Here we will try to pick the 34 best players to fill out each league’s All-Star Roster. Next up is the American League.
Let’s start with the position players. Our goal here is to select 20 or so players to fill out the AL roster as well as possible.
Catcher – Considered: Matt Wieters, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, AJ Pierzynski, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli.
Starter: AJ Pierzynski (1) even though we all hate him.
Backups: Mauer (2) is the lone backup. Let’s tire out our division rivals catchers in the heat!
First Base – Considered: Chris Davis, Paul Konerko, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Billy Butler, David Ortiz, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Mark Trumbo.
Starter: Konerko (3) gets the start at 1B, with Ortiz (4) starting at DH. This position is pretty loaded once you factor in the DH/1B types.
Backups: Trumbo (5), Encarnacion (6). Butler would be the next nod, with a higher OPS (.8752) than Pujols (.7989) and Fielder (.8602) and just a tick behind Dunn (.8797, though Dunn has K’d 123 times to Butler’s 46)
Second Base – Considered: Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler.
Starter: Cano (7) shines at this top-heavy position. He’s an easy choice.
Backups: Kipnis (8) and Kinsler (9)
Third Base – Considered: A-Rod, Will Middlebrooks, Brett Lawrie, Miguel Cabrera, Trevor Plouffe, Mike Moustakas, Adrian Beltre, Kyle Seager
Starter: Cabrera (10) is the starter, with better than expected defense.
Backup: Beltre (11), although Encarnacion, Trumbo, Bautista could all fill in also if there is a crunch. Shame Middlebrooks stellar rookie campaign is overshadowed by Mike Trout.
Shortstop – Considered: Derek Jeter, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alcides Escobar, Elvis Andrus.
Starter: Asdrubal Cabrera (12) is the best all-around shortstop in the AL right now.
Backup: Alcides Escobar (13). I know this seems odd, but offensively, I’d rather have Escobar than Jeter or Andrus right now. Seriously, go look at the stats. Sure Jeter and Andrus have scored more runs, but that is a byproduct of hitting in front of Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson types, rather than Humberto Quintero and Chris Getz. Defensively, it’s a no-brainer.
Escobar – .318/.355/.428 with 23 XBH and 12 SB
Jeter – .303/.352/.409 with 20 XBH and 6 SB
Andrus – .302/.380/.406 with 24 XBH and 16 SB
I’m sure Escobar will be overlooked, unless Yost can sway the coaches otherwise.
Outfield – Considered: Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones, Ben Zobrist, Matt joyce, Jose Bautista, Aljeandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Shin Soo-Choo, Austin Jackson, Josh Willingham, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Ichiro
Starters: Josh Hamilton (14), Jose Bautista (15), Mike Trout (16). Trout is starting to earn some MVP looks, even as a 20 year old rookie.
Backups: Curtis Granderson (17), Josh Reddick (18), Adam Jones (19) and Austin Jackson (20). Reddick fills the need for an Oakland player. Plus he’s hit 18 HR and is slugging .510.
That brings us to 20 players. So we have 14 pitcher slots left to fill with only Tampa and Seattle without a representative. Last two left off the team? Billy Butler and Elvis Andrus.
Starting Pitchers – Considered: CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Jason Hammel, David Price, Brandon Morrow (Inj), Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, Tom Milone, Brandon McCarthy, Jarrod Parker, Felix Hernandez.
Starting Pitcher: Chris Sale (21). Not necessarily based on merit over Verlander, but lets just hope he blows his arm out. To think, we could have had him instead of Christian Colon. Ugh.
Also pitching: David Price (22), Justin Verlander (23), Jake Peavy (24), CJ Wilson (25), Jered Weaver (26), CC Sabathia (27), Felix Hernandez (28), Brandon Morrow (29-Inj), Colby Lewis (30-Inj).
Not nearly as deep as the NL, we leave room for six RP, with no teams missing a representative now.
Relief Pitchers – Considered: Rafael Soriano, Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Jonathan Broxton, Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow, Jose Mijares, Tim Collins, Joe Nathan, Robbie Ross, Alexi Ogando, Mark Lowe, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush
On the team: Joe Nathan (31), Fernando Rodney (32), Jonathan Broxton (33), Ernesto Frieri (34), Rafael Soriano (35) and Joaquin Benoit (36).
A downright NASTY pen. Though it does seem the only teams with solid bullpens in the AL are the Royals and Rangers. Almsot everyone in each pen was considered.
Starting Lineup for the American League:
Sale-P (Verlander first out of the pen, 9th inning goes to Nathan)