ST11’s All Star Selections
July 22nd, 2012 is when the 83rd Major League Baseball All Star Game will be held at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. While the first time All Stars to 15 time All Stars receive the honor to represent their respective leagues, the Midsummer Classic is not just another game that will be all fun and games. Yes, these players deserve to enjoy their All Star honors (rightfully so), but what’s at stake will be more important to some than others.
Since the 2003 All Star Game, the winning league receives home field advantage in the World Series. Gaining home field advantage will be very important for any team playing in the World Series, so each league will need to consist of the most deserving players based on this season’s production.
Today, MLB.com released the early results for the 2012 All Star voting:
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 1,027,070
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 697,602
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 671,430
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 618,226
Albert Pujols, Angels: 478,020
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 1,447,171
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 1,164,448
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 699,422
Robert Andino, Orioles: 317,434
Chris Getz, Royals: 278,585
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 1,179,864
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 886,365
Evan Longoria, Rays: 789,434
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 657,315
Mike Moustakas, Royals: 432,379
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 1,224,565
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 713,469
Joe Mauer, Twins: 637,364
Russell Martin, Yankees: 431,435
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: 424,646
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 1,204,904
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,049,170
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: 492,183
Billy Butler, Royals: 477,257
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 391,131
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 2,587,991
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 1,406,128
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 992,992
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 930,814
Adam Jones, Orioles: 857,543
David Murphy, Rangers: 652,379
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 624,215
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 437,126
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 433,899
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 422,304
Austin Jackson, Tigers: 389,664
Nick Markakis, Orioles: 384,390
Alex Gordon, Royals: 378,459
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 346,774
B.J. Upton, Rays: 277,173
Joey Votto, Reds: 1,314,516
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 634,473
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 576,255
Bryan LaHair, Cubs: 391,497
Adam LaRoche, Nationals: 331,772
Dan Uggla, Braves: 872,136
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 586,835
Omar Infante, Marlins: 512,049
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 512,021
Jose Altuve, Astros: 472,292
David Wright, Mets: 856,887
David Freese, Cardinals: 824,801
Chipper Jones, Braves: 727,719
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 648,303
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers: 386,013
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 823,708
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: 803,254
Starlin Castro, Cubs: 526,811
Jose Reyes, Marlins: 425,682
Alex Gonzalez, Brewers: 399,218
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,100,048
Buster Posey, Giants: 1,072,464
Brian McCann, Braves: 707,508
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 562,021
Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 457,590
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 1,952,910
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 1,212,030
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 1,112,971
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 827,262
Melky Cabrera, Giants: 714,642
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 667,544
Jason Heyward, Braves: 515,340
Michael Bourn, Braves: 498,070
Jay Bruce, Reds: 460,853
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 457,223
Hunter Pence, Phillies: 446,460
Corey Hart, Brewers: 417,929
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 386,860
Jon Jay, Cardinals: 373,833
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 373,034
Many of the leading vote-getters have been the best at their respective positions and some of these players have not been. Here ST11 will provide his opinion on who should be starting in the All Star Game and who he thinks the fans will vote for.
ST11’s All Star Starting Lineup
Chicago White Sox 1B Paul Konerko
Admittedly, I am a fan of the White Sox, but me being a fan has nothing to do with this pick. The White Sox Captain is a big reason that the White Sox are currently 8 games above .500 and hold a 2.5 game lead in the AL Central in front of the Cleveland Indians. In a season where the White Sox were supposed to be “rebuilding” and not to come close to contending for a playoff spot, Konerko has helped the White Sox emerge as early season contenders for the World Series.
Of course, these rosters will be made up of players who are voted in by the fans. While I may disagree with this method, this game is played for the fans, so why shouldn’t they be able to vote? If the average baseball fan voted for the most deserving players, instead of voting for “fan favorites,” then there would not be as much controversy surrounding the Midsummer Classic. Based on the numbers MLB.com has provided, I will have to predict that Detroit Tiger’s newly acquired 1B Prince Fielder will be the 2012 American League All Star. Based on the number of votes listed above, Fielder holds a 329,468 vote lead on 2nd place Yankees 1B Mark Texeira and a 355,640 vote lead on Konerko. Fielder is receiving many votes from Tiger fans as well as his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Texeira plays for the Yankees, that is all that needs to be stated.
