MLB Second-Half All-Stars
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is dumb. There are tons of reasons.
My biggest pet peeve is that it's during the middle of the season. Why? Because it really doesn't prove who is the best player at each position. It only proves who was decent during the first half of the season.
So if we celebrate the first-half studs of the baseball season, why shouldn't we celebrate the second-half players?
I didn't divide it into AL/NL—I just took the two best players from each position, five starters, two relievers (yes, relievers count), and two closers.
Without further adieu, here are baseball's second-half studs...
Catcher: Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Mauer was the best catcher in the first half...and he's the best catcher in the second half. MVP anybody?
Second-half stats: .368 avg, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 1.030 OPS
Reserve: Brian McCann (Atl | .273 avg, 13 HR, 53 RBI, .838 OPS)
First Base: Derrek Lee (Chicago Cubs)
After a tremendously slow start, D-Lee has exploded in the second half. He should finish in the top-five for MVP voting.
Second-half stats: .336 avg, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 1.104 OPS
Reserve: Ryan Howard (Phi | .300 avg, 21 HR, 69 RBI, .988 OPS)
Second Base: Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Angels)
From potential bust to star, Kendrick is another potent bat in the Halos offense. He's really rejuvenated himself.
Second-half stats: .379 avg, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 1.002 OPS
Reserve: Robinson Cano (Nyy | .338 avg, 11 HR, 34 RBI, .925 OPS)
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)
From needing a benching earlier in the year to being the Rockies' MVP, Tulowitzki's second half is extraordinary.
Second-half stats: .329 avg, 14 HR, 49 RBI, .999 OPS, 7 SB
Reserve: Hanley Ramirez (Fla | .347 avg, 10 HR, 44 RBI, .953 OPS, 13 SB)
Third Base: Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals)
Ryan Zimmerman was a deserving All-Star. He should also win the NL's Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at third.
Second-half stats: .289 avg, 17 HR, 48 RBI, .949 OPS
Reserve: Aramis Ramirez (Chc | .316 avg, 11 HR, 47 RBI, .936 OPS)
*Note: Michael Young would be here for sure had it not been for injury.
Left Field: Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals)
Nobody in baseball has had a better second half than Matt Holliday. Getting out of Oakland into St. Louis really helped.
Second-half stats: .358 avg, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 1.057 OPS
Reserve: Ryan Braun (Mil | .319 avg, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .922 OPS, 9 SB)
Center Field: Rajai Davis (Oakland Athletics)
Rajai Davis could be the underrated player of the year. He's the best offensive player on the wretched Athletics offense.
Second-half stats: .339 avg, 1 HR, 41 RBI, .852 OPS, 29 SB
Reserve: Matt Kemp (Lad | .282 avg, 15 HR, 50 RBI, .839 OPS, 15 SB)
Right Field: Andre Ethier (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Mr. Clutch is having a great second half. After a sluggish first half, Ethier found his swing.
Second-half stats: .310 avg, 13 HR, 48 RBI, .964 OPS
Reserve: Michael Cuddyer (Min | .283 avg, 16 HR, 41 RBI, .860 OPS)
Designated Hitter: Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees)
Not that he had a terrible first half, but Matsui is hitting the ball better in the second half.
Second-half stats: .298 avg, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .914 OPS
Reserve: Adam Lind (Tor | .294 avg, 13 HR, 50 RBI, .892 OPS)
Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals)
Adam Wainwright is having a great year...and his great second half is helping his Cy Young campaign.
Second-half stats: 9-3, 1.96 ERA, 89 Ks, 1.10 WHIP
Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals)
What a turnaround for Greinke. He's having one of the best pitched seasons in baseball history, and hasn't slowed in the second half.
Second-half stats: 5-3, 2.02 ERA, 100 Ks, 1.03 WHIP
Starting Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals)
Carpenter-Wainwright is a devastating one-two punch...especially since both of them maintained it in the second half.
Second-half stats: 9-1, 2.16 ERA, 74 Ks, 1.13 WHIP
Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia (New York Yankees)
CC Sabathia didn't have a great first half. But he's played for the paycheck that he's getting in the second half.
Second-half stats: 11-1, 2.36 ERA, 99 Ks, 1.04 WHIP
Starting Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo (Cincinnati Reds)
How much has Arroyo's second half been better than his first? His second-half ERA is less than half his first-half ERA.
Second-half stats: 5-5, 2.34 ERA, 62 Ks, 1.08 WHIP
Relief Pitcher: Phil Hughes (New York Yankees)
Phil Hughes has continued his reliability as a middle reliever into the second half.
Second-half stats: 13 Holds, 1.44 ERA, 43 Ks, 0.93 WHIP
Reserve: Jose Mijares (Min | 15 Holds, 2.27 ERA, 29 Ks, 0.95 WHIP)
Closer: Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees)
Rivera is having yet another fantastic year. Having hit the 500 save mark earlier in the season, he has continued his dominance in the second half.
Second-half stats: 21 saves, 0.99 ERA, 28 Ks, 0.95 WHIP
Reserve: Jose Valverde (Hou | 17 saves, 1.16 ERA, 30 Ks, 1.06 WHIP)