MLB Second-Half All-Stars
The MLB All-Star Game is dumb. People use it to note a player's credentials in their careers, even though it only measures half of a player's season,
So why don't we look at second-half stars? Here are the best players per position in each league in the second half of 2010.
AL Catcher: Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Mauer didn't have a spectacular first half, but his second half of the season has been great. He has put himself in the 2010 MVP race by looking like the Joe Mauer of 2009.
Second-half stats: .406 avg, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 1.081 OPS
Second-string: John Buck (.324 avg, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .806 OPS) was injured for a portion of the second half, but has still been the second-best American League catcher.
NL Catcher: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
Can you say front-runner for the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year?
Posey has continued his strong 2010 campaign with a decent second half and continues to be an important presence in the Giants lineup.
Second-half stats: .310 avg, 3 HR, 34 RBI, .806 OPS
Second-string: Yadier Molina (.324 avg, 2 HR, 15 RBI, .816 OPS) might not have deserved to go to the All-Star game, but he's having a great second half.
AL First Baseman: Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
If MVP voters voted for players from non-playoff teams, then it would be an easy choice for Cabrera.
He has kept up his spectacular 2010 season with great play in the second half, despite the Tigers' slide.
Second-half stats: .331 avg, 10 HR, 28 RBI, 1.090 OPS
Second-string: Paul Konerko (.346 avg, 11 HR, 25 RBI, 1.027 OPS) usually slows down in the second half, but is putting together one of the best seasons of his career.
NL First Baseman: Albert Pujols & Joey Votto (Tie)
It's literally neck-and-neck between Albert Pujols and Joey Votto.
Both actually have a chance, and this late in the season, to capture the Triple Crown in the National League and both have kept their teams in the NL Central race.
Pujols's second-half stats: .344 avg, 14 HR, 30 RBI, 1.086 OPS
Votto's second-half stats: .356 avg, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 1.058 OPS
AL Second Baseman: Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox)
After an atrocious first half, Gordon Beckham has showed signs of his 2009 brilliance again.
He didn't let trade talks get to him, and has been the best second baseman in the AL in the second half.
Second-half stats: .326 avg, 6 HR, 24 RBI, .939 OPS
Second-string: Howie Kendrick (.314 avg, 3 HR, 11 RBI, .807 OPS) always seems to play much better in the second half of the season.
NL Second Baseman: Omar Infante (Atlanta Braves)
What a great story. After the Braves' MVP Martin Prado was forced to sit out with injury, Infante, a controversial All-Star, took his spot.
And now Infante has been spectacular and arguably the Braves' MVP in the second half.
Second-half stats: .358 avg, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .919 OPS
Second-string: Neil Walker (.315 avg, 2 HR, 29 RBI, .814 OPS) has been one of the brightest spots in Pittsburgh after yet another losing season.
AL Shortstop: Yuniesky Bentancourt (Kansas City Royals)
Yuniesky Bentancourt has been on fire as of late. And he has already surpassed his season high in home runs and should easily pass his season-high RBI totals.
Second-half stats: .297 avg, 7 HR, 26 RBI, .816 OPS
Second-string: Alexei Ramirez (.305 avg, 6 HR, 21 RBI, .805 OPS) should be on his way to a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger if the writers don't give both to Derek Jeter.
NL Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies)
Tulo was my preseason pick for NL MVP, but an injury but a damper on his season. However, he's still having a hell of a second half.
The question is whether the Rockies still have a chance to make the postseason.
Second-half stats: .349 avg, 3 HR, 20 RBI, .929 OPS
Second-string: Starlin Castro (.359 avg, 1 HR, 14 RBI, .882 OPS) is a star in the making for the Cubs, who continues to rake in the second half.
AL Third Baseman: Adrian Beltre (Boston Red Sox)
Beltre has been the MVP of the Red Sox, and the best third baseman in the American League this year, which includes Evan Longoria. His second-half play has been strong, like his first half.
Second-half stats: .310 avg, 10 HR, 32 RBI, .938 OPS
Second-string: Danny Valencia (.331 avg, 2 HR, 19 RBI, .848 OPS) has been a nice surprise for the Twins and could turn out to be a key player in their AL Central run.
NL Third Baseman: Chris Johnson (Houston Astros)
This is the only picture they had of Chris Johnson on Bleacher Report. Can you say the most underrated rookie of the season? Johnson has been a hit machine in the second half.
Second-half stats: .372 avg, 6 HR, 28 RBI, .978 OPS
Second-string: Aramis Ramirez (.304 avg, 10 HR, 33 RBI, .912 OPS) came back from injury with a great second half, albeit too late for the Cubs.
AL Left Field: Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)
Hamilton is probably on his way to the American League MVP in 2010.
