Final 2016 MLB All-Star Roster Predictions

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2016

Final 2016 MLB All-Star Roster Predictions

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    Will Chris Sale finally get a chance to start the All-Star Game in his fifth straight appearance?
    Will Chris Sale finally get a chance to start the All-Star Game in his fifth straight appearance?Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

    At this time of year, numerous articles attempt to predict who will make the trip to the MLB All-Star Game.

    With the rosters set to be revealed Tuesday night ahead of the July 12 All-Star Game in San Diego, we've decided to take a slightly different approach here.

    Rather than focus on forecasting the actual roster, we've predicted who fans will talk about once the rosters are announced.

    We've chosen our biggest position-player snub, pitcher snub and roster surprise for each league while also taking a crack at predicting the five players who will make up the Final Vote ballot in each league.

    Now in order to make these predictions, we needed to set a baseline by determining who will be selected. You can find that on the next slide, but the focus here was on the aforementioned categories.

    Rounding things out, we made our predictions for how each team's starting lineup will look, including the starting pitchers.

    It's a slightly different take on the usual roster-prediction article. Enjoy.

Full Roster Predictions

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    Mark Cunningham/Getty Images

    Before we get started with predicting the biggest snubs and surprises, we need to set a baseline by picking the 33 players from each league who will be named to this year's All-Star team.

    American League

    BAL: 3B Manny Machado, C Matt Wieters, OF Mark Trumbo, RP Zach Britton

    BOS: SS Xander Bogaerts, OF Jackie Bradley, OF Mookie Betts, DH David Ortiz, SP Steven Wright

    CWS: SP Chris Sale, SP Jose Quintana

    CLE: SS Francisco Lindor, UT Jose Ramirez, SP Corey Kluber, SP Danny Salazar

    DET: 1B Miguel Cabrera

    HOU: 2B Jose Altuve

    KC: C Salvador Perez, 1B Eric Hosmer, RP Wade Davis, RP Kelvin Herrera

    LAA: OF Mike Trout

    MIN: IF Eduardo Nunez

    NYY: OF Carlos Beltran, RP Andrew Miller

    OAK: C Stephen Vogt

    SEA: 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz

    TB: RP Alex Colome

    TEX: OF Ian Desmond, SP Cole Hamels

    TOR: 3B Josh Donaldson, SP Marco Estrada

    National League

    ARI: 1B Paul Goldschmidt

    ATL: SP Julio Teheran

    CHC: 1B Anthony Rizzo, 2B Ben Zobrist, 3B Kris Bryant, SS Addison Russell, OF Dexter Fowler, SP Jake Arrieta, SP Jon Lester

    CIN: OF Jay Bruce

    COL: 3B Nolan Arenado

    LAD: SS Corey Seager, SP Clayton Kershaw (injured, will not pitch)

    MIA: OF Marcell Ozuna, SP Jose Fernandez, RP Fernando Rodney

    MIL: C Jonathan Lucroy

    NYM: OF Yoenis Cespedes, SP Noah Syndergaard, RP Jeurys Familia

    PHI: OF Odubel Herrera

    PIT: OF Starling Marte, RP Mark Melancon

    SD: 1B Wil Myers

    SF: C Buster Posey, SP Madison Bumgarner, SP Johnny Cueto (injury replacement)

    STL: 3B Matt Carpenter, RP Seung Hwan Oh

    WAS: OF Bryce Harper, C Wilson Ramos, 2B Daniel Murphy, SP Stephen Strasburg, SP Max Scherzer

    Note: Italics denotes starters.

Biggest AL Position-Player Snub: LF Michael Saunders, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    The Toronto Blue Jays acquired Michael Saunders from the Seattle Mariners prior to last season with the intention of him being the team's everyday left fielder.

    Instead, a pair of knee injuries limited him to just nine games total.

    His absence helped usher in the breakout of Kevin Pillar and led to the deadline addition of Ben Revere, but with Revere traded to the Washington Nationals during the offseason, a healthy Saunders once again had a clear path to a regular job.

    He's made the most of that second chance, hitting .288/.365/.544 with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 36 RBI for a 1.8 WAR.

    The 29-year-old looks like the front-runner for AL Comeback Player of the Year, but he also appears to be in prime position to be snubbed for a spot on the All-Star team.

    He wasn't voted in as a starter, leaving him to contend with Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond and Carlos Beltran for a backup spot.

    That being said, Beltran is nursing a hamstring injury, so Saunders could earn a spot as his replacement if Beltran opts to sit out the event.

Biggest AL Pitcher Snub: RP Will Harris, Houston Astros

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    Plucked from the waiver wire prior to last season after two nondescript seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, right-hander Will Harris wound up being the Houston Astros' most reliable reliever.

    Over a career-high 68 appearances, he posted a 1.90 ERA, 0.901 WHIP and 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings while picking up two saves and 13 holds.

    The 31-year-old was back in a setup role to begin the 2016 season, but he's since moved to the ninth inning after the rest of the relief corps struggled to nail down saves.