Check out these stats entering June 5th, 2012:
50 GP .366 Batting Average 67 Hits 31 Runs 24 xHits 11 HRs 33 RBIs 23 BBs 1.062 OPS
54 GP .319 Batting Average 66 Hits 31 Runs 22 xHits 9 HRs 35 RBIs 21 BBs .899 OPS
50 GP .253 Batting Average 48 Hits 27 Runs 21 xHits 9 HRs 32 RBIs 19 BBs .777 OPS
Cleveland Indians 2B Jason Kipnis
Second basemen are not usually known for putting up great offensive numbers throughout the history of the MLB, but the past three to four years these top 3 vote-getters have put up ridiculous offensive numbers. Surprisingly, their production is as close as always, but not for the same reasons.
Texas Rangers’ Ian Kinsler, Yankees’ Robinson Cano and the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia are not having the same kind of season that most of us are accustomed to seeing. Nonetheless, all three of these second basemen are still putting up respectable numbers, but I will give the edge to Robinson Cano. Cano is arguably the best fielding 2B out of these three and maybe in the MLB. The slick fielding Cano is much more than a glove, his power numbers is what makes him stand out amongst the three. Don’t count out Kinsler or Pedroia though, both of these players are great players as well.
Kinsler currently holds a 282,723 vote lead on Cano and a 747,749 vote lead on Pedroia. Kinsler’s lead on Pedroia may be enough to hold off the 2008 AL MVP, but the lead on Cano may not be quite enough to hold off the Yankees slugging second baseman. Los TeBros knows not to underestimate the power of the Yankee fans. Honestly, I do believe Ranger fans will vote enough for Kinsler to maintain the starting second baseman honors. Wow, a New York Yankee on the wrong side of fan favorite voting! Who would’ve thought? Lol
I completely understand that Indians’ fans feel that Jason Kipnis should be starting. He’s certainly made a case for it, but it’s terrible that Kipnis doesn’t rank in the Top 5 voting for AL second baseman. I mean, Robert Andino and Chris Getz have more votes than Kipnis. Really, Bro? The Arizona State product deserves as many votes as the “elite” second baseman, if not more. I’m not sure people are noticing the kind of numbers Kipnis is putting up. He may not be up to par with the other second baseman in the extra base hit department, but Kipnis’ production should not be overlooked. He’s driven more runs and has stolen more bases than those “elite” second basemen thus far. In conclusion, the starting second base position should be between Kipnis and Cano.
2012 Statistics entering June 5th:
53 GP .280 Batting Average 60 Hits 38 Runs 16 xHits 9 HR 34 RBIs 13 SBs .792 OPS
53 GP .284 Batting Average 60 Hits 36 Runs 28 xHits 8 HRs 24 RBIs 1 SB .840 OPS
53 GP .274 Batting Average 63 Hits 43 Runs 27 xHits 6 HRs 24 RBIs 7 SBs .797 OPS
48 GP .295 Batting Average 59 Hits 30 Runs 20 xHits 5 HRs 21 RBIs 3 SBs .800 OPS
Detroit Tiger 3B Miguel Cabrera
There’s no question that Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera is in the lineup for his bat and his bat only. Cabrera is a designated hitter doing a serviceable job at 3B. Third base was actually the position Cabrera was playing when he came up to the big leagues as a young 20 year old for the Florida (Now known as Miami) Marlins. As several years have passed, Cabrera has now put on weight to make him a somewhat immobile third baseman. Again, Cabrera is my choice for starting third baseman because of his bat.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Where to begin?!? The power of Rangers fans have completely been in charge of this season’s All Star ballots. Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre has a surprisingly high lead on Cabrera (292,499 votes). Like the two previous cases, Beltre’s lead will most likely sustain a charge by Cabrera fans.
Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Moustakas are amongst the top 5 leading vote-getters and yet there is NO Mark TrumBro. TrumBro took over at first baseball and had a terrific rookie campaign slugging 29 homeruns and driving in 87 RBIs in the absence of Kendrys Morales. With Morales back and the acquisition of Albert Pujols, TrumBro was then moved to third base. For some reason, Manager Mike Scioscia did not allow TrumBro play every day. TrumBro is now able to play every day and it is now paying off for the Halos who have been patient. Technically, Trumbo is still eligible for the starting 3B in the MLB Star Game. His numbers hold their own up against the rest of the 3rd base candidates.
Before the hamstring injury that landed Rays star 3rd baseman Even Longoria onto the Disabled List since May 1st, he was having himself a nice start to the 2012 season. While his first month numbers are impressive, a third place in voting seems too high for a player who has played too little. Keep in mind that a player like Mark TrumBro does not rank into the Top 5 and Top 15 vote-getters at 1st base and in the outfield.
