Yesterday, I gave you my projected A.L. All-Star roster that can be found down below this post. Today with the final voting update being released for the National League, let’s see if I can figure out what the N.L. roster will look like. I’m really glad that Tony LaRussa retired and has a ton of time on his hands to figure out the roster, because this thing is pretty tough. Especially trying to put a Padres representative on the team.
Starter: Buster Posey, Giants
Reserves: Yadier Molina, Cardinals and Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
This will be a close battle all the way to the end as Molina may still end up starting the game. Posey could be in danger of not making the game if not named the starter as Molina and Ruiz are the two clear-cut top catchers this season. LaRussa could decide that two catchers are enough and go with an extra back-up somewhere else.
Starter: Joey Votto, Reds
Reserve: Martin Prado, Braves
This is where I had to get creative. No offensive position has gone without a backup since Derrek Lee in 2005 for the N.L. In that game, Morgan Ensberg who was designated as a 3B moved over to replace Lee in the game. In 2002, Alfonso Soriano was the only 2B for the American League and Omar Vizquel switched over from SS to play 2B. There is precedent to not have a backup 1B and I don’t think there should be. The only one I can make a case for is the Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt, but it would be bad if he becomes Arizona’s lone representative over a deserving Wade Miley. Prado is a versatile player that plays outfield, third base, and first base for the Braves. He’s a deserving All-Star, but N.L. outfield is so deep (we’ll get to that soon) that this is a way to get Prado on the team. I’m still figuring out why there are 873,526 wasted votes on Ryan Howard who hasn’t played this season.
Starter: Dan Uggla, Braves
Reserve: Jose Altuve, Astros
Uggla has fallen off hitting just .179 in the month of June, but Braves fans have continued to vote for him. He has a healthy lead on Brandon Phillips going into the final stage of voting. Altuve has been a find for the Astros hitting over .300 and being 5th in the league in hits. Phillips gets bumped to the Final Vote as the only infielder represented.
Starter: Rafael Furcal, Cardinals
Reserve: Starlin Castro, Cubs
The injury woes of Troy Tulowitzki will allow Furcal to make his 3rd All-Star team in 13 seasons and it’s deserved. Furcal looked done after last season, but has bounced back to hit .287 and be solid atop the Cardinals lineup. Castro is the Cubs lone representative for the 2nd straight year. Pretty impressive for a 22 year-old.
Starter: David Wright, Mets
Reserves: Chipper Jones, Braves and David Freese, Cardinals
I’ve made it clear previously that I think that Chipper Jones should be starting the All-Star Game in his final season. Here’s my solution. The National League will need a designated hitter, so who better than Chipper Jones? He could have his moment like Cal Ripken did in 2001 and David Wright still gets to start at 3B like he deserves. I’m sure Chipper’s knees would also appreciate not having to play the field. Freese has been solid for the Cardinals as he’s top 10 in the league in HR’s and RBI. I’m sure LaRussa will bring him along after his postseason heroics in 2011.
Starters: Matt Kemp, Dodgers, Carlos Beltran, Cardinals, and Ryan Braun, Brewers
Reserves: Melky Cabrera, Giants, Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins and Andre Ethier, Dodgers
This is by far the deepest position in all of the Majors. Not making the team includes Michael Bourn, Matt Holliday and Hunter Pence who have all been fantastic. Mike Trout was able to make my A.L. squad, but the deepness at the position here blocks Bryce Harper from making the initial squad at 19 years old. There is still a tight battle for the final starting spot between Braun and Cabrera, but both will make the team. Gonzalez and Stanton are being snubbed by voters, but will be the solo representatives for the Rockies and Marlins respectively. Ethier sneaks in the final outfield spot as he’s helped keep the Dodgers afloat in Matt Kemp’s absence. Kemp’s injury will hopefully open up an extra spot for Bourn, Holliday, or Pence.
