Bleacher Report's 2016 MLB All-Star Game Roster Predictions, 1 Month Out

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterJune 16, 2016

Bleacher Report's 2016 MLB All-Star Game Roster Predictions, 1 Month Out

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    Mike Trout will be there. Mike Trout is always there.
    Mike Trout will be there. Mike Trout is always there.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Between the fans, the players and the managers, quite a few minds will go into selecting the rosters for this year's MLB All-Star Game.

    Let's guess their intentions, shall we?

    The 2016 Midsummer Classic—to be hosted by San Diego's Petco Park—is still about a month away. But we now have a picture of which players are having good seasons. And thanks to weekly updates on the American League and National League voting, we also have a good idea who the fans want to see in the starting lineups July 12.

    Predicting the final 34-man rosters for the AL and NL teams, however, doesn't just mean anticipating which players will be voted in by the fans. It also requires anticipating who the players and the AL and NL managers (Ned Yost and Terry Collins, respectively) favor for the rosters. There's the final vote to take into account as well.

    It's a lot to consider—read on when you're ready.

Catchers

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    American League

    Starter

    Salvador Perez (KCR): Oh, don't look so surprised. Perez is not only outpacing all other AL catchers by a mile in the fan voting, but he is also attracting more votes than any other AL player. Deservedly so, too. With a .293 average, .855 OPS and 11 home runs, he's having a career year at the dish.

    Reserves

    Matt Wieters (BAL): Wieters is the closest catcher to Perez in the fan vote, and he should get similar treatment from his peers. With a .733 OPS and six home runs, he's having a solid rebound from two lost years stemming from his 2014 Tommy John operation.

    Chris Iannetta (SEA): With a .236 average, Iannetta may not look like a good pick for the AL's third catcher. But with a .342 OBP and six home runs, he's up there among the AL's most productive catchers. Plus, how about a little enthusiasm for a 33-year-old who's never played in an All-Star Game?

    Notable Snub: Jason Castro (HOU)

    National League

    Starter

    Yadier Molina (STL): If the fan voting worked on merit, Buster Posey would easily overtake Molina in the coming weeks. But it doesn't work that way. As he continues with his solid bounce-back season (.278 average, .720 OPS), Molina will probably keep getting sentimental votes from all over.

    Reserves

    Buster Posey (SFG): Maybe he won't catch Molina, but Posey is going to get on the team. He's one of the most respected players in the National League and is working on another fine season with a .791 OPS and eight homers.

    Jonathan Lucroy (MIL): Washington's Wilson Ramos looms larger on the national (pun intended) radar, but Lucroy deserves to be on the NL team as the Milwaukee Brewers representative. With an .895 OPS and 10 homers, he's quietly having a huge rebound season after a down 2015.

    Notable Snub: Wilson Ramos (WAS)

First Basemen

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    American League

    Starter

    Eric Hosmer (KCR): Hosmer is another Royal atop the fan voting at his position. He doesn't deserve the honor as much as Perez does, but he's hardly undeserving. He's having a career year at the dish, hitting .318 with a .901 OPS and a dozen dingers.

    Reserves

    Miguel Cabrera (DET): The two-time AL MVP is second behind Hosmer in the voting, and he arguably deserves to be ahead of him. A .301 average and .895 OPS aren't peak Miggy numbers, but they're still damn good by first base any standards.

    Chris Davis (BAL): Crush is here because he's my pick to win the final vote. Davis' 16 home runs (tops among AL first basemen) and .834 OPS give him a good case for inclusion.

    Notable Snub: Steve Pearce (TBR)

    National League

    Starter

    Anthony Rizzo (CHC): The other first basemen looking up at Rizzo in the fan vote need binoculars to see him. That's not fair to some of them, but there's no denying Rizzo deserves a ticket to San Diego. He's put up a .910 OPS and clubbed 15 homers.

    Reserves

    Brandon Belt (SFG): For what it's worth, Belt is the closest first baseman to Rizzo in the fan vote. But it's worth more that he's arguably the best offensive first baseman in the Senior Circuit this year. He's compiled a .926 OPS and eight home runs, fantastic numbers for a hitter stuck in AT&T Park.

