Projecting the AL All-Star Roster

The final American League All-Star vote total update was released today. It caused me my typical anger (Adam Jones back to 5th?!?!), but also presents an opportunity that we pretty much know who will be starting for the A.L. The only true mystery spot is the 3rd outfielder where Jose Bautista holds a slim lead over Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones. Let’s see if I can figure out who will be joining the starters in Kansas City. The American League has the same manager as last season in Ron Washington. I will use his 9 starters, 11 back-up position players, and 13 pitchers from last season as a template for this years roster. Also remember that every team must have at least one representative.

Catcher

Starter: Mike Napoli, Rangers

Reserve: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox

The fans have made a lot of picks easy for Rangers skipper Ron Washington as they are going to vote in a ton of his own players. Saves him the agony of not picking Mike Napoli who hasn’t been as good as he was in the 2nd half of 2011. Pierzynski has the best overall numbers of any A.L. catcher (2nd in HR, average, 3rd in OPS, and 1st in RBI) to warrant the back-up spot. Washington did take three catchers last season, so that leaves hope for Matt Wieters and Joe Mauer fans.

First Base

Starter: Prince Fielder, Tigers

Reserve: Paul Konerko, White Sox

I swear I really don’t have White Sox bias. Konerko has been an MVP type player this season leading the American League in batting average and on-base percentage. There might be enough votes out there where they flip-flop starter and reserve, but more than likely not. Both are worthy All-Stars and we can always have a couple players coming up play some 1st base.

Second Base

Starter: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Reserve: Jason Kipnis, Indians

This could be a place where I am wrong and Washington takes his own player in Ian Kinsler. I’m going with Jason Kipnis as Cleveland’s lone All-Star (though Chris Perez has a case) as he’s only player in the American League to be in double digits in both home runs and stolen bases. There is still time for Kinsler to take the starting spot back as he held it before Cano passed him today. With the way Rangers fans vote, you never know.

Shortstop

Starter: Derek Jeter, Yankees

Reserve: Elvis Andrus, Rangers

If Kinsler doesn’t win the second base vote, he ends up snubbed because Washington will take his own player as shortstop as Andrus deserves the back-up spot. Washington might get roasted if he has a player of his own at seemingly every position. Asdrubal Cabrera’s defense could be a factor in him getting chosen for a later replacement spot.

Third Base

Starter: Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Reserves: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

Poor Miguel Cabrera is possibly the best pure hitter in the game, but won’t start the All-Star Game again. Last year it was Adrian Gonzalez who blocked him out at first base. This year it’s Beltre blocking him at third base. For the 1,688,509 votes being cast for Rays Evan Longoria instead of Mark Trumbo this season, I strongly dislike you all.

Outfield

Starters: Josh Hamilton, Rangers, Curtis Granderson, Yankees, and Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Reserves: Adam Jones, Orioles, Mike Trout, Angels, Josh Willingham, Twins, and Josh Reddick, Athletics

No offense to Nelson Cruz, but I really hope he doesn’t steal the 3rd outfield starting spot. He isn’t in the top 10 in any statistical category except for RBI, where he is 10th with 47. All four of those reserves deserves to make the game over Cruz. Please accept my recommendation for “The Boomstick” to go to the Home Run Derby. Jones still has a chance to pass Bautista for the starting spot and I think he should, but both deserve to go to Kansas City. Trout has been nothing short of fantastic for the Halos as he didn’t play essentially the first month of the season and leads the American League in stolen bases, while hitting nearly .350. He won’t start but as Brian pointed out on this week podcast, he’ll make a great speed and defensive replacement for the American League. Reddick and Willingham sadly aren’t in the top 15 in outfield voting, but deserve to be the solo reps for the A’s and Twins respectively. Both are top ten in the league in offensive WAR.

Designated Hitter

Starter: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Reserves: Adam Dunn, White Sox and Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

Last year, Ron Washington only took one extra DH in Michael Young. Looking at the stats that these two have put up, I can’t see either staying home. Dunn can be used in a situation where they need a home run and is the clear Comeback Player of the Year at this point. While Encarnacion has 21 HR’s and is 5th in the league in slugging percentage. Encarnacion could even play some 3rd base for the team if needed.

Starting Pitcher

Starter: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Reserves: Chris Sale, White Sox, Jake Peavy, White Sox, Jered Weaver, Angels, Jason Hammel, Orioles, C.J. Wilson, Angels, David Price, Rays, and CC Sabathia, Yankees

The difference between Verlander, Sale, and Peavy is so tight that I just gave the edge to Verlander who is the reigning Cy Young and A.L. MVP. If I told you when the Orioles dealt Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for Jason Hammel that Hammel would be an All-Star you would’ve have laughed in my face. There is no doubt that Hammel should make it thought as he is 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA in a tough A.L. East. Matt Harrison is the snub here as he’s been solid for the Rangers, but there are already enough Texas players on the team for my liking. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison gets a nod on the “starting pitcher pitching Sunday” rule.

Relief Pitchers

Jim Johnson, Orioles, Jonathan Broxton, Royals, Fernando Rodney, Rays, Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners, and Ernesto Frieri, Angels

There is no way any person could have had these five players as the bullpen for the American League. Frieri wasn’t even in the American League at the start of the season, but has been amazing for the Angels as he hasn’t even given up a run in 22 innings in Anaheim with a ridiculous 15.5 K/9. The three closers Johnson, Rodney, and Broxton were taken off the scrap heap and are 2-3-4 in saves while all having ERA’s under 1.60. Chris Perez, the AL leader in saves, gets the snub in place of Tom Wilhelmsen who is the Mariners sole representative. He hasn’t given up a run since replacing Brandon League as closer for Seattle. We’ll get to Perez’s chances soon.

Final Vote

Austin Jackson, Tigers, Chris Perez, Indians, Ryan Cook, Athletics, Mark Trumbo, Angels, and Ian Kinsler, Rangers

This is where the AL leader in saves ends up. Will be funny to see if Cleveland fans vote him in after their “battle” earlier this season. Ryan Cook I wanted to put on the team as he’s been great for Oakland, but I took Frieri. Cook could sneak in the “starting pitcher pitching Sunday” rules. Austin Jackson has been wonderful at the top of the Tigers lineup, but got rightfully squeezed out by Reddick and Willingham. Mark Trumbo has been great filling in all over for the Angels and would be my first pick to replace a hitter on the roster. Kinsler would be my projected winner on this final vote, just because Rangers fans have proven they’ll vote for anyone in a Texas uniform, see David Murphy 6th in A.L. OF voting.

Representatives by Team

White Sox-5

Rangers-4, (5, if Kinsler wins my projected Final Vote)

Yankees and Angels-4

Tigers and Orioles-3

Rays and Blue Jays-2

Mariners, Athletics, Indians, Twins, Royals, and Red Sox-1

Who do you think should go to Kansas City? Who was my biggest snub? Let me know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

2 comments

  1. higs

    how can you not have scott downs in there? you have frieri, who hasn’t given up a single run while on the angels, but downs is somehow absent? downs has given up 1 run in 25 1/3 innings. easily should be on the all star roster.

    • brmapes

      It’s a fair statement. Downs has admittedly been great for the Angels. I went Frieri over Downs basically because of the K/9, he’s just been slightly more dominant than Downs. Cook I put in the Final Vote over Downs because I already had enough Angels I thought. Downs is a guy that if he makes it, I wouldn’t be upset at all. He might be one of the first fill-ins from the Sunday pitcher rule.

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