2011 MLB All-Star Game: Projected Starters at Every Position
Well, here we go, kids. In a few weeks the actual lineups per league will be announced for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, but half the fun is predicting what the ballot will look like.
While some of the players are pretty much a given at this point, there are still a few races that are pretty tight.
Here are my 2011 MLB All-Star team rosters for each league.
Feel free to chime in and leave your thoughts below.
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National League: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder is pretty much a given considering Albert Pujols is down and out until August at the earliest, but what better way to represent the National League, right?
Fielder is currently hitting .305 with 21 home runs and having one of the best seasons to his credit, so I am sure Brewers fans worldwide are jumping for joy over his hopeful start.
American League: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
There’s a race going on with Gonzalez currently in SECOND, but I believe he will pull it off in the end.
This is your final notice, Red Sox fans: Get those votes in as fast as you can to see Gonzo represent the American League.
Gonzalez is hitting a remarkable .361 with 16 homers and 71 RBI.
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National League: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
Weeks has recently taken the lead at second over Brandon Phillips, and I believe he will win a very close race.
Whether it is Weeks or Phillips, it will be a close decision. In my opinion, Weeks is the better of the two, just slightly.
American League: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
There really isn’t any reason to doubt Cano starting this one, as he has separated himself from the rest of the pack by a near mile.
He is hitting .290 with 14 home runs, but he is also playing at a stellar level defensively, so the National League better be aware of his presence in the infield.
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National League: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
Polanco is the near hands-down National League leader to represent third base, and he is basically going to wind up being the guy.
Polanco is known for his defensive prowess but hasn’t been an All-Star since 2007.
American League: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Another clear-cut winner at third for the American League is A-Rod, and to be honest, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
A-Rod is one of the best hitters and one of the best defenders in the AL, so it isn’t as if this comes as a surprise.
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National League: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Tulo is enjoying a narrow lead over Mets favorite Jose Reyes, but I think he will hang on in the end.
Tulo got off to a red-hot start and has since cooled off just a bit, but there is simply no denying his overall talent and presence on the field in the offensive and defensive arenas.
American League: Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
With Derek Jeter currently injured and Elvis Andrus worlds away in the voting, Asdrubal Cabrera becomes the new No. 1 starter for the American League.
Cabrera is enjoying the best season of his short career, hitting .293 with 12 home runs. He could be a problem for National League pitching if he is on.
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National League: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Another Brewers player who is a clear-cut leader, Braun is almost a given to start in the outfield for the National League.
Braun keeps chugging along with his dominating offense, and his defense will be a lot to deal with for American League hitters.
American League: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Joey Bats is hitting .323 and is more than halfway toward his 2010 home run total with 23, and we haven’t even gotten to the break yet.
Suffice it to say, there is no catching him.
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National League: Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals
What a year Berk is having in St. Louis, eh?
He is already just five homers away from Bautista at 18, he is hitting .297 and he is playing some of the best defense I have seen in years.
Anything can happen in this race, but I think it will be Berkman on the starting team in the end.
American League: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
The American League is not without its own true-cut leader in Curtis Granderson, who has bettered Berkman and is rapidly closing in on Bautista in the stat department.
Granderson is currently at 21 homers with a .276/.360/.572 batting line.
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National League: Matt Kemp, L.A. Dodgers
I really believe—and sort of hope—Matt Kemp can pull off the upset over Matt Holliday, who isn’t that far away.
It may be difficult, but Kemp has just as much talent as Holliday, and perhaps his fanbase can get him that final push he needs to become a starter.
American League: Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
Similar to Kemp, I also believe Ichiro can pull off the upset over Rangers favorite Josh Hamilton.
Ichiro is hitting .273 but hasn’t knocked a homer yet (not really that big of a deal).
The American League benefits either way with Hamilton's power or Suzuki's on-base percentage.
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National League: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
McCann pretty much has this in the bag, and thankfully the National League gets the catcher in one of his best years yet.
McCann is currently hitting .300 with 13 home runs.
American League: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
I am predicting Joe Mauer will win out and start for the American League—there, I said it.
Has he dealt with some injury issues? Yes.
Is he in a race for the finish right now? Yes.
Are his chances of winning impossible? Certainly not.
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David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
Normally Ortiz is a definite mainstay in the All-Star festivities, but this year he is in a close race with Rangers DH Michael Young.
I still believe there is at least one more starting role for Big Papi, and that role is in this year’s contest.
Starting Pitchers and Relief: National League
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Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves: Owns one of the lowest ERAs in the league.
Kyle Lohse, St. Louis Cardinals: Pitching the best in the NL, in my opinion.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: The good doctor is due for another All-Star appearance.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: What’s an All-Star game without The Freak?
Clayton Kershaw, L.A. Dodgers: Can’t compete with his ability to strike out batters right now; he is a near lock.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies: What a freaking year Hamels is having. He may not make it there, but I really hope he does.
Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee Brewers: Marcum is shining bright for his new team. It helps that he got out of hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Anibal Sanchez, Florida Marlins: This guy deserves to pitch in the All-Star game not just because he’s having a great season, but because his team couldn’t even get him the win against the Angels this past week...poor fellow.
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks: Kennedy has been a pleasant surprise and deserves to be on the list.
Kyle McClellan, St. Louis Cardinals: McClellan has made the switch to starter and has shined.
J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks: He's back in action and has 20 saves on the season.
Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh Pirates: He is one of the best bullpen pitchers in the game, along with Putz.
Leo Nunez, Florida Marlins: Is there any question this guy belongs in the All-Star game?
Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies: He's filled in admirably since Lidge went down; hopefully the hand issue gets better before the break.
Heath Bell, San Diego Padres: The shining star on San Diego’s roster right now.
Starting Pitchers and Relief: American League
Jered Weaver, L.A. Angels: Weaver is dominating nearly everyone right now with a 9-4 record and a stellar 1.97 ERA. It would be a snub if he didn’t make it.
James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays: Having the best season of his career; he can strike you out, eat up innings and go the distance.
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox: One of the best AL ERAs and is having a career season after a disastrous 2010. He definitely deserves to be there.
Trevor Cahill, Oakland A's: Struggled early but has gotten over the wall—still the best pitcher in Oakland.
Dan Haren, L.A. Angels: Haren or Weaver? Haren or Weaver? How about both!
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees: Can’t argue with this one.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: Arguably the best pitcher in MLB coming into the season. Despite struggling a bit, he's still a quality pitcher.
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: One walk shy of a perfect game and solid pitching throughout the season. He deserves to be there.
Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers: I’d love to see the guy make it; he has the stuff to back up the nomination.
Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox: Lester is arguably the best pitcher in the American league; he definitely deserves a spot.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees: Once again, the best closer in the game is off to a great start.
Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians: Picked up where he left off in 2010.
Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers: Save opportunities haven’t always been there, but he's still pitching at a high level.
Jose Valverde, Detroit Tigers: Still one of the best save-grabbers in the game, regardless of his ERA.
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox: May not be what he once was, but he is still dominating, which is scary.