2010 MLB All-Star Game: Position-By-Position Predictions

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2010 MLB All-Star Game: Position-By-Position Predictions
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Although it is only a few weeks into the 2010 Major League Baseball season, it's not too early to take a look at the 2010 Midsummer Classic in Anaheim, California. All-Star week is filled with excitement and fun for MLB players and fans. Who will be representing their respective leagues in Anaheim?

American League

Starting Lineup

Pitcher: Zack Greinke-Kansas City Royals

Catcher: Joe Mauer-Minnesota Twins

First Base: Kevin Youkilis-Boston Red Sox

Second Base: Robinson Cano-New York Yankees

Third Base: Evan Longoria-Tampa Bay Rays

Shortstop: Derek Jeter-New York Yankees

Left Field: Carl Crawford-Tampa Bay Rays

Center Field: Torii Hunter-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Right Field: Nelson Cruz-Texas Rangers

Designated Hitter: Hideki Matsui-Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 

Reserves

Catcher: Matt Wieters-Baltimore Orioles

First Base: Mark Teixeira-New York Yankees

First Base: Miguel Cabrera-Detroit Tigers

First Base: Justin Morneau-Minnesota Twins

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia-Boston Red Sox

Second Base: Gordon Beckham-Chicago White Sox

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez-New York Yankees

Shortstop: Alex Gonzalez-Toronto Blue Jays

Outfield: Josh Hamilton-Texas Rangers

Outfield: Adam Lind-Toronto Blue Jays

Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury-Boston Red Sox

Outfield: Curtis Granderson-New York Yankees

Outfield: Shin-Soo Choo-Cleveland Indians

Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki-Seattle Mariners

Pitchers

Felix Hernandez-Seattle Mariners

Jon Lester-Boston Red Sox

Justin Verlander-Detroit Tigers

CC Sabathia-New York Yankees

John Lackey-Boston Red Sox

Brett Anderson-Oakland Athletics

Mariano Rivera-New York Yankees

Jonathan Papelbon-Boston Red Sox

Jon Rauch-Minnesota Twins

David Aardsma-Seattle Mariners

Breakdown

In the starting lineup, there are no major shocks. Greinke is the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Mauer is the best catcher in the league, Jeter has no competition at shortstop, and Carl Crawford has been a great outfielder for the past few years.

Kevin Youkilis at first base would be a bit of a surprise to most. However, he did make the team last season, and I don't see Mark Teixeira or Miguel Cabrera having a good enough first half to overtake him. Look for Youkilis to have strong first half for the Red Sox.

Also, Robinson Cano will finally have his breakout season. He has yet to be consistent for the Yankees, however, everything may finally be in place for him to be a major contributor to New York's lineup.

Alex Rodriguez will not dominate as he has in past seasons. Evan Longoria has played well over the past few seasons. He deserves to receive a start in the All-Star Game.

In addition, Nelson Cruz has started this season hot. He is currently hitting .353 with six home runs and twelve RBI. Obviously, it is too early to tell if he will stay hot. However, he did make the All-Star team last season, and Ichiro, the usual starter in right field, will not have a strong season, thrusting Cruz into the starting lineup.

Designated hitter is somewhat improvised. Matsui does not always DH for the Angels. However, he will certainly have a better first half than David Ortiz, Travis Hafner, or Carlos Guillen.

In the reserves, there are two surprises. First, there is Alex Gonzalez making the team as a shortstop reserve. Even I find this prediction a bit farfetched. However, he has started the season red-hot. My belief is that he will have a breakout season similarly to Adam Lind, Ben Zobrist, and Jason Bartlett from 2009.

Also, Jon Rauch is on the list as an All-Star reliever. He is currently the Minnesota Twins' closer, due to Joe Nathan's injury. So far, he has six saves and has given up just one earned run.

Last season, there were many closers that few people had heard of before the season started, who made All-Star rosters. Andrew Bailey and Ryan Franklin both surprised by having terrific seasons. In addition, David Aardsma and Rafael Soriano both had very good seasons without even winning the closing job to begin the year. Seeing Rauch on the 2010 AL All-Star team wouldn't surprise me at all.

