With the all-star teams coming out today, I thought I’d select my own teams. I will be using WAR (as usual), regressing defensive values and giving tiebreakers to the player with the better track record. Here are my picks per position for the National League, with starters indicated by an asterisk*.
C – Carlos Ruiz*, Yadier Molina, A.J. Ellis
With a major push of votes in San Francisco, Buster Posey led the entire National League in votes, despite being the fourth or fifth best catcher in the league. Ruiz has blown everyone away with his offensive surge, while Molina has continued his offensive improvement. A.J. Ellis and his .413 OBP was snubbed out of a spot.
1B – Joey Votto*, Paul Goldschmidt
The easiest position to choose, Votto has been the best hitter in the league, also getting the start in the real game. Bryan LaHair got the back-up spot, but there are a lot of similar players to choose for that spot.
2B – Aaron Hill*, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips
With a late surge, including two cycles the past two weeks, Hill gets the starting nod at second, though he is on the final vote. Uggla’s recent fade dropped him on my list, though he will be starting the actual game. Phillips just beat out Jose Altuve, who is the lone Astros representative for the game.
SS – Jed Lowrie*, Starlin Castro, Ian Desmond
Rafael Furcal gets the start for the NL, but Lowrie has been a very underrated hitter so far, hitting .261/.347/.486, finally staying healthy. Castro and Desmond are also the two reserves on the actual squad.
3B – David Wright*, Chase Headley
Much like Posey, Pablo Sandoval got a late push to take the starting spot, even though he’s only played in 44 games so far. Wright has been tremendous, posting over 4 WAR so far. Headley has flown way under the radar, posting a 3 WAR season in offense-killing San Diego.
OF – Ryan Braun*, Andrew McCutchen*, Michael Bourn*, Melky Cabrera*, Martin Prado, Matt Holliday, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Beltran
Cabrera, Beltran, and Matt Kemp were picked as the starters of a ridiculously deep group of NL outfielders. I have four starters listed, with Melky playing in the OF while Braun DH’s. Stanton is the lone Marlins representative, while Prado gets unjustly overlooked, able to be the utility guy at worst. Bourn is in the final vote, while McCutchen and Braun are reserves. Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez made the real NL team.
SP – R.A. Dickey*, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels
Amazingly, neither Greinke or Cueto make this year’s team, despite being my #2 and 3 pitchers. In their place, Lance Lynn and Wade Miley get their first invites. I don’t think the AL wants to face any of these guys.
RP – Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Matt Belisle, Tyler Clippard
Kimbrel and Chapman made the actual team, joined by Jonathan Papelbon, Joel Hanrahan, and lone SD rep Huston Street. Belisle has been great in the setup role in Colorado the past three seasons, posting great K/BB ratios in a hitter’s paradise. Clippard has taken over as the Nationals closer, striking out a ton of hitters and keeping the ball in the park.
Final Vote – Andre Ethier, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Heyward, Josh Johnson, James McDonald
The actual vote is Bourn, Chipper Jones, David Freese, Hill, and Bryce Harper. Bourn has been the best player of the bunch, with Hill also deserving a spot. It’s a possible courtesy call for Chipper, being in his last season. October hero Freese has been okay, but not great so far, while the Harper hype machine has a very good chance of winning the vote.
American League Team
C – Joe Mauer*, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
1B – Paul Konerko*
2B – Robinson Cano*, Jason Kipnis, Ben Zobrist
SS – Asdrubal Cabrera*, Elvis Andrus
3B – Miguel Cabrera*, Adrian Beltre, Mike Moustakas
OF – Josh Hamilton*, Mike Trout*, Austin Jackson*, Adam Jones, Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Shin-Soo Choo
DH – David Ortiz*, Edwin Encarnacion
SP – Justin Verlander*, Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, Matt Harrison, Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Jason Hammel
RP – Joe Nathan, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop
Final Vote – Brett Lawrie, Mark Trumbo, Ian Kinsler, David Price, C.J. Wilson
Here are my hypothetical lineups.
I would take either one of those lineups any day.