The 2013 MLB All-Star Game is 83 days away, but never fear you can start voting for your favorite players today here. You get 25 votes that gets bumped up to 35 if you log in with your MLB.com account. Of course there are still paper ballots that can be found at every stadium and the MLB Fan Cave for you to fill out. While I don’t fill out mine until I get a better grasp of who deserves it (like that ends up mattering) here’s what my ballot would look like on April 24th.
American League: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles Davis is off to a hot start for Baltimore. He’s hitting .382 with an AL-leading 7 home runs coming into the games on the 24th. Mike Napoli and Prince Fielder have cases and Napoli would be my pick if he was on the ballot at catcher, not first base. (Runner-up: Prince Fielder, Tigers)
National League: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds The power numbers aren’t there, but Votto-matic is automatic at getting on base leading the league with 26 walks so far and a crazy .485 OBP. The next highest walk total is 16 by David Wright. (Runner-up Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers)
American League: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees I can make a case that Robinson Cano is the MVP of the American League right now. Then you can make the case that it’s April 24th and that’s stupid. (Runner-up Ian Kinsler, Rangers)
National League: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds It must be nice for Phillips to just get to drive in OBP-machines Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo getting on base ahead of him all the time. He leads NL second baseman in RBI and is tied for the lead in home runs. Plus, he’s the best defender at the position in the league. (Runner-up Daniel Murphy, Mets)
American League: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics Lowrie has been quite a coup for Billy Beane’s boys. Lowrie leads AL shortstops in runs, RBI, and batting average. (Runner-up: Jose Reyes, Blue Jays, I’m not joking either)
National League: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies Why have the Rockies been surprising in 2013? A healthy and hitting Troy Tulowitzki is a big part of it. He leads NL shortstops in home runs, RBI, and runs, while hitting .292. (Runner-up: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers)
American League: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers The defending AL MVP is off to a quiet start, but is still among the league leaders in hits and is best among AL third sackers in batting average. (Runner-up: Evan Longoria, Rays)
National League: David Wright, New York Mets I really wanted to have NL batting leader Chris Johnson here, but Wright has had the overall better start to the season, especially on the basepaths. There’s a lot of depth here right now with Todd Frazier, Pablo Sandoval, and Martin Prado off to solid starts. (Runner-up: Chris Johnson)
American League: J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays Napoli not being on the ballot at catcher is Arencibia’s gain for now. He leads the American League in home runs with eight after another one on Wednesday. He’s my least likely from here to be on my actual ballot in a couple months. (Runner-up: Carlos Santana, Indians)
National League: John Buck, New York Mets Let’s just sum up Buck’s start with this meme. (Runner-up: Evan Gattis, Braves, wait he’s not on the ballot?!?)
American League: Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox, and Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles These three have been the best all-around outfielders in the American League this season. It’s not my fault that they’re all center fielders. (Runners-up: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Alex Rios, White Sox)
National League: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, and Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals There is a ton of depth at National League outfield right now. You could take the next four on my list and make a case they deserve it on to the squad. Justin Upton has been hands-down the best hitter in the game so far this season, it’s ridiculous that he’s still on pace for 90+ home runs. (Runners-up: Shin-Soo Choo, Reds, Dexter Fowler, Rockies, Ryan Braun, Brewers, and Andrew McCutchen, Pirates)
American League: Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians Reynolds has been a great find for Cleveland with seven home runs and 18 RBI, both are top ten in MLB right now. (Runner-up: Travis Hafner, New York Yankees)
Who would you have on your All-Star ballot on release day? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Fantasy baseball is all about riding the hot hand and getting in and out on players at the right time. Each Monday I’ll take a look at who’s been added and dropped in the most fantasy leagues in the previous week.