Starter: R.A. Dickey, Mets
Reserves: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, Matt Cain, Giants, Gio Gonzalez, Nationals, Wade Miley, Diamondbacks, Johnny Cueto, Reds, James McDonald, Pirates, Lance Lynn, Cardinals, Chris Capuano, Dodgers, and Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
The battle to be the starting pitcher couldn’t be any closer between Dickey, Strasburg, and Cain. I just think that Dickey is such a wonderful story that it would be amazing to have him start the game, so I gave him the edge. My American League roster had eight starters, but there are so many options in the N.L. that I upped it to ten. Even that wasn’t enough as Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke get snubbed. I believe that LaRussa will err on the side of the Cardinals and take Lance Lynn for the last pitching spot. Wade Miley is rightfully Arizona’s only representative.
Reserves: Craig Kimbrel, Braves, Aroldis Chapman, Reds, and Huston Street, Padres
Kimbrel has been lights out all season. Chapman had been perfect up until recently, but they are the two fireballers that the senior circuit needs to close out the game. Street goes to the game because I couldn’t figure out another way to get a Padre on the roster. I couldn’t have Carlos Quentin take a spot from one of the outfielders, Chase Headley over David Freese, or have Yonder Alonso be the back-up 1B. Street missed time with an injury, but has a 1.50 ERA and 0.78 ERA when healthy this season.
Michael Bourn, Braves, Cole Hamels, Phillies, Brandon Phillips, Reds, Matt Holliday, Cardinals, and Bryce Harper, Nationals
When I originally wrote out my roster Harper making the Final Vote didn’t even cross my mind. Then I had an epiphany, there is no way MLB doesn’t put Harper in, just to stir up some excitement for it. There are great voting fan bases represented in this final vote and I sadly couldn’t put in Zack Greinke. Greinke and Hamels will hopefully make the team on the “pitcher pitching Sunday” rule. Bourn has been wonderful leading off the Braves lineup and is among the league leaders in WAR. Brandon Phillips might make the All-Star game as a starter still, but him being in the Final Vote let’s him use his social media skills to the fullest.
Dodgers and Braves-4
Giants and Reds-3
Mets, Nationals, and Pirates-2
Diamondbacks, Padres, Rockies, Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Phillies, and Marlins-1
Unlike the American League, I feel like there are a ton of snubs on my National League team. Joel Hanrahan, Tyler Clippard, Kenley Jansen, Zack Greinke, Hunter Pence, Ryan Vogelsong, and Jed Lowrie just to name a few. Who would make your National League roster? Let me know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
The MLB All-Star Game takes place every July and features the biggest names in the sport. Pinning them in a series of events culminating with the All-Star Game. The MLB All-Star Game is the only one of the four major sports that has any bearing on the postseason with the winner having home field advantage in the World Series. So when players choose not to compete it could have ramifications on the playoffs.
Many players, for various reason, have decided not to compete in the All-Star game and the activities that surround it. For instance, any pitcher who starts the last game before the ASG and is voted onto the team can not play in the game. I for one am a fan of this rule. A pitchers arm is comparable to a crystal bowl in that when it is functioning the right way and undamaged it is an amazing sight to see, but the smallest defect in it can ruin even the most pristine arm.
Last season Justin Verlander could not partake in the All-Star Game, despite being among the league leaders in votes for pitchers, because he had started the last game before the break.
The same can be said for players who refuse to partake in the Home Run Derby which can be argued is the most popular event during the break. Many players have said that participating in the Home Run Derby has ruined their swings for the rest of the season, and there are numbers to back this up. Look at Josh Hamilton’s second half of 2008. By the All Star Break he had slugged 22 home runs and had 95 RBIs. After his memorable first round in which he smashed the single round record by hitting 28 home runs, he went on to hit only 10 the rest of the season finishing with 32 home runs and 135 RBIs.
Major League Baseball changed the rules last year regarding the Home Run Derby by allowing a player captain to pick his league’s “team”. One player has been targeted by the American League’s captain, Robinson Cano, and he has refused to take part in the event. Josh Hamilton has been asked twice to take part and has turned down the offer, citing he does not want to mess with his swing.
