The 2008 MLB All Star Teams will be announced the afternoon of Sunday, July 6th. Listed below are my projections for the American League team.
I have completed a 32-man roster. Note that the starters are the same as those who were leading the last time the voting results were announced. Personally, I do not believe that Kosuke Fukudome or Ken Griffey Jr. should be starting over Pat Burrell or Ryan Braun.
I have also fulfilled the requirement that each team must be represented. In this instance, only three teams were not represented after the initial selections of reserves and pitchers -- the Dodgers, Padres, and Nationals.
C: Geovany Soto, Chicago
1B: Lance Berkman, Houston
2B: Chase Utley, Philadelphia
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3B: Chipper Jones, Atlanta
OF: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati
OF: Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago
After doing a fine job in the infield, the fans completely mess up the outfield. None of the three deserve a spot on the team, and Griffey has been outright terrible. He made the team last year while playing reasonably well, couldn't that have been his "career achievement" selection for 600 HR? It would have been nice to be able to squeeze Jason Bay, Ryan Ludwick, and Carlos Lee onto this team.
C: Brian McCann, Atlanta
1B: Albert Pujols, St. Louis (So Adrian Gonzalez leads the league in RBI's. He's played well. He hasn't played better than Pujols -- look at the difference in OPS -- 1.095 to .871)
2B: Dan Uggla, Florida
SS: Jose Reyes, New York
3B: David Wright, New York
OF: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia
OF: Matt Holliday, Colorado
OF: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh (A true center fielder on our team! The next best option would be Carlos Beltran if you're curious.)
C: Russell Martin, Los Angeles (Representing the Dodgers. Chad Billingsley has rebounded quite nicely from a rough start, and Saito, Kuo, and Kemp have played well, but Martin's a pretty easy pick.)
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego (I was too hard on Adrian in my comments for Pujols. Even if we didn't need a Padre, Gonzo would still be a lock for this team.)
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Chicago (He's had a very nice year for the best team in the NL. So has Derrek Lee, but we don't need a 4th first baseman.)
OF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee (Honestly, he trails Ludwick and Bay in terms of performance to this point. I am being a little subjective with this one, because I believe Braun is more of a "star." It should be noted that a recent slump has hurt him; a few weeks ago he would have been an obvious pick.)
SP: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco (My pick to start the game)
SP: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
SP: Ben Sheets, Milwaukee
SP: Dan Haren, Arizona
SP: Brandon Webb, Arizona (According to an AP article from late Saturday, the rumor is Webb will get the starting nod. This surprises me -- it's nice that he has 12 wins, and he's also more established than Lincecum or Volquez, but he definitely hasn't had the best season. If you're looking for a "proven star", Sheets and Haren have outpitched him too. However, Webb is still a deserving member of this team.)
RP: Brad Lidge, Philadelphia
RP: Billy Wagner, New York
RP: Kerry Wood, Chicago (Not nearly the depth at closer that there is in the AL...)
RP: Jon Rauch, Washington (He's had a fine year, and I REALLY don't want to pick Cristian Guzman.)
SP: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia (His record and ERA don't separate him from the other candidates, his WHIP does...)
SP: Johan Santana, New York (I realize that he's 7-7. His ERA, WHIP, and strikeout rate all indicate that he's still pitched at an All-Star clip.)
If you've been counting as we go, you'll notice that's only 31 players. The 32nd spot is determined by an online vote by the fans. Like my AL projections, I again have the election determining a spot on the pitching staff.
32nd Man Vote
SP: Carlos Zambrano, Chicago
SP: Ryan Dempster, Chicago
SP: Tim Hudson, Atlanta
SP: Aaron Cook, Colorado
SP: Kyle Lohse, St. Louis
I would vote for either Dempster or Hudson out of these picks, and based on performance this year, I would lean towards Dempster. However, I would guess that Carlos Zambrano would win the vote. (Although he might split the Cubs fan vote with Dempster...Cubs fans, feel free to let me know your preference.)
Jason Bay, Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Lee, Xavier Nady, Carlos Beltran, Corey Hart, Derrek Lee, Bengie Molina, Mark Teixeira, Brandon Phillips, Miguel Tejada, Garrett Atkins, Jimmy Rollins, Orlando Hudson, Mark DeRosa, Rick Ankiel, Adam Dunn
As for the pitchers, apologies to...
Jair Jurrjens, Chad Billingsley, Adam Wainwright (hurt), Brandon Lyon, Francisco Cordero, Takashi Saito, Taylor Buchholz, Hong-Chih Kuo