Statistics Entering June 6th:
55 GP .321 Batting Average 72 Hits 31 Runs 27 xHits 11 HRs 45 RBIs 18 BBs .913 OPS
48 GP .337 Batting Average 59 Hits 25 Runs 27 xHits 12 HRs 31 RBIs 13 BBs 1.016 OPS
52 GP .307 Batting Average 62 Hits 29 Runs 22 xHits 10 HRs 35 RBIs 9 BBs .848 OPS
Evan Longoria (On the DL since May 1st)
22 GP .329 Batting Average 27 Hits 15 Runs 11 xHits 4 HRs 19 RBIs 15 BBs .994 OPS
New York Yankees SS Derek Jeter
Surprised? Nobody should be surprised with this selection. Well I guess it’s surprising that I actually agree with the fans on this one. It’s not that I am against fan favorites; I just do not allow their status to affect my decisions. The Yankees Captain is the leading vote-getter at SS and he has deserved it this season. Has he ever been voted as an All Star starter in the past when another player deserves it more? Sure, but not this season. Jeter has surpassed almost all expectations from a 37 year old SS, except his own of course. His range at SS has largely decreased over the years, but his age has not slowed his bat down.
Now to a SS who has arguably the most range in the American League, if not the MLB. The Texas Rangers’ SS Elvis Andrus is better known as a great fielder than hitter, but Andrus has definitely taken advantage of having a team full of All Stars around him. Honestly, Baltimore Oriole’s SS J.J. Hardy has been just as Andrus on a team with not as much known talent as Texas. Hardy is also a great defensive SS. His .992 Fielding Percentage tops both Jeter’s .984 and Andrus’ .970 percentages. He’s also hammered more HRs than Jeter and Andrus combined. Where Andrus and Jeter have Hardy beat is the batting average. Jeter’s average is .059 points higher than Hardy’s average and Andrus’ average is .039 points higher than Hardy’s. Jeter has held his own in the power department, so his batting average helps him top Hardy, but does Andrus’ batting average, OBP and runs top Hardy’s 10 HRs? Yes. Hardy’s HRs are far superior than Andrus’ HR total, but Andrus surprisingly has more RBIs than Hardy. Throw in the fact that Andrus has gotten on base more than Hardy (hits, walks, HBP, etc.).
In the voting, Jeter has an insurmountable lead on both Andrus and Hardy. Andrus, himself, has a commanding lead on 3rd place Hardy.
Statistics Entering June 7th:
54 GP .323 Batting Average 75 Hits 30 Runs 16 xHits 6 HRs 20 RBIs 5 SBs .814 OPS
55 GP .303 Batting Average 66 Hits 35 Runs 18 xHits 1 HRs 27 RBIs 9 SBs .791 OPS
54 GP .264 Batting Average 61 Hits 29 Runs 22 xHits 10 HRs 25 RBIs 0 SBs .770 OPS
Chicago White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski
Again, this decision has nothing to do with the team I root for. Pierzynski has just been the best catcher in the American League thus far. Baseball has evolved and the expectations for catchers have increased as catchers are now expected to be great behind the plate and hold their own at the plate. Pierzynski is not the most popular player, he may even be the least liked player in the MLB, but one cannot ignore the kind of numbers Pierzynski has produced: Highest batting average, most RBIs, 2nd in hits, and 2nd in HRs amongst AL catchers.
The theme of Texas Rangers leading vote-getters continues. Mike Napoli currently holds a commanding lead. This lead will definitely solidify him as the 2012 AL starting catcher, barring injury. Napoli is tied with Pierzynski is HRs, but that is like the only category that he is close in. Oriole’s former top prospect Matt Wieters is currently in second place in the voting with Head and Shoulders spokesman Joe Mauer is third. New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin even has more votes than Pierzynski. Really, Bro?
Statistics Entering June 7th:
49 GP .303 Batting Average 54 Hits 28 Runs 19 xHits 10 HRs 37 RBIs 13 BBs .886 OPS
51 GP .264 Batting Average 43 Hits 29 Runs 15 xHits 10 HRs 28 RBIs 23 BBs .859 OPS
52 GP .298 Batting Average 57 Hits 31 Runs 16 xHits 3 HRs 25 RBIs 34 BBs .826 OPS
51 GP .246 Batting Average 45 Hits 26 Runs 18 xHits 9 HRs 25 RBIs 20 BBs .780 OPS
Toronto Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion
Has Encarnacion been the biggest surprise in the American League this season? Maybe, we’ll get to that later. In 54 games this season, he has already tied the amount of HRs he hit all of last season in 134 games. His bat has been a pleasant surprise for Blue Jays fans everywhere, but they will not be too pleased with Encarnacion being 5th place in the DH voting.