This is not the first time he has turned down the offer to participate though. In 2009, during an injury riddled season, he did not want to take part. He was just coming off an injury when the All Star Game was to take place and he didn’t want to reinjure himself.
He would easily be the biggest draw to the American League team with what he did at Yankee Stadium in 2008 but with his free agency looming he doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. He will be the biggest name this winter if he hits the market.
Unlike the American League ballot, the National League isn’t being dominated by any one team. Giants fans have rallied together though as the 2nd ballot release had Buster Posey pass Yadier Molina at catcher and Pablo Sandoval go from 4th to 2nd at third base. I even saw a #VoteBelt hashtag on Twitter last night. I get voting for your favorite team, but if you vote for Brandon Belt for the All-Star team, you don’t deserve to vote for the President of the United States in November. Can we make that happen?
As I did with the American League, I will break this up into my pick, who’s acceptable to vote for, and players that are currently placing that you probably shouldn’t be throwing support to.
Mapes Pick: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Bold statement alert: My top five catchers in the NL, Ruiz, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, A.J. Ellis, and Jonathan Lucroy (before he got hurt) deserve to start the All-Star Game over any catcher in the American League. I can’t discourage you to not vote for any of them, but I’m giving my edge to Chooch. The counting numbers between Posey, Molina, and Ruiz are all tight. Ruiz has the advantage in average and OPS on the other two and has been the Phillies offense with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard out.
I love Brian McCann, he’s one of my favorite players and he’s a consistent All-Star caliber player, but in 2012 his numbers don’t stack up. I can’t argue against voting for anyone else. Unfortunately, I have to add Lucroy to the don’t vote list due to his injury, but he’s been great this year.
Enjoy this video from Gordon Mack of the MLB Fan Cave is support of Chooch for the All-Star Game.
Acceptable to Vote For: Buster Posey, Giants, Yadier Molina, Cardinals, and A.J. Ellis, Dodgers
Please Stop Voting For: Brian McCann, Braves and Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers
Mapes Pick: Joey Votto, Reds
He was my N.L. MVP pick at the start of June and there is no doubt he is the best first baseman in the National League. Fans are easily getting this one right as Votto has 1.25 million more votes than 2nd place Lance Berkman.
Acceptable to Vote For: No one else
Please Stop Voting For: Everyone else
Mapes Pick: Dan Uggla, Braves
This pick is BARELY over Jose Altuve of the Astros. They’re two different players so they’re hard to compare, but I think Uggla’s numbers are slightly better and he’s been more important to a better team. Altuve deserves to make the team as a reserve over well known names like Brandon Phillips and Rickie Weeks and will more than likely be Houston’s lone representative in K.C. I can’t go as far as saying don’t vote for Phillips and Omar Infante, but they haven’t been nearly as good as the first two. Rickie Weeks is hitting .166 this season and is 5th in the voting. What a waste of 642,184 votes.
Acceptable to Vote For: Jose Altuve, Astros
Please Stop Voting For: Rickie Weeks, Brewers
Mapes Pick: Starlin Castro, Cubs
I might be penalizing Troy Tulowitzki too much for missing the last two weeks with an injury, but it’s not as if Castro hasn’t earned the starting spot. Castro is currently the only National League SS hitting over .300 and is 4th in the NL in hits and 5th in stolen bases. Tulowitzki has actually upped his voting lead on Cardinals Rafael Furcal since the last update. If he can come back this week and do what Tulo does, he’ll end up the starter.
Jimmy Rollins actually jumped into the top 5 since the first update. If someone can explain to me why that happened, I would be most appreciative. Phillies fans should be rallying around Carlos Ruiz, not Rollins. However, I guess Rollins is better than Alex Gonzalez who was 5th in the original release.
Acceptable to Vote For: Rafael Furcal, Cardinals and Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Please Stop Voting For: Jimmy Rollins, Philles, Jose Reyes, Marlins, and Alex Gonzalez, Brewers
6/14 Update: Troy Tulowitzki re-injured his groin on rehab and needs to be re-evaluated. I’m moving him out of the “Acceptable to Vote For” area for now. As pointed out in the comments where’s Jed Lowrie? I had him and Ian Desmond just under that same area, but I have no problem with voting for either of them over Rollins, Reyes, and Gonzalez. They’re both distantly behind Castro and Furcal though to me.