Week One Pops
Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF: ESPN +56.2 %, CBS +42%
Parra, who’s known more for his defense, hit .400 in the first week while getting playing time with Adam Eaton on the disabled list. He’ll have to keep up the hot hitting to keep the spot when Eaton comes back, but fantasy owners looking for a .280ish average and some speed have found their guy in Parra.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners, SP: ESPN +40.7%, CBS +7%
One of my favorite pitchers coming into the season had a great two-start week against the Athletics and White Sox. He compiled a 2.57 ERA and 0.43 WHIP with 10 strikeouts in 14 innings. Iwakuma was one of the best pitchers in the 2nd half of last year and it’s carried over to 2013. I’m particularly fond of pitchers who don’t walk people and he fits the bill as he hasn’t walked a single batter yet. He hasn’t been added in as many CBS leagues, because he had a higher ranking there compared to ESPN.
Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics, SS: ESPN +38.9%, CBS +37%
When Lowrie is healthy, he’s more than serviceable at shortstop and at a middle infielder spot. He started off hot last year in Houston and is doing it again in Oakland hitting .500 with three home runs so far. Owners looking for a fill-in for Derek Jeter have pounced on Lowrie for the time being.
John Buck, New York Mets, C: ESPN +27.1%, CBS +32%
Fantasy owners that hop on the hot catcher are all over John Buck this week as he hit .400 with two home runs for his new team. He was owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues coming into the season. He has 15-20 home run potential, but expect a slump soon as he hit a dismal .192 in 300+ at-bats last year. He has potential though for hitting .240 with 17 home runs and that’s worth a shot with slumping catchers like Jonathan Lucroy to start the year. I wouldn’t be adding him in 10-team mixed though.
Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs, RP: ESPN +15.2%, CBS +18%
Carlos Marmol is obviously in the drops department as he’s officially lost the Cubs closer role to the newly-signed Fujikawa. Be weary though as the Cubs may not have enough save chances to go around. If you didn’t pay for saves though, he’s an obvious pickup.
Predicting next weeks pops: Kelvin Herrera, Royals, RP, Paul Maholm, Braves, SP, Chris Johnson, Braves, 3B, Jim Henderson, Brewers, RP
Week One Drops
Phil Hughes, New York Yankees, SP: ESPN -34.0%
Hughes was strong enough to stay in the Yankees rotation and not miss his first start due to injury. Unfortunately for Yankees fans, that start wasn’t very good giving up three earned runs and eight hits in just four innings. He’s not ready and should be on the waiver wire until he proves otherwise.
Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers, RP: ESPN -12.4%, CBS -6%
Also on my avoid list, the rest of the Tigers bullpen. I want no part of Rondon, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, and re-signed Jose Valverde. I’m not that desperate for saves and I hope you aren’t either. I’ll wait for someone to grab actual hold of the job before making a move.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants, 1B: ESPN -11.3%, CBS -6%
Oh Brandon Belt, why must you tease us so? He was spectacular during spring training, making people believe that this would be the year the former top prospect would break out. Instead, he’s started the season 1 for 14 and missed a couple games with a stomach illness. Fantasy owners are ready to go with other options like a hot Mark Reynolds in Cleveland and the Cardinals Matt Carpenter.
Predicting next weeks drops: The rest of anyone owning Carlos Marmol, Cubs, RP, John Axford, Brewers, RP, Ryan Dempster, Red Sox, SP, J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays, C
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Another year, another All-Star Game announcement with the usual outrage. There were many surprises for the 2012 all-star teams including Pablo Sandoval starting, plus Brian LaHair and Ian Desmond making the team. I understand Ron Washington taking his guy in Matt Harrison, but I think there were better options, including everyone who ended up in the A.L. Final Vote. For the Snub-O-Meter, I will not include any player that made the Final Vote. P.S. #VoteChipper!
