Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My AL All-Star Picks

Apparently you can vote up to 25 times for each of your e-mail addresses for the MLB All-Star game players. That reminds me of the year Cincinnati fans stacked the voting in 1957. The Cincinnati Enquirer placed All-Star ballots in with their newspapers and there were even stories that the city's bars would not serve you a drink until you filled in a ballot. More than half of the votes cast that year were by Cincinnati fans resulting in seven of the eight starters being Redlegs. The only player elected from another team was Stan Musial. Commissioner Ford Frick removed two of the Reds from the starting lineup.

As a result, the vote was taken away from the fans and given to players, coaches, and managers. That lasted until 1970 when Major League Baseball decided to rekindle interest in the game by giving the vote back to the fans. I really don't think you should be able to vote 25 times, but whatever. 

Here are my choices for the American League team.

Catcher – Joe Mauer (Minnesota) He's great defensively (three Gold Gloves), which means a lot at the catcher position. He is hitting .323, though he has just 3 home runs. A.J. Pierzynski of the WhiteSox (12, 41, .284) would be my second choice.

1st Base – Paul Konerko (WhiteSox) is hitting .337 and has thirteen home runs and 39 RBIs. He also has a .970 OPS.  My second and third choices would be Prince Fielder, who is hitting .303 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs and Adam Dunn (also with the WhiteSox) who is hitting just .212 and is en route to reaching his personal worst (199) in strikeouts – a whopping 119 already – but has 23 home runs and 52 RBIs, tops at the position. I guess Billy Butler of the Royals (14, 44, .294) has to get into the game - it is in Kansas City after all.

2nd Base – Robinson Cano sparkles defensively and is on a tear of late. He has his average over .300 and has 17 homers and 39 ribbies. His OPS is .941. Second shoice at second would go to Jason Kipnis of Cleveland who has 11 homers and 42 RBIs. 

Shortstop – Derek Jeter (NYY) has 7 HRs and is still over .300, though he is in a slump right now. He is still pretty good defensively. He made a really nice play in last night's game. J. J. Hardy of the Orioles has 11 home runs but is batting just .243. Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera is having a fine year with the bat - 9, 33, .291.

3rd Base – Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) leads with 59 RBIs and is hitting .307 with an .898 OPS. Adrian Beltre (Texas) has three Gold Gloves on his mantle and is hitting .328 so far with 13 HRs and 48 RBIs. Third choice at third would go to Mark Trumbo of the Angels (17, 49, .316 and a .980 OPS). Any one of those guys would represent the AL well.

Outfield – Josh Hamilton is tops with 23 circuit blasts and 66 RBIs. His average is down to .316 (just .205 the last 23 games) but his OPS remains high at 1.031. Baltimore's Adam Jones is right at .300, with 19 homers and a .907 OPS, though his average is still just .237 Jose Bautista (Jays) is great defensively and leads with has 24 home runs and 57 RBIs. Just missing the cut (for me at least) are Josh Willingham (Minnesota) who is second in OPS and third in On Base Percentage. Mike Trout of LA has the best batting average (.338) and OBP (.399) and has stolen 21 bases. Curtis Granderson of the Yankees has 21 home runs and 41 RBIs.

DH – David Ortiz is just ahead of Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion is every category except home runs (he has one fewer), though Encarnacion is having a fine year.  Ortiz has more walks, fewer strikeouts, a better OPS, and a better OBP. Sorry Rick, you know I'm no Red Sox fan, but Ortiz gets the nod.

Starters – Chris Sale (WhiteSox) is 8-2 with a leading 2.24 ERA and an 0.96 WHIP. He is the second hardest starter in the AL to hit for average against (.194). Lowest opposition average goes to Jared Weaver of the Angles (.194). He's 7-1, with a (second best) 2.40 ERA. Now the really tough choice, who's third out of the dugout?  For me, Texas darling Yu Darvish (10-4, 2.95) would be the guy. David Price just misses the cut at 10-4, 2.95 and 90 strikeouts.

Brandon Morrow of the Jays is just 7-4 but opponents are batting a measly .194. Justin Verlander (Detroit) is 8-4 and has the most strikeouts (113). C.C. Sabathia is next with 105. Verlander is the fourth toughest to hit against among AL starters.

Forget Boston's Buccholz. He's 8-2 but he has a 5.53 ERA and has allowed 15 dingers. Sabathia is 9-3 but he ranks 24th in enemy batting average. And also cross off Matt Harrison of the Rangers (10-3) whose enemy average ranks 29th. And also Ivan Nova (NYY) who is 9-2 but has an ERA of 4.25 with 15 home run balls having flown over his head. 

Relievers – First out of the pen would be Baltimore's Jim Johnson who is second in saves (one behind Cleveland's Chris Perez) but has an opposition batting average of .138 and leads relievers with an 0.67 WHIP. Fernando Rodney of the Rays is third in saves (just two behind Perez) with an opposition average of .176 and a WHIP of 0.77.  Third in relief should be Perez but I'll go with Jonathan Broxton, who is fourth in saves (5 back) since, as mentioned, the game is in Kansas City.

I imagine you will disagree with several (or maybe all) of my picks, but hey, that's what makes it all so fun.

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