    Wil Myers (SDP): Paul Goldschmidt is the obvious pick after (or even before) Rizzo and Belt, but I have other plans for him. So let's tip our caps to Myers, who's putting up an .825 OPS and 14 homers for the San Diego Miserable Failures. Because he can play the outfield if need be, he also brings some versatility.

    Notable Snub: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)...sorta

Second Basemen

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    American League

    Starter

    Jose Altuve (HOU): Altuve deserves to have a comfortable lead over his fellow AL second basemen. The dude's hitting .346 with 10 home runs and 18 stolen bases. These numbers give him a pretty good case for the honor of the AL's best first-half player, period.

    And for the record, Petco Park is about 1.4 million Altuves away from Minute Maid Park.

    Reserves

    Robinson Cano (SEA): Man, talk about your all-time comebacks. Cano is following a rough 2015 with a .907 OPS and 18 home runs in 2016. The 33-year-old is looking like his younger self, who of course was a perennial All-Star.

    Ian Kinsler (DET): Kinsler is also looking like his younger self. He's put up a .314 average and a .913 OPS, complete with 14 dingers and seven steals. Thanks to him and Cano, there's sadly not enough room for Dustin Pedroia, who is having a renaissance season of his own in Boston.

    Notable Snub: Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

    National League

    Starter

    Ben Zobrist (CHC): Daniel Murphy is reasonably close to Zobrist in the fan vote, but that'll probably only push more Cubs fans toward the ballot box. It's a good thing, then, that Zobrist is totally deserving. He's walked more than he's struck out and has posted a .928 OPS and nine homers.

    Reserve

    Daniel Murphy (WAS): Don't worry, Nats fans. Murphy will also be in San Diego. He started hitting rockets last October and hasn't stopped in 2016. His .359 average leads MLB, and he has an NL-best .994 OPS to go with it. This calls for a supercut of Matthew McConaughey saying "Murph" ad nauseam.

    Notable Snub: Neil Walker (NYM)

Third Basemen

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    American League

    Starter

    Manny Machado (BAL): As noted by ESPN.com's Marty Callinan, the leading vote-getter for the AL third base gig is actually one of baseball's most valuable shortstops these days. But with a .966 OPS and 17 homers, Machado has the bat for the hot corner. He probably still has the glove too.

    Reserve

    Josh Donaldson (TOR): The reigning AL MVP is only third in the fan voting after Machado and Mike Moustakas. But Moustakas is out for the year, so Donaldson's .925 OPS and 16 homers should get him to San Diego.

    Notable Snub: Evan Longoria (TBR)

    National League

    Starter

    Kris Bryant (CHC): There's a chance Nolan Arenado will be able to catch Bryant in the voting, but...nah. Cubs fans gonna Cubs fans. And in fairness to Bryant, an .874 OPS and 15 homers are strong numbers.

    Reserve

    Nolan Arenado (COL): He won't get a starting nod for his troubles, but Arenado is now well established as the National League's best third baseman. After hitting 40 homers and winning his third straight Gold Glove in 2015, he's OPS'ing .961 with 20 homers (tied for the MLB lead) and more stupendous defense in 2016.

    Notable Snub: Matt Carpenter (STL)

Shortstops

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    American League

    Starter

    Xander Bogaerts (BOS): Royals fans sure like to rock the vote, but they won't be able to push Alcides Escobar over Bogaerts. Nor should they. With a .357 average, eight home runs, nine steals and strong defense, the X Man is making his case as baseball's best shortstop.

    Reserve

    Eduardo Nunez (MIN): Sorry, Francisco Lindor. Somebody has to represent the Minnesota Twins, and Nunez is the best somebody they have. He's hitting .317 with nine homers, and he packs a versatile glove that makes him a good fit for the bench.

    Notable Snub: Francisco Lindor (CLE)

    National League

    Starter

    Addison Russell (CHC): Trevor Story knows Arenado's pain of being a superior Rockie looking up at an inferior Cub in the fan voting. The difference for now is only a couple hundred thousand votes, but that doesn't make it any easier to doubt Russell will hold on. Although his .693 OPS isn't delighting anyone, his defense sure is.