Mapes Pick: Chipper Jones, Braves
No doubt my most controversial pick. I akin this to Cal Ripken’s final season where he was voted to start the All-Star Game. I believe that Jones deserves the same honor. David Wright is having a fantastic season as he is top 3 in average, OBP and OPS. Pablo Sandoval is a solid player, but missing that time with a broken hamate bone should knock him out of contention. He somehow made up enough ground to go from 4th to 2nd in the All-Star voting. David Freese has been on a tear all season and deserves to be there, I’m sure Tony LaRussa will make room for him. Third base is a deep position this year, but the Chip should get one last trip out of respect.
Acceptable to Vote For: David Wright, Mets and David Freese, Cardinals
Please Stop Voting For: Pablo Sandoval, Giants and Placido Polanco, Phillies
Mapes Picks: Carlos Beltran, Cardinals, Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, and Melky Cabrera, Giants
This is the toughest choice. I can make a great case for ten players to be in the top 3. Instead of telling you why not the other seven, I’ll tell you why these three. Beltran has been one of the best if not the best free agent pickup this season. Beltran leads the NL in home runs, 3rd in RBI, 3rd in slugging, 5th in total bases, and 6th in OPS. Hard to not have the best home run hitter in the league so far make the team.
Cabrera leads the NL in batting average, hits and triples, while being 3rd in runs scored and total bases. The Melk Man has delivered for the Giants as a spark plug for the offense.
Which brings me to Carlos Gonzalez. Who is egregiously 10th in the NL OF voting. I’m not sure what else CarGo needs to do to prove he belongs in Kansas City. He leads the NL in runs scored and total bases. He’s 2nd in the league in RBI, slugging, and home runs. Plus, is 3rd in OPS. I can’t figure out how there are nine players let alone nine outfielders that you can put ahead of him.
Andrew McCutchen (11th) and Giancarlo Stanton (not in the top 15?!?!) deserve some more love too. The Pirates are in first place and McCutchen has been fantastic, it’s not like Pirates fans have a lot of other guys they should be voting for too.
Ryan Braun was the toughest omission as he’s been great for the Brew Crew, this is the deepest position in either league. It will be interesting to see who LaRussa has to “snub” in this. I haven’t even gotten Michael Bourn who leads all NL outfielders in WAR or Andre Ethier who leads the league in RBI. Just incredible.
There’s also some guy name Bryce Harper you might have heard of. Unlike Mike Trout, who I had starting in the outfield for the AL, Harper gets blocked in the NL from the depth at the position. I could see him making a splash at the Home Run Derby though.
Should Matt Kemp be starting the game? Probably not. It’s hard to have a player that is going to have played half the games of some of the other players. It appears as if the fans will vote him in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kemp takes the break off for his hamstring and focuses on his Home Run Derby captainship. That hurts to say as Kemp had one of the greatest months in MLB history.
Acceptable to Vote For: Ryan Braun, Brewers, Michael Bourn, Braves, Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, Andre Ethier, Dodgers, Matt Holliday, Cardinals, and Hunter Pence, Phillies
Please Stop Voting For: Matt Kemp, Dodgers, Jason Heyward, Braves, Jay Bruce, Reds, Shane Victorino, Phillies, and Jon Jay, Cardinals
Who would crack your NL All-Star ballot? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Major League Baseball announced the 2nd round of voting for the All-Star game over the past two days. The American League voting is still being dominated by the legions of Texas Rangers fans voting at will and having their players hold down five starting spots. With just over two weeks left before the starters are announced, I think it’s time to announce what my ballot will be for my 125 votes. (Like you don’t have more than one e-mail account to use too.) My National League ballot will be coming out tomorrow, but for now here’s who I think should start for the American League. I will break this up into my pick, who’s acceptable to vote for, and players that are currently placing that you probably shouldn’t be throwing support to.