Johnny Cueto, Reds
In my opinion, the most egregious snub for the 2012 All-Star game. Cueto is 4th in ERA in the National League and only trails R.A. Dickey in WAR among N.L. pitchers. Cueto has the top ERA in the National League over the past two seasons and deserved to go over Jonathan Papelbon or Lance Lynn.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10
Zack Greinke, Brewers
The other big name N.L. pitching snub and from my projected roster last week I had a feeling this was going to happen. Greinke is 3rd in WAR behind Dickey and Cueto, but isn’t in the top 10 in either ERA or WHIP. Looking deeper into the numbers though shows that Greinke has been great with an xFIP 2.72 and is top ten in K/9. If the players didn’t vote in Lynn, he still would’ve been snubbed by Cueto.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 7 of 10
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Phillips has a case that he should be going to Kansas City, not just for his offensive numbers, but for being one of the top defensive players in the game. Dan Uggla got the fan vote, while Jose Altuve was a well-deserving All-Star from the Astros. Aaron Hill also has a case over Phillips, but still has a chance in the Final Vote. Phillips got squeezed in a deeper than you think National League second base pool.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10
Jed Lowrie, Astros
Lowrie’s case is tied into his better power numbers than other N.L. shortstops as he leads them in home runs and OPS. Ian Desmond goes to K.C. over Lowrie as a 3rd shortstop. Hard to make a case to have to Astros on the team. I can’t believe that Desmond went as a 3rd SS over this next player as a utility player.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10
Martin Prado, Braves
Why take Desmond who can only play one position over a guy who is versatile and has played the outfield, third base, second base, and first base over his career. He’s definitely more worthy than actual backup first baseman Brian LaHair. Prado is top ten in batting average, hits, and position player WAR in the National League.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10
Tyler Clippard, Nationals
Player A: 34.1 IP, 39K, 1.83 ERA, 0.90 WHIP Player B: 29.2 IP, 37K, 3.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP Want to take a guess on who is who? Player A is Tyler Clippard who has been the go-to guy in the bullpen for the Nats with the absence of Drew Storen, the implosion of Henry Rodriguez, and the expulsion of Brad Lidge. Player B is Jonathan Papelbon who is going to Kansas City over Clippard. It’s not Clippard’s fault that he wasn’t the closer for the saves the entire season. The first-place Nationals have three All-Stars, while the last-place Phillies also have three All-Stars. Makes no sense to me either.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
I understand the picks of Matt Wieters for his defense and Joe Mauer for his offense at American League catcher, but Pierzynski is having the best overall year of any catcher in the A.L. Pierzynski knows he’s unliked and that it played a factor into him not making it. If only the fans hadn’t voted in Mike Napoli he might have had a chance.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 9 of 10
Josh Reddick, Athletics and Josh Willingham, Twins
I feel bad that these two get lumped together just cause of their first name, but oh well. I thought Willingham was going to be Twins lone representative over Joe Mauer. While Ryan Cook from the Athletics is deserving from the Oakland bullpen. Here’s how it should’ve played out. Pierzynski goes for Mauer, Willingham goes for Wieters, not sure why they need three catchers when two will suffice. I can’t fault Mike Trout or Mark Trumbo going to the game over either of these two or the next player on this list.
Reddick: 4 of 10
Willingham: 6 of 10
Austin Jackson, Tigers
An injury probably cost Jackson his chance on the team, but he’s been no less deserving. Jackson is top 5 in the American League in both batting average and on-base percentage. He also plays a Gold Glove center field in spacious Comerica Park. If a spot opens up, I could see Jackson being scooped up as a replacement.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 6 of 10
Jason Kipnis, Indians
Ian Kinsler has been solid this season for the Rangers, but I thought there were enough already on the squad. Kipnis has been a great power-speed combo for the Indians and I believed he would make his first appearance. The players voted Kinsler and Kipnis’ teammate Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop instead. Can’t really hate on that too much.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 4 of 10
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Encarnacion was on the ballot as a designated hitter, but he’s less of one than David Ortiz or Adam Dunn who made the team are. Encarnacion could fill-in at third base or first base. His credentials are pretty amazing too. 5th in slugging, 6th in OPS, 3rd in runs created, 5th in RBI, and 5th in home runs. That sure sounds like an All-Star to me.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10
Who were your biggest snubs for the All-Star Game? Let me know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)