AL All-Star Roster: Players Who Warrant a Trip to Arizona

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIJune 16, 2011

AL All-Star Roster: Players Who Warrant a Trip to Arizona

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    Over the next few weeks Major League Baseball will give the public updates on the voting for the All-Star teams.

    Nothing upsets me more than the rosters that the fans, players and coaches select. The closers with the most saves and the starting pitchers with the most wins populate the rosters, while deserving set-up men are left at home. 

    Here are my picks for the 34-man American League roster. (Every team in the AL will be represented). No matter what there will always be deserving candidates left off the roster, but these are my guys.  

Catcher

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    Starter: Alex Avila

    Avila has been the best catcher in the AL this season leading qualified starters in batting average (.304), OBP (.367), SLG (.550), ISO (.246), wOBA (.394), wRC+ (151) and WAR (2.4). 

    Reserve: Matt Wieters 

    Wieters is the best defensive catcher in the league, and the Orioles needed a representative. He is in the top five in most offensive categories at the position. I only went with two official catchers. I couldn't leave Paul Konerko off the roster for Russell Martin, and I couldn't stomach putting Kurt Suzuki on the roster despite his defensive abilities. 

First Base

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    Starter: Adrian Gonzalez

    Gonzalez is the best defensive first baseman in the league and he leads the league in batting average (.343). His overall line of .343/.395/.580, 13 home runs, .418 wOBA and 165 wRC+ are lethal.   

    Reserves: Miguel Cabrera, Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko  

    These three are the best of the rest at the position in the AL. Cabrera leads all AL first basemen in wRC+ (166), Teixeira leads in home runs (21) and ISO (.303) and Konerko is in the top five of most offensive categories. Adam Lind would have given Konerko a run if he did not land on the DL last month. 

Second Base

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    Starter: Robinson Cano

    You can make an argument for all three second basemen to get the start, but Cano leads in ISO (.231) and home runs (14). He is second among AL second basemen in wOBA (.368) and wRC+ (132).   

    Reserves: Howie Kendrick, Ben Zobrist

    Kendrick and Zobrist were the easy choices to back up Cano as they are both in the top three of most offensive categories at the position. They both have the ability to play the outfield, and Zobrist could fill in at other infield positions.  

Third Base

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    Starter: Alex Rodriguez 

    Rodriguez leads AL third basemen in wRC+ (141), wOBA (.384), home runs (13) and WAR (3.1).  

    Reserves: Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre

    Longoria's April injury makes the field less crowded, but Youkilis and Beltre are above the rest of the field. Youkilis leads the field in ISO (.227) and OBP (.383), and he finishes second to A-Rod in wRC+ and wOBA. Beltre finishes third in most categories, and he is still one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball.  

Shortstop

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    Starter: Asdrubal Cabrera 

    Cabrera continues to have the best offensive season among AL shortstops. He leads in wOBA, wRC+ (142), batting average (.296), slugging (.507), ISO (.212) and home runs (12). While he  

    Reserves: Jhonny Peralta, Alexi Ramirez

    Peralta is second in wRC+ (129), ISO (.196), wOBA (.363) and home runs (9). I had a hard time deciding between Ramirez and Yunel Escobar for the last spot. I went with the fact that Ramirez is the best defensive shortstop in the league.  

Outfield

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    Starters: Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Matt Joyce

    Bautista and Granderson were obvious choices. They lead baseball in most offensive categories. Joyce is having a fantastic season for the Rays posting a .322/.385/.563 line with 10 home runs and is third among AL outfielders with a wRC+ of 163.   

    Reserves: Carlos Quentin, Jacoby Ellsbury, Denard Span 

    Quentin is third among AL outfielders in ISO (.298) and home runs (17). Ellsbury, who leads the AL in stolen bases), is in the top five among AL outfielders in many offensive categories and has posted an impressive .315/.376/.470 line with 7 home runs. Span, who has been the Twins best all-around player this season, is third among AL outfielders in WAR (2.8).  

Designated Hitter

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    Starter: David Ortiz

    Not much to say here. Ortiz is the best DH in the American League with a line of .317/.388/.609 and 17 home runs. 

Starting Pitchers

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    Starter: Justin Verlander 

    Reserves: Dan Haren, James Shields, Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez, Josh Beckett, Alexi Ogando, Gio Gonzalez   

    It was hard picking seven starting pitchers, so I picked eight and dropped a reliever. I would not have included Gio Gonzalez, but the A's needed a representative. David Price, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, CJ Wilson and Ricky Romero all have great cases to make the roster. I think Verlander and Haren have been the best pitchers in the AL this season, and it was a toss up to see who got the start.

Relief Pitchers

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    Mariano Rivera, Jordan Walden, Aaron Crow, Kyle Farnsworth  

    I don't think anyone can leave Mariano Rivera off the roster. Walden leads all AL relievers in WAR and has a strikeout rate of 10.13 K/9. The Royals needed a representative, and Kyle Farnsworth is fifth among relievers with a xFIP of 2.59. David Robertson and Daniel Bard also had strong cases to grab the last spot. 

Lineup

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    LF- Joyce  

    CF- Granderson 

    1B- Gonzalez 

    RF- Bautista 

    DH- Ortiz

    3B- Rodriguez

    2B- Cano 

    SS- Cabrera 

    C- Avila 

    SP- Verlander

    CP- Rivera

    Representatives per team:

    Red Sox- 5

    Yankees- 5

    Angels- 4

    Rays- 4 

    Tigers- 4 

    White Sox-3

    Rangers- 2 

    A's- 1

    Blue Jays- 1

    Indians- 1

    Mariners-1

    Orioles-1

    Royals-1

    Twins-1