Mapes Pick: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
American League catcher is a mess right now. Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, and Joe Mauer have been slight disappointments so far. It’d be a nice final All-Star appearance (probably) for Pierzynski who last made the Midseason Classic in 2006. Pierzynski leads AL catchers in OPS and RBI currently, while being 2nd behind Mauer in batting average (.288), and 3rd in home runs, just one behind Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (Author’s Note: As I was writing the blog, Pierzynski tied Napoli and Saltalamacchia with his 11th HR of the year.)
Acceptable to Vote For: Joe Mauer, Twins, Mike Napoli, Rangers, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox
Please Stop Voting For: Russell Martin, Yankees
Mapes Pick: Paul Konerko, White Sox
I’d like to think my first All-Star injustices column helped propel Konerko past Mark Teixiera into the #2 spot at first base. Konerko leads the American League still in batting average and OBP. Plus, he leads A.L. 1st baseman in OPS and has more home runs than current leader Prince Fielder. Fielder does have the advantage in runs scored and batted in.
Acceptable to Vote For: Prince Fielder, Tigers
Please Stop Voting For: Mark Teixiera, Yankees, Mitch Moreland, Rangers, and Albert Pujols, Angels
Mapes Pick: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Ian Kinsler has six more runs scored than Cano. Cano just has four more home runs, the same RBI, a better batting average and OPS and is playing Gold Glove 2nd base compared to his Texas counterpart. Kinsler is having his typically solid year and I think should be picked by his skipper Ron Washington to head to Kansas City, but Cano should be getting the starting nod.
Why Jason Kipnis is in 5th is beyond me, he’s the only 2nd baseman with double digit steals and home runs. Kipnis is hitting .285, is tied for 2nd in the A.L. in runs scored (behind Kinsler), and is tied for the A.L. lead in stolen bases with someone we’ll get to later.
Acceptable to Vote For: Ian Kinsler, Rangers and Jason Kipnis, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox and Robert Andino, Orioles
Mapes Pick: Derek Jeter, Yankees
It’s closer than the near million votes that Jeter is leading the pack by. It’s Derek Jeter though, if he’s having a good season, then he should start the All-Star Game. Fans are getting this one right.
Acceptable to Vote For: Elvis Andrus, Rangers and Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Mapes Pick: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Like his fellow teammate on the left side of the infield Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre should be coming off the bench for the All-Star team not starting it. Cabrera is one of is the not the most feared hitter in the American League. Cabrera is better than Beltre in every statistical category this season. If I was to choose one player currently not starting to track down his positions leader, it’s Cabrera first, then Konerko.
Please stop voting for Evan Longoria, I beg of you. You’re making all of us look bad. You’re better off trying to swing the vote for hometown player and underrated this season Mike Moustakas. It’s also pretty embarrassing that Angels Mark Trumbo isn’t in the top five at this position. I mean he’s only 4th in AVG, 2nd in OBP, 3rd in OPS, and 7th in HR’s in the entire league.
Acceptable to Vote For: Mark Trumbo, Angels, Adrian Beltre, Rangers, Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, and Mike Moustakas, Royals
Please Stop Voting For: Evan Longoria, Rays
Mapes Pick: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Hard to go against Adam Dunn who has bounced back from a horrific 2011 to have over 20 home runs already. The difference between Ortiz and Dunn is seven home runs, but I value Ortiz’s lead in average (massive), OBP, SLG, and OPS more. Fun Adam Dunn stat: he currently leads the American League in both walks AND strikeouts.
The underrated player in this position is Edwin Encarncacion who has been fantastic for the Blue Jays this year, but doesn’t make the top 5. Michael Young is one of my favorite players of the past decade, but doesn’t belong 2nd based on what he’s done. He’s just getting the Ranger fan bump.
