As we reach the home-stretch for All-Star Game voting, I wanted to add my 2 cents to the conversation. As you know, the All-Star game starters are not always the players with the best stats or who have had the greatest impact on their team, but rather fan favorites and marquee names in the game of baseball. When selecting my all-stars, I decided to break the roster into manageable pieces beginning with the position player starters. Check back daily for my All-Star Game pitching and reserve selections.
Disclaimers: For my purposes, I broke the roster up assuming the AL would carry 20 position players and 13 pitchers, like it was done last year. I also accounted for each team needing at least one player on the roster.
C Victor Martinez, BOS
This is the first year in a while that Joe Mauer was not my selection for the AL catching slot, but after the first month of the season passed, there has been no better offensive catching threat than Victor Martinez. His batting average sits at .289 on the season which is behind Mauer’s .302, but V-Mart has powered 9 homeruns and 38 rbis and has settled in as the everyday catcher for the Red Sox (until his recent injury). Mauer will likely get the nod, but V-Mart deserves a serious look from voters.
1B Justin Morneau, MIN
For several years, Justin Morneau has been the quiet assassin in the Minnesota Twins lineup. He is a reserved personality for the most part and just consistently hits for average and has tremendous power. So far in 2010, Morneau is hitting .347 with 15 home runs and 50 rbis and is my far and away selection for the starting first baseman spot. His calm demeanor and leadership make him an all-around great player who is having an incredible season.
2B Robinson Cano, NYY
The 2B race may be one of the closest to call in my mind, but Cano edges out Dustin Pedroia for the spot. Cano has had an outstanding year, hitting .359 to lead all of baseball. With many Yankee hitters going through slumps at various times this year, Cano has held the lineup together and driven in 53 runs and belted 15 home runs while playing in all 76 games so far for the Yankees. Cano has always been a special player, but is finally starting to show his full potential.
3B Adrian Beltre, BOS
There are many worthy third basemen in the majors this year, but my choice is clear. Beltre has a batting average of .349 and has jacked 12 home runs and driven in 52. After an adjustment period in Boston, Beltre has been as consistent as any player in the game and only continues to climb his average with each passing week. It is tough to argue with a season slugging percentage of .561 for the talented slugger.
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
Every year, Derek Jeter is the favorite to start at short for the AL almost regardless of his numbers. This year, his numbers back up his probable selection. Jeter has hit .284 with 8 home runs and 39 rbis for the Yankees so far and has been a catalyst for many comebacks and big scoring innings. Now in his mid-30’s, Jeter has had more at-bats than any other player in the league this year and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
Josh Hamilton burst onto the scene in 2008 with 32 home runs and after a down 2009 season, he is back to crushing the ball at will. So far this season, Hamilton has 18 home runs and is hitting at a .343 clip, .041 points higher than his career average. The Rangers are having a surprisingly strong 2010 campaign; including leading the league in batting average and much of the credit should go to the big slugger. His .613 slugging percentage is good for 2nd among everyday players.
OF Brennan Boesch, DET
Brennan Boesch is a name that no one had heard of before 2 months ago and still is a mystery to many. This young kid has been absolutely killing the ball since making his major league debut and currently sits with a .333 average and 12 home runs in just 55 games played. Over that span, Boesch has driven in an unfathomable 45 runs and 30 of his 69 hits have been for extra bases (12 doubles, 3 triples). This young outfielder has a bright future and deserves to be a starter in this year’s All-Star game.
OF Carl Crawford, TAM
The final outfielder starting spot for me was a real challenge. Hamilton and Boesch were definite in my mind, but there are about 5 other deserving players with closely aligned stats and impact on their team. Ultimately, I chose Carl Crawford because of his incredible balance this year at the plate. He has hit .315 thus far with 7 home runs and 38 rbis. Crawford has also stolen 27 bases in 35 attempts and walked 28 times. When you add in Crawford’s 6 triples, his impact on the Rays is incredible.
DH Vladimir Guerrero, TEX
Guerrero has and always will be the man who could hit any pitch, in any count, thrown anywhere, but his batting average numbers have tapered off over the last few years and his power numbers were way down in 2009. This year, Guerrero looks as if he has been struck with youth-juice and is back to hitting everything. He is hitting .330 with 16 home runs (1 more than all of last season) and appears to have found a new comfortable home in Texas. Guerrero is currently second in the league in rbis with 63.
Tags: Adrian Beltre All-Star Game Boston Red Sox Brennan Boesch Carl Crawford Derek Jeter Detroit Tigers Josh Hamilton Justin Morneau Minnesota Twins New York Yankees Robinson Cano Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Victor Martinez Vladimir Guerrero