National League

Starting Lineup

Pitcher: Tim Lincecum-San Francisco Giants

Catcher: Brian McCann-Atlanta Braves

First Base: Albert Pujols-St. Louis Cardinals

Second Base: Chase Utley-Philadelphia Phillies

Third Base: David Wright-New York Mets

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez-Florida Marlins

Left Field: Ryan Braun-Milwaukee Brewers

Center Field: Matt Kemp-Los Angeles Dodgers

Right Field: Andre Ethier-Los Angeles Dodgers

Designated Hitter: Prince Fielder-Milwaukee Brewers

Reserves

Catcher: Yadier Molina-St. Louis Cardinals

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez-San Diego Padres

First Base: Ryan Howard-Philadelphia Phillies

Second Base: Martin Prado-Atlanta Braves

Third Base: Mark Reynolds-Arizona Diamondbacks

Third Base: Casey McGehee-Milwaukee Brewers

Shortstop: Stephen Drew-Arizona Diamondbacks

Outfield: Josh Willingham-Washington Nationals

Outfield: Jason Heyward-Atlanta Braves

Outfield: Shane Victorino-Philadelphia Phillies

Outfield: Jayson Werth-Philadelphia Phillies

Outfield: Justin Upton-Arizona Diamondbacks

Outfield: Matt Holliday-St. Louis Cardinals

Pitchers

Roy Halladay-Philadelphia Phillies

Ubaldo Jiminez-Colorado Rockies

Adam Wainwright-St. Louis Cardinals

Tommy Hanson-Atlanta Braves

Ricky Nolasco-Florida Marlins

Dan Haren-Arizona Diamondbacks

Ryan Franklin-St. Louis Cardinals

Francisco Cordero-Cincinnati Reds

Heath Bell-San Diego Padres

Brian Wilson-San Francisco Giants

Breakdown

The National League starting lineup is essentially the same as last season's, especially in the infield. There are only a few changes. Brian McCann will overtake Yadier Molina at catcher, in part because the 2010 Midsummer Classic is not in St. Louis.

In addition, Matt Kemp will take another big step in becoming a great player this season. He is one of the best young stars in the game today, and is only getting better. Kemp deserves to be an All-Star starter.

Kemp's teammate, Andre Ethier, will continue to play well. He was a good outfield option for the Dodgers last season, winning a Silver Slugger Award. Plus, he has started 2010 hot. Look for Ethier's strong play to continue throughout the season, giving him his first career All-Star appearance.

Obviously, the National League rarely uses a designated hitter. Therefore, I put in who I believed was the best hitter that was not starting. Fielder is a great hitter and first baseman, but no one will surpass Albert Pujols in the starting lineup.

The first surprise on the reserve list is Braves' second baseman Martin Prado. He currently has one of the highest batting averages in the majors, along with one of the highest on-base percentages.

Now, Prado won't provide any great power numbers. But keep in mind that he has produced before. Last season, Prado played well in the absence of Kelly Johnson at second base. Look for him to produce even more in an expanded role this season.

At third base, Casey McGehee makes it on the roster. Like Prado, he produced in a limited role last season as has started this season on fire. Although it might be unlikely that he makes the roster, McGehee certainly deserves a shot. If he can sustain his success, then there is a good possibility that the Brewers' third baseman makes the National League roster.

Josh Willingham is another surprise on this roster. Just like Prado and McGehee, he had success last season, posting 24 home runs. He already has three this season. Don't be surprised if the Nationals' outfielder continues to stay hot and sneak on the National League All-Star team.

Then there is Jason Heyward, one of the most sought-after prospects of the season. He has started off his rookie season very well, posting three home runs, 15 RBI, and a .302 batting average. Heyward's first career at bat was a home run.

Although it is rather unlikely a rookie will make the All-Star team, Heyward has the tools to do so. Look for him to continue to play exceptionally well and make the National League team.

Heyward's teammate Tommy Hanson burst onto the baseball scene last season and pitched very well. He will continue to improve through the course of this season and develop into a superstar. This season will be the first of many All-Star appearances for Hanson.

Obviously, it is fairly early to be thinking about the All-Star Game, therefore I expect a lot of disagreement over my predictions.

Honestly, I doubt that many of these forecasts are correct. But, it's fun to at least try, right?

 

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