    Reserves

    Trevor Story (COL): The Story narrative (sorry, done with story puns) has lost steam as the 2016 season has gone along, but his strong support in the voting may help get him on the NL All-Star team anyway. So should his .877 OPS and 17 homers.

    Corey Seager (LAD): Seager's not a big part of the fan vote now, but it'll be an upset if he doesn't find his way onto the All-Star team somehow. After entering the year as baseball's No. 1 prospect, he's OPS'ing .841 with 15 home runs and is only getting better.

    Notable Snub: Brandon Crawford (SFG)

Outfielders

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    American League

    Starters

    Mike Trout (LAA): Well, he is Mike Trout. He's the AL's leading vote-getter among outfielders. And he's earned that, OPS'ing .950 with 13 homers and nine steals. Basically, Mike Trout. Mike Trout, basically.

    Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS): JBJ is looking up only at Trout in the AL outfield vote, and it's hard to imagine he'll slip. He's backed by a supportive fanbase, and all other fans should be able to see his .309 average and .967 OPS. Dude's a star.

    Mookie Betts (BOS): Speaking of star Red Sox outfielders, Betts is pretty good in his own right. He's closing fast on Lorenzo Cain for the third outfield spot. He deserves that, as he's OPS'ing .860 with 14 homers and 11 steals. He's also been especially hot lately, so the votes should keep coming.

    Reserves

    Mark Trumbo (BAL): Trumbo is another guy who's challenging Cain for the third outfield spot. He doesn't have as many things working in his favor as Betts does, but there's no ignoring his .915 OPS and 20 home runs. The latter ties him with Arenado for tops in MLB.

    Lorenzo Cain (KCR): Cain isn't having an All-Star-caliber year. He only has a .753 OPS with eight home runs and six steals. Chances are he won't be left off the roster, though. If his fellow players don't put him on the team, Yost could choose him for his versatile glove. Also, nepotism.

    Ian Desmond (TEX): Desmond is the best choice to represent the Texas Rangers among a bunch of good ones. He's OPS'ing .846 with nine homers and 12 steals, and he's also made his mark on defense. Coming on the heels of his rejection by the winter market, this is a great story.

    Notable Snub: Adam Eaton (CHW)

    National League

    Starters

    Dexter Fowler (CHC): Fowler has also ridden the power of being on the Cubs to a top spot in the NL voting. His .883 OPS, seven homers and six steals probably didn't hurt either.

    Bryce Harper (WAS): Harper's bat has been silent for a while now. It doesn't help that pitchers have committed to pitching around him, which Cubs ace Jon Lester told Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago is "a matter of pitching smart." Still, the reigning NL MVP's .893 OPS and 13 homers offer solid support for his place in the fan vote.

    Yoenis Cespedes (NYM): Jason Heyward is chasing Cespedes in the fan vote, but it's doubtful he'll have enough support outside of Chicago to actually catch up. With a .930 OPS and 16 home runs, Cespedes is in the midst of another terrific year.

    Reserves

    Starling Marte (PIT): Andrew McCutchen still plays for the Pirates, but Marte is the captain now, as he finds himself hitting .332 with six homers and 19 stolen bases. He was a low-level star for a few years before 2016, but he's now turning into a full-on superstar.

    Odubel Herrera (PHI): With respect to Aaron Nola, Herrera is the best choice to represent the Philadelphia Phillies in San Diego. With an .835 OPS, six homers and eight steals, the former Rule 5 pick is building on last year's breakout.

    Adam Duvall (CIN): Somebody also has to represent the Cincinnati Reds. How about the most surprising slugger of the season? Duvall has an .878 OPS and 18 homers, and he ranks behind only David Ortiz in isolated slugging.

    Notable Snub: Christian Yelich (MIA)

Designated Hitter

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    American League

    Starter

    David Ortiz (BOS): Big Papi's version of This Is 40 is so much better than the 2012 movie that nobody remembers. The longtime Red Sox slugger has cranked 16 homers and is leading MLB with a .700 slugging percentage and 1.122 OPS.

