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Predicting the AL All-Star Roster

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The All-Star rosters will be announced on Sunday, with voting coming to a close on Thursday. With the latest All-Star ballot update coming yesterday, we can guess who the 9 players voted in will be. After they’re added to the All-Star team, we’ll then look at which teams need a representative, and who is having the best seasons on those teams. Of course, you can check back on Sunday to see if I’m right.

Vote Leaders

Catcher- Matt Wieters (BAL)

First- Miguel Cabrera (DET)

Second- Robinson Cano (SEA)

Third- Josh Donaldson (OAK)

Shortstop- Derek Jeter (NYY)

OF- Jose Bautista (TOR), Mike Trout (LAA), Yoenis Cespedes (OAK)

DH- Nelson Cruz (BAL)

The only 2 players that are in jeopardy of losing out on the fan votes from this list are Wieters, who leads Derek Norris by just over 179,000 votes, and Yoenis Cespedes, who leads Melky Cabrera by about 12,000 votes.

Wieters is also out for the season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Norris will get the automatic nomination. If another team, say the Twins, needs a representative, then their player could be added instead, with Norris possibly having to be voted in by the fans in a pool of 5 as part of the last vote-in for the 30th roster spot.

With 7 of these players all but assured of being voted in, that takes care of the Orioles, Tigers, Mariners, Athletics, Yankees, Blue Jays and Angels. Only 8 more teams to go!

All-Star Candidates

Here, I will focus on who is most deserving, regardless of when whether a pitcher is making a Sunday start or not.

First, there is Jose Altuve of the Astros. The only reason he has been overlooked by the fans is because he plays for the Astros. You were expecting a short joke, admit it.  He is having a fantastic season, leading the AL in BA and is 8th in WAR. He’s in. We have an Astro.

Sticking in the AL West, the Rangers have a couple of options. Yu Darvish is 3rd in the league in ERA (2.42) and Adrian Beltre is having another Adrian Beltre-type season. For the sake of argument, let’s just add Darvish for now.

The reasoning for the previous move comes in the form of the Tampa Bay Rays. They have been terrible through the first half of the season, and honestly nobody really deserves to be plucked from their team. But we have to, so that person is Evan Longoria, who plays 3rd base, much like Beltre. That feels dirty. Let’s move on.

Boston has been equally as bad as a whole, but they have a couple of players that can be added to the roster. First, Koji Uehara has 18 saves and a 1.19 ERA to go along with a 0.72 WHIP. David Ortiz has 52 RBI on the season, but let’s put him on the back burner for now. Nelson Cruz can DH a whole game just fine if needed.

Moving to the AL Central, Royals’ closer Greg Holland is doing it yet again. After a rocky start to the season, he has lowered his ERA to 1.99 and collected 23 saves, tying him with Fernando Rodney for the league lead. Heck, let’s add both of them.

The Indians’ Michael Brantley leads his team in BA, HR, RBI, OBP and Hits. He’s their rep, no question.

The White Sox could wind up with 3 candidates in Chris Sale, Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez. The fact that Sale missed a month may be what costs him an All-Star nod this year. Abreu is a rookie that is near the top of the AL in HRs and RBI. The fact that he’s a rookie should also help, because MLB loves to promote its young stars. Ramirez’s stats are actually the best among AL shortstops, but I see no problem with Jeter getting voted in this season. Alexei is added by manager’s decision.

That leaves one team that needs a representative for the All-Star game, the Twins. The best player for them has been Kurt Suzuki, who ranks 3rd on the team in RBI, but has BA that is 40 points higher than either of the 2 players above him in Plouffe and Dozier. Suzuki will most likely be their representative, which puts Derek Norris’ chances in question.

Recap So Far

Suzuki-C, Cabrera-1B, Cano-2B, Donaldson-3B, Jeter-SS, Bautista-OF, Trout-OF, Cespedes-OF, Cruz-DH, Altuve-2B, Longoria-3B, Abreu-1B, Ramirez-SS, Brantley-OF, Darvish-SP, Uehara-RP, Holland-RP. That is 17 players, 12 to go!

The Rest of the All-Star Pack

We’re going to need some pitchers, with Masahiro Tanaka and Felix Hernandez topping the list. Mark Buehrle is also on this short list with the season he has put together, going 10-5 with a 2.50 ERA. If there is room for one more starter, Scott Kazmir gets the nod.

In need of a few more closers, the battle is close. Of course, I want to take Sean Doolittle, even with last night in the books. With that outing, his ERA is still lower than most closers’ this season at 2.97, and he has a 57:2 K/BB ratio to go along with it. This hasn’t been the year for closers, so I’ll add Glen Perkins of the Twins as well, who has 20 saves with a 3.24 ERA. Call it a hometown add. The last arm is actually just a reliever. Dellin Betances of the Yankees has been striking batters out at will. Couple that with a 1.33 ERA, and we have an All-Star.

Just 5 position players and we’re done!

We’ll need a couple more outfielders, and by the stats, Adam Jones of Baltimore and George Springer of Houston are those guys. Springer in particular, because he was called up late, and is currently 7th among AL OF in RBI (43), 3rd in HR (16) and has an OBP of .353. All of these stats have been compiled in just 245 ABs.

The game will need another catcher, and Salvador Perez could get the nod here. He has 10 HR, 29 RBI and is hitting .287, but also plays stellar defense behind the plate, giving him the nod over Navarro of Toronto. Norris misses out here because of the 4 Athletics already named to the team.

I said we would revisit David Ortiz, and here we are. He’s in. He is a huge fan favorite, and his manager, John Farrell, is the manager of the AL squad for the All-Star game. His numbers may be trumped by other DH candidates, but he has those two factors working in his favor. Sorry, Edwin.

Lastly, my dark horse candidate is 3B Kyle Seager of Seattle. He is having a great season in a pitcher’s park, collecting 55 RBIs and 12 HR while hitting .274. The power numbers give Seager the edge of Beltre. Of course, that makes too much sense. Some relative unknown has to be screwed every year, right Donaldson?

Yes, this is only 29 players. The final player will be voted in by the fans next week, and there are always some odd options, so I will not begin to try and guess who will be up for the final spot.

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Tags: All Star Game MLB Oakland Athletics

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