHB: 2.9 fWAR
Again, this is a choose-your-own-adventure when it comes to identifying the biggest strengths. But it's hard to beat the two-three-four spots in terms of big names who offer either elite batting average (Cano), elite power or both (Trout, Cabrera). Plus, Farrell is using Cano in a prime position in at No. 3, where his lefty bat splits up righties Trout and Cabrera.
The second portion of the lineup is mostly built on power, as Bautista, Cruz and Donaldson all have isolated power marks above .200. Jones and Perez, meanwhile, are more well-rounded players who are above-average hitters and strong defenders at up-the-middle positions.
Now, about the elephant in the room. Look, Jeter has had an unparalleled career as a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is arguably the best ever to play the shortstop position. And while no decision by a manager in what is still mostly an exhibition game should be treated too harshly, Farrell's choice to place Jeter atop the order as a way of honoring him in his final season is simultaneously commendable and yet potentially problematic.
Among the 18 starters on both sides, Jeter's .324 OBP is tied with Jones for the second worst, as only Donaldson's .317 is worse and Ramirez's .336 OBP is the lowest in the NL. Not only that, but Jeter's defensive range—never a strong suit despite the reputation—has become more of an issue as he's aged, and that could be a factor on balls hit to the left side that Donaldson can't get his luscious leather on.
Then again, this is Jeter, so would you really be surprised if he does something special—with his bat, glove, arm or even legs—in his 14th and final All-Star hurrah?