BaseRuns, a more accurate but similar stat to Runs Created, takes into account a player’s ability to hit, hit for power, draw walks, steal bases and stay out of double plays.
In this article I am going to piece together the true American League All-Star starters based on 2008 production, rather than what is usually the case of east coast, big market bias… and Ichiro.
At first base is Kevin Youkilis (54), who holds a two BaseRuns lead over Justin Morneau (52) even with less plate appearances. This is an easy pick with Youkilis holding wide leads in OBP and SLG, while playing Gold Glove defense.
Starting at second base will be Ian Kinsler (65) over Brian Roberts (59). Though this is tough call, Kinsler’s power numbers tip the scale in his favor.
Third base is not even a contest as Alex Rodriguez (53) is dominating the competition even while missing time due to injury. Evan Longoria (47) has been a real bright spot in his rookie season and is no doubt a future perennial All-Star, however it is going to take a monster season and some A-Rod aging to win a starting nod.
If the AL team could play without a shortstop, I’m sure they would consider it, as this year’s crop has put up some embarrassing production. Michael Young (43) gets the start, barely beating out Orlando Cabrera (41) and his defense. Of course, this is the most moot point this season as the city would burn if Derek Jeter (39) wasn’t in the lineup with the game in New York.
Joe Mauer (46) will handle the catching duties as only A.J. Pierzynski (36) and Dioner Navarro (31) are in the same stratosphere. The only thing that may keep Mauer from a decade straight of starting for the AL team would be a position change or some monster numbers out of hot prospect Jeff Clement in Seattle.
At DH will be Milton Bradley (62) who may be the best hitter in the league so far this season. His punishing line of .330/.452/.630 could conceivably improve with the way the ball flies in Arlington during the summer months.
The starting outfield should be a real bright spot with Grady Sizemore (62), Josh Hamilton (62) and Carlos Quentin (58) all mashing their way onto the team. J.D. Drew (54) and his heroic June is making the loudest push for a spot, while Nick Markakis (56) continues to fly under the radar as a real star.
CF - Grady Sizemore
1B - Kevin Youkilis
3B - Alex Rodriguez
DH - Milton Bradley
RF - Josh Hamilton
C - Joe Mauer
2B - Ian Kinsler
LF - Carlos Quentin
SS - Michael Young