MLB All-Star Game: Final American League Ballot
The All-Star selection show is on Sunday. Inevitably, there are going to be some snubs (whether it be due to fan voting or the "every team must be represented" rule).
As of today, here are who should be the 34 All-Stars for the American League in Anaheim this year.
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
This is a very weak position. It's basically a choice between those who have not played poorly. Mauer's numbers are all down across the board, but he's still clearly the best option to start.
Stats: .300 BA, 3 HR, 34 RBI, .806 OPS, 1 SB
Reserve: John Buck (Toronto Blue Jays) surprisingly leads AL catchers with 40 RBI and is second in home runs with 13 long balls.
Injury: Victor Martinez (Boston Red Sox) should be on the team, but an injury will prevent him from participating.
Who will actually start: Joe Mauer
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera is currently at the top of the class at this stacked position. He has been the crux of the Tigers offense and has been in triple crown contention for the first half of the year.
Stats: .337 BA, 20 HR, 68 RBI, .1040 OPS, 2 SB
Reserves: Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins) is having yet another fabulous year, leading AL first basemen in batting average (.348) and OPS (1.059).
Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox) is also top five in the American League in RBI (56) and is tied for first in home runs (20).
Also considered: Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox), Billy Butler (Kansas City Royals)
Who will actually start: Justin Morneau
Second Base: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Cano is just the best second baseman in the league, period. He leads AL second basemen in batting average, home runs, RBI, and OPS. He's considered a serious MVP candidate as of now.
Stats: .353 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI, .992 OPS, 2 SB
Reserve: Ty Wigginton (Baltimore Orioles) gets on the team because the terrible O's need a representative, and he's having a surprising season (14 HR, 42 RBI, .808 OPS).
Injury: Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox) would be on the team but is out for six weeks.
Who will actually start: Robinson Cano
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Jeter joins his double-play teammate, starting at shortstop. Like at catcher, shortstop is a weak position in the AL this year and Jeter has been the strongest candidate.
Stats: .283 BA, 8 HR, 39 RBI, .754 OPS, 8 SB
Reserve: Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers) has been a stud, leading AL shortstops in batting average (.292) and stolen bases (22).
Who will actually start: Derek Jeter
Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Boston Red Sox
With Evan Longoria having a forgettable June, Beltre now deserves to be the starting AL third baseman. His offensive numbers have been staggeringly impressive.
Stats: .349 BA, 12 HR, 53 RBI, .944 OPS, 1 SB
Reserve: Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) has been struggling of late, but still deserving with 12 home runs, 54 RBI, and 12 stolen bases.
Michael Young (Texas Rangers) continues to impress as a consistent staple in the Rangers offense (.315 BA, 51 RBI, .863 OPS).
Also considered: Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees)
Who will actually start: Evan Longoria
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
Hamilton is having another monster year, and could compete with Miguel Cabrera for the triple crown. He is the reason the Rangers have a chance to dethrone the Angels in the AL West.
Stats: .340 BA, 18 HR, 58 RBI, .993 OPS, 6 SB
Who will actually start: Josh Hamilton
Outfield: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers
Magglio Ordonez is rejuvenated and getting the job done without home runs. He is top five among AL outfielders in batting average, runs batted in, and OPS.
Stats: .314 BA, 10 HR, 49 RBI, .882 OPS, 1 SB
Who will actually start: Ichiro Suzuki
Outfield: Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox
It must suck to be JP Riccardi with the way Vernon Wells and Alex Rios are playing. Rios, after prematurely being labeled a bust for the White Sox last year, has changed his swing for the better.
Stats: .307 BA, 13 HR, 42 RBI, .885 OPS, 21 SB
Reserves: Vernon Wells (Toronto Blue Jays) is second among AL outfielders in OPS and home runs and seventh in RBI.
Brennan Boesch (Detroit Tigers) is a frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year. Compare his numbers now to Evan Longoria's in 2008 when he made the team as a rookie:
Longoria (Pre-ASG '08): 306 AB, .275 BA, 16 HR, 53 RBI, .861 OPS
Boesch (Pre-ASG '10): 211 AB, .332 BA, 12 HR, 45 RBI, .982 OPS
Torii Hunter (Los Angeles Angels) is second among AL outfielders in RBI and eighth in OPS.
Shin-soo Choo (Cleveland Indians) gets a spot because there is no other worthy player from Cleveland (13 HR, 43 RBI).
Nick Swisher (New York Yankees) is having an outstanding year being top seven in OPS, home runs, and RBI.
Also considered: Ichiro (Seattle Mariners), Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Rays), David DeJesus (Kansas City Royals), Delmon Young (Minnesota Twins), Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
Who will actually start: Carl Crawford
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers
In triple-crown categories, Vladimir Guerrero is first in RBI, fifth in home runs, and sixth in batting average. The Angels are missing his bat.
Stats: .336 BA, 18 HR, 68 RBI, .954 OPS, 4 SB
Reserve: Jose Guillen (Kansas City Royals) is having a surprising year that included a 21-game hitting streak.
Who will actually start: Vladimir Guerrero
Starting Pitcher: David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Price is the obvious choice to start the All-Star Game for the AL. He leads two of the three triple-crown categories in wins and ERA.
Stats: 11-3, 2.44 ERA, 84 Ks, 0.92 WHIP
Reserves: Clay Buchholz (Boston Red Sox) has been effective and just trails Price in wins and ERA.
Cliff Lee (Seattle Mariners) has been unbelievable, with only a total of five walks this entire season.
Andy Pettitte (New York Yankees) is having a surprising season with nine wins and a 2.72 ERA.
Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels) leads American League pitchers with 124 strikeouts.
Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay Rays) and Jason Vargas (Seattle Mariners) continue to be underrated and super-effective (both 2.80 ERA).
Trevor Cahill (Oakland Athletics) has an ERA that keeps dropping (2.74) and an impressive 8-2 record.
Jon Lester (Boston Red Sox) has already racked up nine wins and 111 strikeouts.
Also considered: Ricky Romero (Toronto Blue Jays), Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners), Carl Pavano (Minnesota Twins), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Colby Lewis (Texas Rangers)
Who will actually start: David Price
Closer: Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers had a closer problem, and bringing in Valverde has fixed it. Among American League closers, he has the best ERA.
Stats: 18/19 saves, 0.53 ERA, 0.68 WHIP
Reserves: Mariano Rivera (New York Yankees) continues his dominance as a closer (18/19 saves, 0.89 ERA, 0.59 WHIP).
Rafael Soriano (Tampa Bay Rays) has been a Godsend for the Rays (19/20 saves and a 0.73 WHIP).
Also considered: Neftali Feliz (Texas Rangers), Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals), Andrew Bailey (Oakland Athletics)
Who will actually close: Mariano Rivera