With only about two weeks to go until the MLB announces it’s preliminary All Star Game rosters, the races for the starting positions are heating up. MLB has posted the current voting totals for the American League and National League starters, so obviously it’s time to start speculating who will make the teams before injuries and bow-outs completely ravage the rosters.
The American League has two incredibly close races at the starting second base position and the third outfield slot. Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano are separated by about 35,000 votes, while Jose Bautista and Adam Jones have about a 36,000 vote disparity. In my prediction, it doesn’t matter that much as all four players make the roster.
|C||Mike Napoli||TX||SP||Justin Verlander||DET|
|1B||Prince Fielder||DET||SP||Chris Sale||CWS|
|2B||Ian Kinsler||TX||SP||CC Sabathia||NYY|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||TX||SP||Jake Peavy||CWS|
|SS||Derek Jeter||NYY||SP||CJ Wilson||LAA|
|OF||Josh Hamilton||TX||SP||Felix Hernandez||SEA|
|OF||Curtis Granderson||NYY||SP||Jason Hammel||BAL|
|OF||Jose Bautista||TOR||SP||David Price||TBR|
|DH||David Ortiz||BOS||RP||Chris Perez||CLE|
|C||AJ Pierzynski||CWS||RP||Joaquin Benoit||DET|
|C||Joe Mauer||MIN||RP||Joe Nathan||TX|
Baltimore Orioles (3) – The Orioles are represented by Adam Jones, Jason Hammel, and Jim Johnson. The Orioles have had a surprising season, as they were in first place for a while in the strong AL East. They still hold second place and the production of their three potential All Stars is a big reason why.
Boston Red Sox (1) – The Red Sox have turned things around slightly from their poor start to finally sit above .500, but they still don’t have a ton of big contributors. Their sole representative is the starting designated hitter David Ortiz. Honorable mention goes to Jon Lester and Alfredo Aceves.
Cleveland Indians (2) – The Indians currently sit atop the AL Central and should be represented in the All Star Game by Jason Kipnis and Chris Perez.
Chicago White Sox (5) – The White Sox turned over their roster considerably and it has shown positive results early on as they sit in second place. I see them represented by A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, and Adam Dunn offensively and Chris Sale and Jake Peavy in the bullpen.
Detroit Tigers (3) – The Tigers were supposed to be world beaters this season, but it hasn’t really worked out so far as they sit in third place in the AL Central, one game below .500. Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, and Joaquin Benoit should represent them with Miguel Cabrera another possibility.
Kansas City Royals (1) – The Royals were a sexy sleeper pick for many people, but a season-ending injury to Joakim Soria and another devastating injury to starting catcher Salvador Perez has combined with poor play from their crop of young player to hold them to fourth place in the AL Central. I think their sole representative will be Alex Gordon.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3) – The team has started to come alive since their miserable start to the season. They should be represented by Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and CJ Wilson, with Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, Scott Downs, and Ernesto Frieri also possibilities.
Minnesota Twins (1) – The Twins used to be a dynasty in the AL Central, but they have fallen hard thanks to multiple injuries to key players, as well as losing big names like Michael Cuddyer, Johan Santana, and Joe Nathan. I think their only representative will be Joe Mauer.
New York Yankees (4) – The Yankees have taken their usual place atop the AL Central and will have three potential starters in the All Star Game. Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson are locks, with Robinson Cano battling Ian Kinsler for the second base start. They should be joined on the team by CC Sabathia.
Oakland Athletics (1) – The Athletics continue their constant state of rebuilding with another poor season. Their sole representative, Josh Reddick, has been a bright spot for them, though, and was a great return from the Andrew Bailey trade.
Seattle Mariners (1) – This season, the Mariners are the argument that maybe every team shouldn’t have a representative. I struggled to pick someone. I went with Felix Hernandez due to name recognition, but Charlie Furbush or Kyle Seager are other possibilities.
Tampa Bay Rays (2) – The Rays are a team built on pitching so it stands to reason that their two representatives are pitchers. David Price and Fernando Rodney have both had solid, All Star-worthy seasons.
Toronto Blue Jays (1) – The Blue Jays are two games above .500 and are in fourth place in the AL East. Their sole representative could be a starter, as Jose Bautista is trying to hold off a surge from Adam Jones.
Texas Rangers (6) – The Rangers have the best record in baseball and are arguably the best all-around team. Therefore, it makes sense that they lead the American League in All Stars. Joining potential starters Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, and Josh Hamilton are Elvis Andrus and Joe Nathan with Matt Harrison another possibility to make the team.