He's the best player on a team headed for the playoffs and his second half has been just as outstanding as his first half.
Second half stats: .386 avg, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 1.117 OPS
Second-string: Delmon Young (.308 avg, 6 HR, 33 RBI, .821 OPS) has been one of the key offensive weapons for the Twins.
NL Left Field: Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies)
Carlos Gonzalez is another MVP candidate and has evolved into a complete five-tool player.
He ranks in the top ten in the National League in most of the important offensive categories.
Second-half stats: .336 avg, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 1.033 OPS
Second-string: Raul Ibanez (.317 avg, 5 HR, 25 RBI, .902 OPS) had a disappointing first half, but has looked like his 2009 self in the second half.
AL Center Field: Vernon Wells (Toronto Blue Jays)
Center field in the American League is by far the weakest position in the second half. Vernon Wells hasn't put up the best numbers, but he has been the least worst.
Second-half stats: .281 avg, 4 HR, 17 RBI, .788 OPS
Second-string: Austin Jackson (.320 avg, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .793 OPS) continues to put up good numbers, and will likely win the AL Rookie of the Year.
NL Center Field: Andres Torres (San Francisco Giants)
Torres has been a pleasant surprise in the Giants offense. Aside from his great defense, Torres can also steal bases and is one of those players who plays the game the right way,
Second-half stats: .292 avg, 6 HR, 28 RBI, .870 OPS
Second-string: Chris Denorfia (.315 avg, 7 HR, 20 RBI, .992 OPS) has taken advantage of his full playing time with great play.
AL Right Field: Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays)
Jose Bautista continues to put up unbelievable power numbers. What's also impressive is that he has found a way in the second half to maintain a high batting average, and he will finish top-ten in MVP voting.
Second-half stats: .319 avg, 18 HR, 41 RBI, 1.193 OPS
Second-string: Nelson Cruz (.355 avg, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 1.010 OPS) has yet again spent time on the DL, but will be returning soon.
NL Right Field: Hunter Pence (Houston Astros)
After struggling in the first half, Pence is putting up the numbers that made him an All-Star in 2009. He is the reason the Astros have a reason for optimism in the future.
Second-half stats: .327 avg, 8 HR, 30 RBI, .904 OPS
Second-string: Justin Upton (.299 avg, 3 HR, 24 RBI, .826 OPS) has lost some of his power, but continues to drive in runs.
Designated Hitter: Luke Scott (Baltimore Orioles)
I called Luke Scott the most underrated designated hitter at the beginning of the year, and he's proving me right. Under Buck Showalter, Scott has been absolutely on fire.
Second-half stats: .314 avg, 13 HR, 30 RBI, 1.014 OPS
Second-string: Jim Thome (.289 avg, 8 HR, 16 RBI, 1.068 OPS) has only a limited amount of chances left to win a World Series. Is 2010 the year?
AL Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners)
Felix Hernandez should be the front-runner for the American League Cy Young award, despite his deceiving 10-10 record. Hernandez continues to be one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Second-half stats: 3-5, 1.62 ERA, 61 Ks, 1.02 WHIP
Second-string: Trevor Cahill (5-2, 1.63 ERA, 25 Ks, 0.96 WHIP) doesn't strike out a lot of people, but he also doesn't give up many walks or hits.
NL Starting Pitcher: Ted Lilly (Los Angeles Dodgers)
The Dodgers wanted Ted Lilly for a reason. Since coming to Los Angeles, he has been the best pitcher in the National League.
His overall second-half stats, with the Cubs and Dodgers, have been outstanding.
Second-half stats: 5-0, 1.82 ERA, 52 Ks, 0.83 WHIP
Second-string: Wandy Rodriguez (4-1, 1.82 ERA, 56 Ks, 0.98 WHIP) was outstanding in 2009, and has recaptured that in the second half of 2010.
AL Closer: Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)
Joakim Soria continues to be one of the few bright spots on the Royals. He hasn't blown a save in the second half and consistently keeps his ERA low.
Second-half stats: 11 saves, 0.95 ERA, 14 Ks, 1.11 WHIP
Second-string: Rafael Soriano (15 saves, 2.16 ERA, 15 Ks, 0.84 WHIP) has been the Rays' MVP by saving a bullpen that was in trouble.
NL Closer: Heath Bell (San Diego Padres)
Heath Bell has been important to the surprising success of the Padres in 2010, and he also hasn't blown a save in the second half of the season.
Second-half stats: 13 saves, 1.56 ERA, 23 Ks, 0.92 WHIP
Second-string: Brian Wilson (12 saves, 2.00 ERA, 25 Ks, 1.22 WHIP) has a high WHIP, but has been reliable to finish in the second half.