While Encarnacion is out there raking up North, one cannot overlook what Big Papi has been doing for the Red Sox. David Ortiz is having himself a nice season. He’s putting up All Star numbers, but I do feel that Encarnacion’s numbers have his numbers beat. Ortiz has a higher batting average, but Encarnacion has more HRs and RBIs.
Texas fan favorite, Michael Young, is currently in second place and is having a “down” year for Michael Young standards. Young, who has been one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball the last decade, is currently hitting under .300. Something that is rare for us to see. There is still a lot of season left, so Young can reach his usual .300 average. As of right now, Young is not deserving of an All Star roster spot as a DH this season. Hit numbers aren’t bad, but his numbers aren’t what you’d look for/want from a DH.
Raul Ibanez is in 3rd place and is having a productive season with limited playing time, but most of the votes is because of the fact he plays for the Yankees. A player I’d like to see make the roster would be Kansas City DH Billy Butler. Butler has had a productive season and it would be great to see him play in front of his home crowd. Butler has carried the Royal’s offense on his back. While young studs Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer (both on my Fantasy Team) have underperformed (understatement), Butler has been the main source of offense.
Lastly, time to talk about Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn? That’s right. The Big Donkey looks like his old self at the plate and is back to hitting HRs. After his terrible terrible 2011 season, many people thought he was “done.” Pun intended. This season, his batting average is low, but it’s definitely much higher than his average last season. He has already surpassed his 2011 HR total and is only 3 RBIs away from tying his 2011 total. His 18 HRs is second in all of baseball and that is something to note. Is Dunn’s production the biggest surprise in the AL? I say “NO.” I really cannot explain what happened to him last season, but he’s back and that’s all the Chicago White Sox care about. Dunn’s biggest improvement is his pitch selection. Yes, he’s struck out too many times, but he’s also walked an eye popping 47 times.
Statistics Entering June 7th:
54 GP .279 Batting Average 57 Hits 30 Runs 27 xHits 17 HRs 43 RBIs 20 BB .926 OPS
56 GP .310 Batting Average 65 Hits 38 Runs 31 xHits 13 HRs 37 RBIs 28 BB .970 OPS
56 GP .219 Batting Average 43 Hits 34 Runs 28 xHits 18 HRs 39 RBIs 47 BB .917 OPS
55 GP .296 Batting Average 63 Hits 23 Runs 23 xHits 11 HRs 35 RBIs 15 BBs .862 OPS
45 GP .250 Batting Average 38 Hits 18 Runs 19 xHits 9 HRs 29 RBIs 11 BBs .805 OPS
55 GP .288 Batting Average 66 Hits 25 Runs 14 xHits 3 HRs 24 RBIs 9 BBs .694 OPS
Texas Rangers OF Josh Hamilton
Baltimore Oriole’s OF Adam Jones
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1B, 3B, OF Mark TrumBro
Hamilton and Jones both play CF for their respected clubs, but this shouldn’t be a problem for the All Star Game. I don’t think I need to plead my case for these two players, but some people may have a problem with Trumbro starting over Granderson and Nelson Cruz. While some scratch their heards, I know that there isn’t a fan who thinks that Hamilton, the AL MVP favorite thus far, should not start. So far, Hamilton’s 2,587,991 votes (Most votes in the MLB), solidifies his starting spot. His starting spot isn’t the only outfield position that is a lock. Curtis Granderson has well over one million votes and he will continue to receive votes from the Yankees faithful. To me, Adam Jones should be a lock to start as well, but he currently ranks 5th in the voting so far. I will go out and say that Jones should have more votes than Granderson.
Nelson Cruz ranks third in the voting. Really, Bro? Nothing against Cruz, but how does he deserve to start or even make the All Star roster? Unless Cruz borrows Josh Hamilton’s bat or hits like he did in the 2011 ALCS, I don’t see him putting up All Star numbers at the Midsummer Classic. I do see that he’s driven in an impressive amount of runs, but nothing else stands out. Jose Bautista is currently about 60,000 votes behind Cruz and I do not have a problem with him starting because he has put up respectable power numbers that pushes his numbers higher than Cruz’s.
Going out on a limb, Alejandro De Aza and Mike Trout deserve some recognition because they’ve out up All Star numbers. Though it will not happen, De Aza and Trout’s numbers are arguably better than Bautista and Cruz’s numbers. De Aza is a Top 10 outfielder in Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball Rankings and the 4th ranked AL outfielder. Trout barely ranks outside the Top 10, but ranks higher than Baustista and definitely higher than Cruz, who is the 29th best outfielder.
Let’s not forget about Mark TrumBro. Mr. Versatility can play 1st base, 3rd base and has played 31 games in the outfield. If he’s not going to start at 3rd, why can’t he start in the outfield? His production has been such a pleasant surprise that I’m writing about him in two different positions. If he does not find a starting spot or if he’s not voted in by the fans, then I hope he’s picked by the Managers.
