The All-Star game is a not too far away and here is how I would like to see the American League All-Star starting positions filled. I tend to look at the All-Star game as a reward for the current season and not as a reward for an outstanding career, but I also understand that there are numerous ways to pick the team.
Catcher – 35-year-old White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is having a fantastic season hitting .288 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI and easily deserves the starting role beating out the Twins Joe Mauer. Pierzynski has better offensive numbers and has caught 60 games while Mauer has caught only 33 games while playing 29 games at 1B/DH. Mike Napoli is the vote leader at this point but he does not deserve it.
1B – Got to go with 36-year old Paul Konerko of the White Sox here. Konerko has scored 36 times, hit 13 home runs and knocked in 39 more while hitting a league leading .342. Prince Fielder is my second choice and Fielder currently leads in the voting. Chicago 1B/DH Adam Dunn has 23 long balls with 53 RBI’s but he is hitting only .215 with about a “million” strikeouts and has played 1B just sparingly so he does not cut the mustard.
2B – New York Yankee Robinson Cano gets the nod at 2B over the Indians Jason Kipnis who is also having a very nice season. Texas 2B Ian Kinsler leads in voting so far.
SS – Elvis Andrus from Texas just beats out the Yankees Derek Jeter, who currently leads in shortstop voting.
3B – An interesting position to be sure with Mark Trumbo of the Angels and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers playing third after moving over from 1B. As much as I like Cabrera as a hitter, I have to go with Mark Trumbo this season because he has slightly better offensive stats that Cabrera has put up this year. Neither are great defensive players at third base but it is what it is. The Texas Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre is the leading vote getter so far.
OF – In my mind the toughest position to pick for the American League is the outfield as there are numerous players here that are having stand out seasons but this year I go with Josh Hamilton from Texas, the Blue Jays Jose Bautista, and the Baltimore Orioles Adam Jones. A couple of rookies, the Angels Mike Trout and the A’s Josh Reddick are having great years and could be named to the team as well. The three leading vote getters at this point are Hamilton, Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Bautista.
DH – I will give the nod here to the Red Sox David Ortiz who is having a banner season on a bad Red Sox team and he currently has the most votes as the DH but Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays has been terrific this year and probably deserves to be an All-Star too.
SP – There is no one starting pitcher in the AL that stands out head and shoulders over everyone else this year but how can you go wrong by having the Tigers Justin Verlander take the mound for your team.
So that’s it, those are my American league starters in 2012 in Kansas City. The Twins will not get anyone voted in to start and I figure them to get only one player named to the team and I think that player will be outfielder Josh Willingham.
For the National League I will go with the following:
C – A tough pick for me here but I have to go with the Phillies Carlos Ruiz who is having a career year over the Giants Buster Posey the current leading vote getter. The last time I looked Ruiz was hitting .361 for God’s sake with an OPS of over a thousand.
1B – An easy pick of Joe Votto from Cincinnati and he is a run away vote leader at 1B. Adam LaRoche of the Nationals is also having a very nice season although his average is nowhere near what Votto is putting up.
2B – The leading vote getter in a close race is Dan Uggla of the Braves over Brandon Phillips of the Reds and I have to go with Uggla here but I can live wither either one.
SS – Starlin Castro who plays on a terrible Chicago Cubs team should be the starting shortstop but trails in the voting to the Cardinals Rafael Furcal.
3B – The Mets David Wright deserves to start at third base for the NL and to this point he is leading in the voting.
OF – Again not easy to pick just three here but I go with the Rockies Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun of the Brewers and the Cardinals Carlos Beltran.
SP – A little usual here but based on performance during the first half of 2012 I have to go with the Mets R.A. Dickey as my starter.