We’re a little over a month into the MLB regular season, and the Twins are still leading the AL Central (for now). In other shocking news, you can already submit your ballot for the MLB All-Star Game, scheduled for July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.
So why wait for the numbers to gravitate back towards the mean? Let’s make some knee-jerk reactions and send the (heretofore) most deserving players to the All-Star Game. Let me reiterate that: the most deserving. I’m not voting for names here, I’m voting for numbers.
I have selected my starting lineup for both the American and National Leagues, and set the odds that each player will actually get the nod from fans to start the Midsummer Classic. Prepare yourself for a lot of new names, and a lot fewer Cubs.
Feel free to share your thoughts, and let me know the biggest snub from my list.
With opponents running all over Salvador Perez (16 stolen bases allowed), I’m siding with McCann here. He has similar offensive numbers and has been a much better defender.
Alonso has more RBIs than any other first-baseman in the AL (17) and is hitting .307 at the plate. His defense hasn’t been phenomenal, but average is good enough when paired with his offensive numbers.
Unfortunately, Alonso has to battle the much more popular Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, and last year’s starter, Eric Hosmer. He’s not going to win the popularity contest playing for the small-market A’s.
Cano leads all AL second-basemen in RBIs (21) and he’s been outstanding defensively for the Mariners. Though he may not be in the biggest market, Cano is a big enough name to grab headlines.
Though Evan Longoria and Manny Machado haven’t been nearly as good as Sano this season, they are both much bigger names in the baseball world. Sano’s odds will also take a hit if Josh Donaldson produces upon his return, since he has the support of the majority of Canada.
Lindor has more home runs (seven) and RBIs (17) than Xander Bogaerts, all while playing better defense than last year’s starting shortstop. Yet, Bogaerts, and even Didi Gregorius, will receive a lot of fan votes from the massive Boston and New York markets.
Garcia is hitting .370 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Only two outfielders — both of whom are listed below — can match those numbers. He also has the highest range factor among all right fielders (2.36). But he plays for the White Sox, so his odds are relatively long.
Trout excels in every aspect of the game and plays in a huge market. Only injury could prevent him from being named an AL starter.
Mark my words: Judge will win AL Rookie of the Year. He’s making a strong case for MVP, as well, in the early going. No player has ever hit more home runs (13) through the first 25 games of their rookie season.
Albert Pujols (three homers, 23 RBIs) continues to defy Father Time for the Angels, but Nelson Cruz’s seven home runs and 25 RBIs make him the easy choice.
Santana’s 2017 has been nothing short of incredible. The 34-year-old owns the MLB’s lowest ERA (0.66), WHIP (0.71), and opponent batting average (.120). His career averages suggest he’s about to get beat up real bad. But, as of this moment, he’s the easy choice to take the mound.
This was the toughest position to vote on, as there are very good arguments for JT Realmuto (Marlins), Matt Wieters (Nationals), Yadier Molina (Cardinals), and even a couple more. But Posey’s .346 batting average paired with his ability to control base-runners stand out the most to me.
Zimmerman is enjoying an unbelievable start to the 2017 season, averaging .427 at the plate while driving in an MLB-leading 30 runs for the NL East-leading Nationals. Some fans may have a soft spot for the great story that has been Eric Thames, who has matched Zimmerman’s 11 home runs in his first year back in the majors. But the Brewer is averaging a measly .326.
Only fellow National Ryan Zimmerman has more RBIs this season, and no other second-baseman has a better average at the plate than Murphy (.333). Add in a .983 fielding-percentage and you’ve got the makings of an All-Star.
Arenado’s seven home runs, .299 batting average, and flawless fielding result in him getting the nod at 3B in my books. This will be a heated race, though, as Arenado has to fend off Kris Bryant, Jake Lamb, and Justin Turner.
He leads all shortstops in RBIs (21), and has been a weapon when he gets on base, too, recording eight stolen bases. His poor defense (six errors) has Diamondback skipper Torey Lovullo moving him around the field. Nonetheless, no other NL shortstop has been as valuable to his team this season.
His fellow players voted him into last year’s All-Star Game, but with the season he’s having, Ozuna deserves to start for the NL this year. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance his market holds him back again.
Blackmon’s 25 RBIs and coverage in centerfield are major factors in the Rockies leading the NL West.
Not only is Harper one of the most marketable names in baseball, but his dominance at the plate has returned, too. Harper only trails teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy in RBIs (27), and he’s averaging a healthy .388, as well.
Leake owns the NL’s lowest ERA (1.35) and has yet to give up a home run this season. Knowing the Cardinal has to keep this pace to hold off Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer dampens his odds quite a bit.
Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila (Flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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