Statistics entering June 11th:
57 GP .338 Avg. 75 Hits 42 Runs 36 xHits 22 HRs 61 RBIs 25 BBs 6 SBs 1.097 OPS
60 GP .300 Avg. 73 Hits 42 Runs 29 xHits 17 HRs 37 RBIs 13 BBs 9 SBs .913 OPS
52 GP .326 Avg. 62 Hits 28 Runs 29 xHits 14 HRs 39 RBIs 16 BBs 4 SBs 1.011 OPS
59 GP .351 Avg. 58 Hits 43 Runs 26 xHits 18 HRs 34 RBIs 32 BBs 3 SBs .869 OPS
Alejandro De Aza
59 GP .307 Avg. 71 Hits 43 Runs 17 xHits 4 HRs 27 RBIs 27 BBs 13 SBs .814 OPS
39 GP .350 Avg. 55 Hits 33 Runs 18 xHits 5 HRs 24 RBIs 15 BBs 13 SBs .955 OPS
60 GP .230 Avg. 51 Hits 38 Runs 24 xHits 17 HRs 44 RBIs 35 BBs 3 SBs .828 OPS
60 GP .261 Avg. 60 Hits 34 Runs 23 xHits 8 HRs 36 RBIs 16 BBs 4 SBs .745 OPS
Chicago White Sox SP Chris Sale
The most dominant pitcher in the American League thus far is…. Justin Verlander, right? How can it not be the 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP winner? I will do my bet to show you how this long and lean frame 2010 1st round pick deserves to start in the All Star Game. The 6’6 180 lbs. LHP is the number one fantasy pitcher as of right now. While he hasn’t pitched as many innings or struck out as many batters as Verlander, Sale has held his own on the mound. His 9.2 strike out per nine innings is slightly higher than Verlander’s 9.1. that stat doesn’t really say much, but the fact that Sale has yet to allow more than 3 earned runs in any of his 11 starts so far. You can take that even further and say that Sale has yet to allow more than 3 runs, earned or unearned, in general. Though only through 11 starts, yet it is still impressive for someone who is starting for the first time in the MLB after coming out of the bullpen the past one and a half seasons.
The Rangers haven’t been winning at the same pace that they were in the beginning of the season. I know you cannot point the finger at one specific thing, but you can ponder what the Rangers pitching staff would look like if they still had C.J. Wilson. Yu Darvish, the phenom from Japan, is in his first season pitching against MLB hitters and will need time to adjust. I was never really sold on Derek Holland being their “ace.” I was surprised that Nolan Ryan and company allowed Wilson to sign with division rival the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. There was some “beef” between Wilson and some of the other Rangers players, Mike Napoli in particular, but there is no question the Rangers are missing this 7 game winner who 15+ games for them the past two seasons. Brandon has put up and impressive Sub-3.00 ERA despite being somewhat inconsistent. Blue Jays fans don’t know which Morrow they will get from start to start. One game Morrow will look unhittable, his Major League leading three shutouts are a result from this, and then he’ll allow 6 earned runs which has happened in three separate starts. In a game which he only recorded two outs in the first inning, he still managed to allow 6 earned runs against the Texas Rangers.
Statistics entering June 11th:
11 GS 74.2 Innings Pitched 8 Wins 2 Losses 76 Ks 18 BBs 2.05 ERA 0.92 WHIP 4.22 K/BB
13 GS 93.2 Innings Pitched 5 Wins 4 Losses 95 Ks 23 BBs 2.69 ERA 1.00 WHIP 4.13 K/BB
13 GS 79.0 Innings Pitched 7 Wins 4 Losses 73 Ks 33 BBs 2.39 ERA 1.09 WHIP 2.21 K/BB
12 GS 77.2 Innings Pitched 7 Wins 3 Losses 67 Ks 24 BBs 2.90 ERA 0.99 WHIP 2.79 K/BB
Jered Weaver [Injury Note 15-day DL as of May 29, 2012 (Strained lower back)]
11 GS 69.0 Innings Pitched 6 Wins 1 Loss 57 Ks 15 BBs 2.61 ERA 0.93 WHIP 3.80 K/BB
12 GS 82.2 Innings Pitched 6 Wins 1 Loss 72 Ks 20 BBs 3.05 ERA 0.97 WHIP 3.60 K/BB
*These are ST11’s choices for the American League starting lineups! Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments section. We’d love to read your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. Also, tell us your starting line ups. I will be working on my NL All Star Starters soon.