    All told, he's posted a 0.78 ERA and 0.894 WHIP in 34 appearances, picking up 17 holds and going a perfect 7-of-7 on save chances since taking over as closer.

    Because he's been a fairly under-the-radar arm the past few seasons and doesn't have an eye-popping save total just yet, there's a good chance Harris goes overlooked for a spot in the AL bullpen despite his fantastic numbers—especially since AL manager Ned Yost will almost certainly bring both Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera from his Kansas City Royals.

Biggest AL Surprise Selection: UT Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians

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    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    Josh Harrison in 2014. Brock Holt in 2015. Who could be next in line to earn a spot in the All-Star Game as a super-utility player?

    How about Cleveland Indians standout Jose Ramirez?

    The 23-year-old is playing for the hottest team in baseball. He's been a huge reason for their success, splitting his time between third base (44 games) and left field (37) while also seeing time at second base (6) and shortstop (5).

    He's managed to make 282 plate appearances despite lacking a clearly defined position and has hit .296/.352/.424 with 19 doubles, four home runs, 32 RBI, 39 runs scored and 10 stolen bases for a 1.4 WAR.

    The number that really jumps off the page, though, is his .393 batting average with runners in scoring position. As a result, Ramirez has hit out of the No. 5 spot for most of the year.

    AL manager Ned Yost has seen enough of Ramirez this season while managing the Kansas City Royals to appreciate what he's done for that team. That will be enough to earn him a place as this year's biggest surprise selection on the AL side.

AL Final Vote Candidate Predictions

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    Dellin Betances has been an All-Star each of the past two seasons.
    Dellin Betances has been an All-Star each of the past two seasons.Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Final Vote Candidates

    • RP Dellin Betances, NYY
    • RP Aroldis Chapman, NYY
    • RP Will Harris, HOU
    • RP Craig Kimbrel, BOS
    • RP Roberto Osuna, TOR

    We have five relievers on the AL side on our predicted roster in Zack Britton (BAL), Alex Colome (TB), Wade Davis (KC), Kelvin Herrera (KC) and Andrew Miller (NYY).

    With plenty more worthy candidates, let's say the AL Final Vote comes down to a choice of the last reliever to earn a spot on the roster.

    We've already highlighted Will Harris as a huge potential snub. From a numbers standpoint, he's the most deserving candidate of this group.

    However, from a fan perspective, the flame-throwing duo of Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel, who play for two of the league's highest-profile teams, could turn this into a two-horse race.

    Dellin Betances has been an All-Star the past two seasons, so we can't ignore him either, while 21-year-old Roberto Osuna turned heads on the national stage in the postseason last year and has been terrific once again this season.

    Predicted Winner: Craig Kimbrel

    The Red Sox will likely have four players voted in to start the All-Star Game, so there's no reason to think their balloting numbers will slow down for the Final Vote.

Biggest NL Position-Player Snub: RF Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    The National League outfield picture is crowded, and there's a good chance one of the Pittsburgh Pirates' worthy candidates winds up being snubbed as a result.

    Dexter Fowler, Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes appear to be locks to win the starting spots, while Odubel Herrera (PHI) and Jay Bruce (CIN) also seem like sure things as the lone representatives for their clubs.

    That leaves probably one or two remaining outfield spots on the NL side of things, and in our predicted roster, those go to Marcell Ozuna and Starling Marte.

    Marte is more of a known commodity around the league after turning in a breakout season last year, and he's having another terrific season with a .327/.374/.486 line that includes 29 extra-base hits and 23 stolen bases to go along with his usual stellar defense in left field.

    However, teammate Gregory Polanco is having an equally impressive season and would be tough to ignore as a major snub if he is in fact passed over for a spot.

    The 24-year-old has posted a .292/.370/.502 line, so he actually has a slight edge over Marte in OPS (.872 to .860). He's also flashed more power with 24 doubles, 10 home runs and 45 RBI.

    In reality, both Marte and Polanco are more than deserving of a spot on the roster, but in the numbers crunch, there's a good chance that Polanco winds up being the biggest NL snub among position players.

Biggest NL Pitcher Snub: SP Drew Pomeranz, San Diego Padres

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    There's a good chance Drew Pomeranz finds his way onto the NL roster before All-Star weekend begins, but he may wind up being snubbed when the initial rosters are revealed.

    After serving as a swingman for the Oakland Athletics last season, the former No. 5 overall pick finally appears to have found a home in the San Diego Padres' rotation.

    The 27-year-old has been one of the few bright spots in a rough season for the host Padres, going 7-7 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.095 WHIP and 109 strikeouts in 95 innings.

    There's no question those are All-Star-caliber numbers, but the NL is loaded with starting pitching talent.

    Our predicted roster boasts Julio Teheran (ATL), Jake Arrieta (CHC), Jon Lester (CHC), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), Jose Fernandez (MIA), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), Madison Bumgarner (SF), Johnny Cueto (SF), Stephen Strasburg (WAS) and Max Scherzer (WAS).

