With only a few days left to fill out your ballot, I’m here to help you cast your vote for the MLB All-Star Game. (Remember, now there’s something at stake! Home field advantage in the World Series! Which is an incredibly important advantage to give to the winner of an arbitrary exhibition game!)
Anyway, here’s who I’m voting for (and who you should probably vote for as well):
1B – Chris Davis – Baltimore. If you aren’t aware of the monster first half this guy is having, you probably have no business filling out a ballot.
2B – Jason Kipnis – Cleveland. He’s right there with Cano in every statistical category with the exception of stolen bases, which he leads 19-5.
SS – J.J. Hardy – Baltimore. Nobody else even merits your consideration.
3B – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit. This guy is unreal. Best player in the game right now. But it’s amazing how quickly Manny Machado has asserted himself as a star.
C – Joe Mauer – Minnesota. Salvador Perez should be the caddie, not Matt Wieters. I hope you’re listening, Jim Leyland.
DH – Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto. Why is this a category? Ridiculous. If you have to “play” a true DH, then EE is your guy, I guess.
OF – Mike Trout – Anaheim; Nelson Cruz – Texas; Adam Jones – Baltimore. I also gave serious consideration to Jacoby Ellsbury.
How’s this for a lineup?
1B – Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona. Statistically, Goldschmidt deserves the nod over Joey Votto. But the “eye test” tells me Votto is one of the most gifted hitters of his generation. Still, Goldy should get the start. Allen Craig deserves honorable mention here, too.
2B – Matt Carpenter – St. Louis. I know others will make the case for Brandon Phillips here, but Carpenter is outhitting him by exactly 50 points. Plus Carpenter is 2nd in the league in runs while playing everyday at a new position.
SS – Jean Segura – Milwaukee. Tulo was on his way to an incredible start before his annual DL stint. Insert Segura, the absolute catalyst for the Brew Crew this year.
3B – David Wright – New York. In addition to carrying the sentimental vote, Wright has simply outclassed the competition so far this season.
C – Yadier Molina – St. Louis. I’ll grant you that Buster Posey hits more HRs than Yadi. Otherwise, the heart and soul of the Cardinals can do everything Posey can do…only better. Always the premiere defensive backstop in the league, Molina is now vying for a batting title in his prime.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado; Carlos Beltran – St. Louis; Dominic Brown – Philadelphia. A case could be made for Michael Cuddyer, too. It looks like Harper will get the nod over Brown (not that it’s even close). But in a perfect world, Brown’s torrid first half would merit the start. Expect Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce to be there, too.
Here’s the NL Lineup:
Not quite as intimidating as the AL squad, but fearsome nonetheless.
All-Star voting ends this weekend.
Who are your pitchers?
Not even a mention of Freddie Freeman at first base? He’s second or third in average, OBP, slugging, and OBPS for NL first basemen, right there with Votto and Goldschmidt. And he missed about a dozen games with an oblique injury. Give him another 50 ABs and his numbers are almost identical to Votto and Goldschmidt.
If Freeman hadn’t missed time with injury, you might be able to put him in the discussion. But these other guys are beasts. I think FF has a ways to go to be in the same class as Votto and Goldy.
I didn’t list pitchers because that’s always the manager’s decision. However, I’m hoping either Adam Wainwright or Jordan Zimmerman draws the start for the NL, even though Met fans will lobby for Harvey. I really hope Jeff Locke (PIT) makes the squad. In the AL, Scherzer is a slam dunk. Verlander’s having a down year, so the only other guy I think you could make a case for is Darvish.