Acceptable to Vote For: Adam Dunn, White Sox and Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Please Stop Voting For: Michael Young, Rangers and Raul Ibanez, Yankees
Mapes Picks: Josh Hamilton, Rangers, Adam Jones, Orioles, and Mike Trout, Angels
I’ve spent enough time this season talking about Hamilton, he’s the clear-cut A.L. MVP right now and should be the top vote-getter.
Adam Jones has done everything in his power to carry the Orioles. He’s the top reason that Baltimore is in contention right now in the A.L. East. In addition to Gold Glove defense he’s top five in the league in home runs, total bases, hits, and offensive WAR. Plus, Jones is adding a .300 batting average and nine stolen bases to the mix. The closest battle for a starting spot right now is for the 3rd A.L. outfielder. Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, and Jones are separated by a shade over 80,000 votes. Jones is the clear-cut choice of those three to me.
Curtis Granderson is 2nd in the voting and will be included in my “acceptable to vote for”, but who wouldn’t want to see Mike Trout in the outfield. Trout has turned the Angels fortunes around since getting called up. If Trout currently qualified, he would be 2nd in batting average, 4th in OBP, 9th in SLG, and 6th in OPS. For good measure he’s tied for the American League lead in stolen bases and he didn’t even play the first month! Trout has earned a spot. Only problem is you have to vote for him as a write-in candidate.
The true atrocity at this position is Josh Reddick and Josh Willingham not cracking the top 15 at the position. They are both having breakout seasons and will more than likely be their respective teams solo representatives (unless the A’s Ryan Cook is picked over Reddick). Willingham is 2nd in the league in on-base. How can you not be #WildForWillingham after watching this either?
Acceptable to Vote For: Curtis Granderson, Yankees, Josh Reddick, Athletics, and Josh Willingham, Twins
Please Stop Voting For: David Murphy, Rangers, Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, Brett Gardner, Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners, and Nick Markakis, Orioles
Anything you think I’m completely crazy on? Want to defend a player that currently has a starting spot? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
The initial balloting for the 2012 All-Star Game was announced today and as usual the fans haven’t gotten it completely right. Luckily, there’s still time to fix this. Let’s band together and get some votes in for these players. I will heap some praise on the fans for having Albert Pujols 5th at American League 1st base.
Mark Teixiera over Paul Konerko
I can see the case for voting Prince Fielder into the #1 spot even though I think Paul Konerko should be in the top spot. Konerko isn’t even #2 though as Yankees 1st baseman Mark Teixeira has 26,000 more votes. It’s not like Konerko is playing in a small-market here. Konerko demolishes Teixeira in every single statistical category. Don’t let the Yankee fan base win this one.
Carlos Ruiz 4th at National League Catcher
I nearly spit out my drink when I saw this. Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Brian McCann are bigger names for sure, but Carlos Ruiz has been the best catcher in the game this season. Philadelphia fans need to band together and get Chooch some votes, it’s pretty embarassing. Ruiz would need to double his current votes to be in contention with Yadier Molina.
Adam Jones 5th at American League Outfield
I had Jones 3rd in the entire league in my “Too Early MLB Awards” at this point in the season. Jones is currently being hurt by the flood of Texas votes as he sits behind Nelson Cruz who has the last starter role and just ahead of David Murphy. ADAM JONES IS ONLY ONE SPOT AHEAD OF DAVID MURPHY, get on this Baltimore fans.
Carlos Gonzalez 13th and Giancarlo Stanton not in top 15 at National League Outfield
I don’t think either of these players will start or should start in the outfield, but where they’re currently placed is terrible. CarGo leads the NL in slugging percentage and has been on a tear. Stanton was the May Player of the Month for the Marlins, breaks scoreboards on grand slams and has continued to developed as a stud. Stanton isn’t even on the voting list. Jon Jay made the top 15! Jason Heyward is 7th! It doesn’t make sense. Braves fans if you’re going to vote, throw the support to Michael Bourn and Chipper Jones, not to Jason Heyward! Rockies and Marlins fans need to get out the vote for their outfield studs.
What’s your biggest All-Star vote transgression so far? I’m sure my fellow podcast host Jeremy Dorn is still searching the list for A.J. Ellis.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)