The duty of making up the All-Star lineups is left to American League manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals and National League manager Terry Collins of the New York Mets.
It's one of many jobs both men have in the All-Star Game. The two 2015 World Series managers want to knit together the best lineups possible, work nearly every reserve into the game and find a way to win the contest for their respective leagues.
It takes a surgeon's touch to accomplish everything without offending any of the participants.
So, in an effort to make the overall job just a bit easier for each manager, we offer our projected starting lineups for each league.
There have been many changes since the All-Star teams were announced July 5 as a result of injuries and pitchers who will be unavailable Tuesday night at Petco Park in San Diego. The National League had to replace two starting outfielders in Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler as a result of injuries. The American League starters remain intact.
|American League Starting Lineup|
|Jose Altuve||Houston Astros||2B||Spark plug with surprising power|
|Manny Machado||Baltimore Orioles||3B||Making a run at MVP|
|Mike Trout||Los Angeles Angels||RF||Best player in MLB|
|David Ortiz||Boston Red Sox||DH||One more chance to show off power|
|Eric Hosmer||Kansas City Royals||1B||Brilliant fielder, clutch hitter|
|Mookie Betts||Boston Red Sox||RF||Great speed and power combination|
|Sal Perez||Kansas City Royals||C||Leading vote-getter and always dependable|
|Xander Bogaerts||Boston Red Sox||SS||Seemingly improves every game|
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||Boston Red Sox||CF||Sensational fielder with live bat|
|Chris Sale*||Chicago White Sox||P||Tough lefty has earned the start|
|Pitcher does not bat; Silverman selections.|
We know that Mike Trout led off last year's All-Star Game with a home run and captured his second straight MVP award, but we have to go with Jose Altuve in the leadoff spot.
Altuve is having a remarkable year with a .414 on-base percentage, .343 batting average and 14 home runs. That's simply remarkable power for a player who checks in at 5'6" and 165 pounds, but that's why Altuve may be the American League MVP at the end of the season.
If Altuve doesn't get that award, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles may take it away from him. He has split his time between shortstop and third base this year and is clearly a brilliant fielder. Machado has belted 19 home runs with 53 RBI and has a .322 batting average.
Trout may lobby Yost to bat leadoff after his success last year, but he will fit in nicely in the No. 3 hole. Trout is the best all-around player in the game, and since the Angels are struggling this year, he may once again make the All-Star Game his personal playground. Trout has a .427 on-base percentage to go along with 18 homers and 57 RBI.
David Ortiz has to be the clean-up hitter, doesn't he? In a video filmed in November on the Players' Tribune, Ortiz announced his plans to retire at the end of this season, and even though he has been sensational in 2016, he has not backed away from his retirement promise.
Ortiz is one of the game's greatest clutch hitters, and don't be surprised to see him go off in San Diego. Big Papi hit his 22nd home run Sunday, and he has been raking all season (.332/.426/.682).
First baseman Eric Hosmer of the Royals, who has belted 13 homers and knocked in 39 runs, follows Ortiz in the lineup. Mookie Betts continues to spark the Red Sox as their leadoff hitter, but he will hit a bit further down in the lineup in the All-Star Game. Betts can hit the long ball and also steal a base.
Sal Perez is a brilliant catcher and was recognized by the fans as he received the most votes of any player. He is technically sound behind the plate and a fine clutch hitter.
Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Red Sox take up the final two spots in the batting order. Bogaerts is a prospect who has lived up to the hype with a .331 average, 10 homers and 55 RBI, while Bradley had a 29-game hitting streak earlier this year and is a sensational center fielder.
Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox deserves to get the start for the American League. The long, lean left-hander has a 14-3 record to go with a 3.38 earned-run average and a 1.04 WHIP.
|National League Starting Lineup|
|Bryce Harper||Washington Nationals||CF||Ready to start the game with a bang|
|Carlos Gonzalez||Colorado Rockes||RF||Big bat fills in nicely for Cespedes|
|Kris Bryant||Chicago Cubs||3B||Home run machine and MVP candidate|
|Anthony Rizzo||Chicago Cubs||1B||Left-handed power gives Cubs, NL a great chance this year|
|Buster Posey||San Francisco Giants||C||One of the most respected players in the game|
|Paul Goldschmidt||Arizona Diamondbacks||DH||Dominant hitter who can break open any game|
|Ben Zobrist||Chicago Cubs||2B||Versatile, smart and effective|
|Starling Marte||Pittsburgh Pirates||LF||Gets the start in place of Dexter Fowler|
|Addison Russell||Chicago Cubs||SS||Just starting to realize his talent|
|Johnny Cueto*||San Francisco Giants||P||NL injuries means Cueto gets his shot|
|*-not batting; Silverman selections|
The American League has won three All-Star Games in a row and has dominated the series since 1988 by reeling off a 21-6-1 record. Collins will try to reverse that with a lineup that starts with reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper.
While Harper is hitting .259, he has belted 19 home runs and 52 RBI. He is capable of jump-starting the National League with his power. Same thing goes with No. 2 hitter Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies, who moves into the starting lineup in place of Cespedes.
The Chicago Cubs fill the No. 3 and 4 spots in the order with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, respectively. Bryant has a .379 on-base percentage and has belted 25 home runs, while Rizzo has a .410 on-base percentage with 21 home runs and 63 RBI. That's a pretty sweet one-two punch on Chicago's North Side.
Buster Posey is no stranger to big situations, as he has helped backstop the Giants to three World Series titles. He has hammered 11 home runs and knocked in 41 runs so far this season.
Since the DH is in play in the All-Star Game, Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks is a great fit. The 6'3" slugger has a .421 on-base percentage to go with 15 homers and 58 RBI. Ben Zobrist follows, and he is the ideal hitter if the National League needs to perform a hit-and-run or pick up a clutch hit.
Starling Marte will start in place of Fowler, while Addison Russell will bat ninth and play shortstop. While Russell is hitting just .234, he has hammered 11 homers and driven in 49 runs.
Look for Collins to give the ball to Johnny Cueto of the Giants. Cueto has a 13-1 record to go with a 2.47 ERA and a 115-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio.