Every year in the MLB Amateur Draft, loads of young baseball talents are drafted by the 30 MLB teams. These young players fight their way into the majors, and a special few become stars. These stars can shine in baseball for a single season or consistently throughout their careers.
Of course, however, players age, even the stars. Your favorite rookie All-Stars from the '90s are today's cagey veterans.
I now present to you your geriatric All-Star team of 2011—enjoy!
The New York Yankees' 39-year-old DH, Jorge Posada, has played 14 full seasons in baseball.
For his entire career, Posada has been a catcher for the Yanks, but because of the team's recent acquisition of catcher Russell Martin, Posada has been moved to DH. However, because his defensive position is still a catcher, I have chosen him as my All-Star catcher.
Last season, Posada had a .248 batting average and a .357 OBP with 18 home runs and 57 RBI. In a position where there currently are not many old catchers, Posada's numbers beat them all, which is why he will be the best "elderly" catcher of 2011.
Second Place: Bengie Molina (36)
Colorado Rockies 37-year-old first baseman Todd Helton has played 13 seasons in the majors. In those 13 seasons he dominated Rockies baseball, and he is now known as the best Colorado Rockie in Major League Baseball history.
Last season, in 118 games, Helton's numbers declined a fair amount. He went from hitting .325/.416/.489 in 2009 to hitting just .256/.362/.367, while his power production dropped from 15 homers and 86 RBI to just eight home runs and 37 RBI.
Coors Field has always been a great hitter's ballpark, so if Helton can make decent contact with the ball his numbers will increase again. However, his numbers will probably never be as good as they were in his athletic prime; sorry Todd.
Second Place: Derrek Lee (35)
The New York Mets' 35-year-old second baseman, Luis Castillo, is probably the worst player on this list. If Placido Polanco was still a second baseman, he would have won this spot hands down.
In 15 major league seasons, Castillo has won three Gold Gloves and made three All-Star appearances. In the 86 games he played in 2010, he hit .235/.337/.267 with no homers and 17 RBI.
He has simply met his decline, and playing in Citi Field, which is a "hitter's hell," will not help his offensive numbers. He will need to play small ball if he wants his offensive production to increase.
Second Place: Brian Roberts (33)
Chipper Jones, the Atlanta Braves' 38-year-old, switch-hitting third baseman, has played 16 full seasons in the majors. He is now considered an inevitable Hall of Famer and one of the best switch-hitting power hitters of all time.
In 95 games last season, Jones hit .265/.381/.426 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. B/R Braves featured columnist Brett Kettyle wrote an article about what we should expect from Chipper Jones in 2011.
Ultimately, health issues plagued Chipper in 2010, but he should be back in the No. 3 spot of the lineup for all of 2011 if he stays healthy.
Second Place: Placido Polanco (35)
There is no surprise here. New York Yankees 36-year-old shortstop Derek Jeter is already one of the best shortstops in the American League, let alone one of the best veterans.
In 15 major league seasons, Jeter has won an AL ROY award, five Gold Glove awards and four Silver Slugger awards and has made 11 All-Star appearances.
Last season Jeter had the worst numbers of his career, and after last season many consider Jeter an overrated, washed-up player who is now past his athletic prime and is beginning to decline.
Jeter will either begin to decline this year even further or will bounce back and have another great season as the Yankees' captain. Regardless of Jeter's fate, he will still be the geriatric All-Star for shortstop, as he will have better numbers than almost any other shortstop in the American League.
Second Place: Miguel Tejada (36)
Philadelphia Phillies 38-year-old outfielder Raul Ibanez has played 13 full seasons in the majors. Although Ibanez declined in the 2010 season, he still managed to hit .275/.349/.444 with 16 homers and 83 RBI. He also hit .304 with RISP.
From 2006-2008 he had consecutive seasons with over 100 RBI each, and in that span he hit .289, .291 and .293.
Ibanez may not be the most consistent hitter, or the best fielder, but he plays left field efficiently, he can still produce and he can even provide some pop.
Second Place: Manny Ramirez (38)
The Seattle Mariners' 38-year-old star outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, has only been in the majors for 10 seasons. In each of those 10 seasons Ichiro had over 200 hits.
In his flawless career he won one AL ROY award, one AL MVP award, 10 Gold Glove awards, three Silver Slugger awards and has made 10 All-Star Game appearances.
Ichiro, like Chipper Jones, is a sure Hall of Famer, except unlike Chipper, he has not showed any signs of decline yet. Ichiro is the most consistent player of the decade, and he is still one of the best outfielders in baseball, even at such an advanced age. There is no reason to expect that Ichiro will play any differently in 2011, disregarding injury.
Second Place: Bobby Abreu (36)
Detroit Tigers 36-year-old outfielder Magglio Ordonez has played 13 full seasons in the majors. In his career he has made six All-Star appearances and won three Silver Slugger awards.
In 84 games in 2010, Ordonez hit .303/.378/.474 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI, pretty productive numbers for just 84 games. Ordonez will be back and healthy by the time spring training begins. His contract ends after the season, so he's got a lot to play for if he wants to stay in the majors.
He should be able to put up similar numbers to the ones he posted in 2010, but if he stays injury-free his numbers will surely increase, and he could be a real MLB All-Star.
Second Place: Johnny Damon (37)
Every single person writing an article like this would be tempted to put Jamie Moyer's name on the list. However, his return is questionable, and if he does return, St. Louis Cardinals 35-year-old (turns 36 in April) starting pitcher Chris Carpenter will surely outplay him if he stays healthy.
In Carpenter's 13-season career, he has won one NL Cy Young award while making three All-Star appearances. Last season, Carpenter went an impressive 16-9 while maintaining a 3.22 ERA. His past two seasons have been Cy Young-caliber, and going into the 2011 season he is still expected to put up similar numbers.
Second Place: Jamie Moyer (48)
This was the biggest no-brainer. 41-year-old New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is one of the best closers of all time. His age is does not define him, as he has maintained a sub-two ERA in his past three seasons.
Rivera has been in the majors for 16 seasons, and he currently has the second most career saves of all time with 559. He has made 11 All-Star appearances, and he has been a top five Cy Young candidate for five seasons. In 2010 he had a 1.80 ERA while recording 33 saves.
Rivera will most likely put up great numbers in 2011 as long as his age does not catch up to him, but hey, even if it does, the Yankees will always have Rafael Soriano to take his place.
Second Place: Arthur Rhodes (41)
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