    "You just have to respect it and like it and appreciate it more than try to criticize it," said former God of Slugging (and current Miami Marlins hitting coach) Barry Bonds, per Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. "I mean, it's a beautiful thing that's going on. There's a lot of beautiful things that are going to happen in this world."

    Reserve

    Nelson Cruz (SEA): Cruz is actually looking up at Victor Martinez and Kendrys Morales in the fan vote, but neither is doing well enough to keep Cruz off the AL roster. His boomstick has been doing its thing, producing a .933 OPS and 16 homers.

    Notable Snub: Victor Martinez (DET)

    National League

    Starter

    Paul Goldschmidt (ARI): Goldschmidt isn't having a great year by his standards, but a .912 OPS, 12 home runs and eight steals are still great numbers. He'll find his way onto the team somehow, and he'll be a great choice to DH for the National League.

Starting Pitchers

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    Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

    American League

    Starter

    Chris Sale (CHW): There's no easy pick to start the game for the AL, especially with the game still so far away. But if Sale doesn't get the nod based on his excellent 11-2 record (rolls eyes), he could get it based on his 2.94 ERA. Or, failing that, the feeling that an All-Star start is an overdue honor for a pitcher as awesome as him.

    Reserves

    Rich Hill (OAK), Danny Salazar (CLE), Steven Wright (BOS), Jose Quintana (CHW), Marco Estrada (TOR)

    Hill is the best choice to represent the Oakland A's in San Diego and is bound to be a sentimental favorite for many after resurrecting his career in 2015.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with Hill's 2.25 ERA either. That puts him in the AL's top five alongside, you guessed it, Wright, Salazar, Quintana and Estrada.

    Notable Snub: Chris Tillman (BAL)

    National League

    Starter

    Clayton Kershaw (LAD): This is, of course, assuming there aren't any rules prohibiting alien space gods from taking the mound in the Midsummer Classic. Kershaw is having a ridiculous season even by his standards. He has a 1.58 ERA and has 126 more strikeouts than walks. This is real life. Somehow.

    Reserves

    Jose Fernandez (MIA), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), Jake Arrieta (CHC), Jon Lester (CHC), Madison Bumgarner (SFG), Johnny Cueto (SFG), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), John Lackey (CHC)

    Fernandez is here because he's the best choice to represent the Marlins. His 2.57 ERA and MLB-best rate of 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings also help.

    Next to him, Syndergaard, Arrieta, Lester, Bumgarner and Cueto are household names who are also among the NL's ERA leaders. Strasburg isn't, but he has a lot of strikeouts and (rolls eyes) a perfect 10-0 record. And with a 2.66 ERA and a Cubs uniform going for him, Lackey's my guy to win the final vote.

    Notable Snub: Aaron Nola (PHI)

Relief Pitchers

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    Matt Brown/Getty Images

    American League

    Dellin Betances (NYY), Andrew Miller (NYY), Zach Britton (BAL), Alex Colome (TBR), Wade Davis (KCR), Craig Kimbrel (BOS), Will Harris (HOU)

    The AL is teeming with talented relievers (say that five times fast), but Betances and Miller put them all to shame. The pinstriped duo are striking batters out more frequently than any other, and it's not close.

    Meanwhile, Britton's 20 saves lead the AL. Colome and Davis are just behind him with 19 and 18, respectively. Kimbrel has 15 of his own and is striking out 13.5 batters per nine innings. Harris is flying under the radar, but his 0.59 ERA is the best in the league.

    Notable Snub: Roberto Osuna (TOR)

    National League

    Fernando Rodney (SDP), Jeurys Familia (NYM), Seung Hwan Oh (STL), Arodys Vizcaino (ATL), Ryan Buchter (SDP)

    Rodney is partying like it's 2012 all over again, posting a 0.00 ERA through 23 appearances. Familia leads the NL with 21 saves. Oh has a 1.57 ERA and has struck out 12.3 batters per nine innings. Vizcaino is the most dominant player on a Braves team you probably forgot existed.

    And Buchter? Well, somebody has to be this bullpen's left-hander. And with a 1.86 ERA and a 12.7 K/9 that puts him ahead of all other NL lefties, heck, why not Buchter?

    Notable Snub: Hector Rondon (CHC)

    Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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