The closest battles for the National League are at catcher, shortstop, and the third outfield starter. Currently Buster Posey holds a 150,000 vote lead over Yadier Molina, Rafael Furcal has about a 95,000 vote lead over Troy Tulowitski, and Melky Cabrera leads Ryan Braun by about 25,000 votes. The only person in danger here is Tulowitski, who doesn’t really deserve consideration if he isn’t starting.
|C||Buster Posey||SF||SP||Zack Greinke||MIL|
|1B||Joey Votto||CIN||SP||Gio Gonzalez||WAS|
|2B||Dan Uggla||ATL||SP||Stephen Strasburg||WAS|
|3B||David Wright||NYM||SP||RA Dickey||NYM|
|SS||Rafael Furcal||STL||SP||Matt Cain||SF|
|OF||Matt Kemp||LAD||SP||Lance Lynn||STL|
|OF||Carlos Beltran||STL||SP||Cole Hamels||PHI|
|OF||Melky Cabrera||SF||SP||Clayton Kershaw||LAD|
|DH||Ryan Braun||MIL||RP||Craig Kimbrel||ATL|
|C||Yadier Molina||STL||RP||Joel Hanrahan||PIT|
|1B||Bryan LaHair||CHC||RP||Aroldis Chapman||CIN|
Atlanta Braves (3) – The Braves are four games over .500 and currently sit in third place in the NL East. They have a sure-fire All Star starter in Dan Uggla. Uggla should be joined by Michael Bourn and Craig Kimbrel.
Arizona Diamondbacks (1) – Arizona has fallen pretty hard from the surprising division winner last season to now being two games under .500. They have suffered some injuries, and will probably only have one representative: second baseman Aaron Hill.
Chicago Cubs (1) – The Cubs have had a rough time in their first rebuilding season under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. They should only have one representative in Bryan LaHair, but Starlin Castro is another possibility.
Cincinnati Reds (4) – The Reds have rebounded from a down year last season to lead the National League Central this year. They should be represented in the game as Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Aroldis Chapman should be named with Johnny Cueto another possibility.
Colorado Rockies (1) – The Rockies are having a very poor season this year, as they are in fourth place in the very weak NL West. Carlos Gonzalez should be their only representative.
Houston Astros (1) – The Astros are another rebuilding team. They are shoring up their team in preparation for a move to the AL West. Surprising shortstop Jed Lowrie should be their only representative.
Los Angeles Dodgers (2) – The Dodgers have the second best record in baseball, but look to only have two players on the team. Matt Kemp is a sure fire starter if he can play and he should be joined by Clayton Kershaw. Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier, and Chris Capuano are other possibilities
Miami Marlins (1) – After the Marlins big spending spree this offseason, they had to have expected better than being one game under .500. Giancarlo Stanton may be their only representative, but Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Omar Infante, and Josh Johnson are other possibilities.
Milwaukee Brewers (2) – The Brewers have suffered from the loss of Prince Fielder. They are currently six games under .500 and are in fourth place in the NL Central. Ryan Braun is battling for the third starting outfield spot, but should make the team as the starting DH either way. I see him being joined by Zack Greinke.
New York Mets (2) – The Mets have surprised many with strong play that has landed them in second place in the NL East. David Wright is almost locked in as the third base starter and he should be joined by first half Cy Young candidate R.A. Dickey.
Philadelphia Phillies (2) – The Phillies have been incredibly disappointing this season, as they sit in last place in the NL East. Their aging offensive core has declined and had to rely on the pitching staff, so it stands to reason that their ASG reps are both pitchers. Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon should both make the team.
Pittsburgh Pirates (2) – The Pirates are off to one of their patented jumps out of the gate. Is this the year that they sustain it? Who knows, but the strong play earned them two All Stars in Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan.
San Diego Padres (1) – The Padres are arguably the worst team in baseball, but they do have one player who is deserving of an All Star nod. Chase Headley will make the team.
San Francisco Giants (4) – The Giants tie the Reds for second most All Stars as potential starters Matt Cain and Melky Cabrera are joined by Matt Cain and Santiago Casilla.
St Louis Cardinals (5) – The defending World Series Champions have had a sub-par season marred by injuries, but have still see strong play from potential starters Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina, but also sure-fire pick Lance Lynn and a possible fifth player in David Freese.
Washington Nationals (2) – Washington has been baseball’s biggest surprise as they lead the NL East and have arguably the game’s best pitching staff. Two of the starters, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, are locks to make the team and could be joined by Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and/or Adam LaRoche.
What do you think? Were there any major snubs or anyone that I’m giving a little too much credit? Let us know in the comments.