    Based on his numbers and the fact that he pitches for the host team, Pomeranz would appear to be the logical next-man-up if a pitcher is forced to pull out of the game due to injury or lack of rest.

    For now, though, he's our pick to be the biggest NL pitching snub.

Biggest NL Surprise Selection: RP Seung Hwan Oh, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    While the NL is loaded with quality starting pitching, the crop of All-Star worthy relievers isn't nearly as deep this season.

    Jeurys Familia (NYM), Mark Melancon (PIT) and the recently traded Fernando Rodney (MIA) seem like the obvious candidates among closers, but from there it could be a setup man or two who round out the NL bullpen.

    The standout among eighth-inning guys this season has been St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Seung Hwan Oh.

    Oh, 33, sign a one-year, $2.5 million deal in the offseason after racking up 357 saves in 11 seasons pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization and Japanese League.

    He's appeared in 40 games so far as a rookie, posting a 1.54 ERA, 0.854 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 with 14 holds while setting up the struggling Trevor Rosenthal.

    There's no question those are All-Star numbers, and in a fairly weak field of NL relievers, it could be enough to make him the biggest surprise on the NL roster.

NL Final Vote Candidate Predictions

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    Carlos Gonzalez is having another big season for the Rockies.
    Carlos Gonzalez is having another big season for the Rockies.Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Final Vote

    • OF Adam Duvall, CIN
    • OF Carlos Gonzalez, COL
    • OF Matt Kemp, SD
    • OF Gregory Polanco, PIT
    • OF Christian Yelich, MIA

    As we mentioned earlier, the NL is stacked with quality outfielders.

    Gregory Polanco was our pick as the biggest roster snub, but he's far from the only deserving outfielder who didn't make our predicted roster.

    Adam Duvall has been a revelation in Cincinnati with an .862 OPS and 22 home runs; however, his .292 on-base percentage is enough to put him behind Jay Bruce in the race to win what will likely be one roster spot for a Reds player.

    Carlos Gonzalez has picked up right where he left off after a huge second-half performance last season, posting a .944 OPS (fifth in the NL) with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 51 RBI. But again, the Rockies probably only get one guy named to the roster, and that's going to be Nolan Arenado.

    Similar to Polanco in Pittsburgh, Christian Yelich takes a back seat to his teammate Marcell Ozuna, despite a terrific .310/.396/.471 line that includes 22 doubles and 38 runs scored.

    Rounding out the Final Vote ballot, how about we give the host Padres a chance for one more representative with veteran Matt Kemp?

    His .273 on-base percentage is ugly, but he does have 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 54 RBI.

    Predicted Winner: Adam Duvall

    Fans love home runs and an underdog story. Duvall provides both, so we'll say the league rallies behind him, voting him into the final spot on the NL roster.

Starting Pitchers and Starting Lineups

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    Madison Bumgarner appears to have taken the lead as the best candidate to start for the NL.
    Madison Bumgarner appears to have taken the lead as the best candidate to start for the NL.Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Finally, we'll take a crack at predicting each team's starting lineup, including who will start the game on the mound for each side.

    American League Lineup

    1. LF Mike Trout, LAA
    2. 2B Jose Altuve, HOU
    3. SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    4. DH David Ortiz, BOS
    5. 3B Manny Machado, BAL
    6. 1B Eric Hosmer, KC
    7. RF Mookie Betts, BOS
    8. C Salvador Perez, KC
    9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS
    SP Chris Sale, CWS

    It's been a strange season in the AL from a pitching standpoint, as the only high-profile aces who are actually having standout seasons are Chris Sale and Cole Hamels.

    Aside from those two, unlikely names such as Steven Wright, Marco Estrada and Danny Salazar find themselves atop the leaderboard in most categories.

    Sale is 14-2 with a 2.93 ERA, 0.983 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 120 innings. He's been to the All-Star Game each of the past four seasons but has yet to earn the starting nod.

    That should change this year.

    National League Lineup

    1. CF Dexter Fowler, CHC
    2. RF Bryce Harper, WAS
    3. LF Yoenis Cespedes, NYM
    4. 1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC
    5. 3B Kris Bryant, CHC
    6. DH Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

    7. C Buster Posey, SF
    8. 2B Ben Zobrist, CHC
    9. SS Addison Russell, CHC
    SP Madison Bumgarner, SF

    With Clayton Kershaw sidelined and Jake Arrieta scuffling a bit his last few starts, the front-runner to start for the National League appears to be San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

    Bumgarner is 9-4 with a 2.20 ERA and 1.020 WHIP on the year, striking out 126 batters in 114.2 innings as he continues to be a horse atop the Giants staff.

    Manager Terry Collins will also need to pick a designated hitter, and Arizona Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt looks like the obvious choice with his .927 OPS, 14 home runs and 54 RBI.

    Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is probably having the best season of any of the non-starters on the NL side, but it seems like a waste to pencil him in as DH and take his Gold Glove defense out of play.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.