If you’re like us, you have voted more times for the MLB All-Star game than any presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial election combined. While this makes the BBC a terrible troupe of citizens, it highlights our discerning taste in baseball stars. So with the all-star rosters recently announced, we would like to lend you our expertise and pick our starters.
Tired of the same old-same old in the Midsummer Classic? Each year millions of votes are cast in favor of baseball has-beens. In a game that is supposed to feature the best baseball has to offer, the same fizzling “superstars” are trotted out only because of their name and past abilities. I say we free up the week for a few of these ancient stars. Derek Jeter? Sorry old timer. Albert Pujols? Go hit the beach. Kevin Youkilis? Youuuuuuuuuuu can watch from your couch.
While past all-star games have been overcooked, my recipe calls for something different. It’s a delicious dish using only the finest ingredients. I mixed a slew of current superstars with under appreciated veterans, stirred in grit and savvy and finished by sprinkling in a dash of youth. Follow the steps below and you’ll have a crowd pleaser sure to be the hit of the party in Kansas City.
C – Matt Wieters BAL – I toyed with punching my card for Joe Mauer. Both are having terrific years, though I give a slight nod to Wieters due to their respective places in the AL standings.
1B – Paul Konerko CWS – Fielder, Pujols, Teixeira, Gonzalez. None can touch Paul Konerko so far in 2012. Year after year Konerko produces and no one seems to give a hoot. Well I do and you should, too!
2B – Robinson Cano NYY – You can probably just write-in for whoever you want here. There is no way in h-e-double-baseball-bats that Cano is not starting on July 10th. His spot at the top of every meaningful category for second basemen suggests he will earn that start anyways.
SS – Asdrubal Cabrera CLE – Nobody really stands out at shortstop in the AL. I chose Asdrubal as a token of appreciation for the surprising Indians. I’m sure some very sound arguments could be made for a few other players (Andrus, Aviles, the two Escobars). Just please don’t vote for Derek Jeter. Please.
3B – Mike Moustakas KC – It was lauded as one of the deepest positions in baseball this spring, but no one included Mike Moustakas on the list of top tier players at the hot corner. He’s been fantastic with the leather and very good at the plate in cavernous Kauffman Stadium. Punch a hole for the home team, won’t you?
OF – Josh Hamilton TEX – Hamilton is suddenly looking very pedestrian now that pitchers have figured out his secrets (hint: Charles Barkley is more picky at Golden Coral than Hamilton is in the batters box). Still, his .647 slugging leads all batters and his team’s record leads all of baseball.
OF – Adam Jones BAL – Not since 2005 has Baltimore had an elected starter in the Midsummer Classic. They should have two (they’ll probably have zero).
OF – Mike Trout LAA – Get your pencils ready, we have our first write-in! You might think it’s ridiculous to see a guy (kid) make an all-star game after missing an entire month—that’s just how good Mike Trout has been. He’s already generating serious MVP talk only eight weeks into his career.
DH – Adam Dunn CHW – After undoubtedly the worst season of his career and one of the worst seasons in the history of baseball, Adam Dunn deserves your respect. He sat atop the home run leaderboard for most of the first half. Who could have dreamed that?
C – Carlos Ruiz PHI – It’s bizarre to think how utterly screwed the last place Phillies lineup would be without Carlos Ruiz. I mean, they’re still utterly screwed.
1B – Joey Votto CIN – In 48% of his plate appearances, Joey Votto gets on base. In 10% of plate appearances, he doubles. 100% of the time, that adds up to an MVP type season.
2B – Jose Altuve HOU – Altuve has been a bright spot for a team that features mostly darkness. He’s also 5-6 in high heels. *punch*
SS – Jed Lowrie HOU – Two starters for the Lastros? Yeah you read that correctly. The Astros have the best middle infield in the National League.
3B – David Wright NYM – He hasn’t displayed the power numbers of old, but Wright is having a career year in just about every category. Time for the Mets to buy high! Where is Omar Minaya?
OF – Carlos Beltran STL – The biggest steal of free-agency this past winter. I would suggest that Beltran is returning to form at the dish, but that would be kind of insulting. He has never actually had a season as good as this one.
OF – Carlos Gonzalez COL –What’s an all-star team without the league’s best slugger? CarGo hasn’t dazzled many with his leather, but he has vaulted himself into the early conversation for NL MVP because of his bat. Stay healthy, my friend!
OF – Ryan Braun MIL – Remind me again when steroids are supposed to wear off? Only CarGo has been a better slugger on the senior circuit. If it wasn’t for crotchety voters, Braun would be in the hunt for back-to-back MVP awards. I suspect he will be left off a few ballots, however.
DH – Bryce Harper WAS – Okay so you don’t actually get to vote for a DH in the National League nor is Harper even on the ballot. Still, the All-Star game would be more fun with the game’s youngest star and the most intriguing player in 2012.
C – Matt Wieters BAL — While Joe Mauer has slightly more gaudy offensive numbers, he’s played fourteen games at first base this season. Wieters has been behind the dish for every single inning he’s recorded in 2012, and is the superior backstop. Also, a runner trying to swipe a bag on Wieters and his golden gun is one of the most exciting plays in baseball right now.
1B – Paul Konerko CWS — Another season of absurd numbers, another season flying under the radar. Look on, ye casual fans, and despair.
2B – Robinson Cano NYY — Pedestrian years from the AL’s usually stellar keystoners like Pedroia, Kinsler, and Andino (lol guys jk) have locked this one up for Robby. The ballot-box stuffing faithful in the Bronx will have this one right, unlike at shortstop.
SS – Elvis Andrus TEX — Andrus is posting career highs in every major hitting statistic. He’s always been a tremendous defender and baserunner, now he has an above-average bat (118 wRC+) to add his toolkit. Oh and he’s 24 and might not even the best shortstop in the Rangers organization.
3B – Miguel Cabrera DET — I admit that I’m a sucker for home stars getting All-Star starting nods, so I really wanted to go with Moose Tacos. But Miguel Cabrera has raked like usual and hasn’t been a complete sideshow of a third baseman; his -3.6 UZR is basically a rousing victory for the Tigers.
OF – Adam Jones BAL — Duh.
OF – Josh Hamilton TEX — Duh. I mean, really. Duh.
OF – Mike Trout LAA — Duh, duh, duh. Don’t worry, choosing three NL outfielders will be MUCH harder.
DH – Adam Dunn CWS — It seems like cheating to reward one of the AL’s miscellaneous fantastic hitters — Bautista, Encarnacion, Willingham, Trumbo and others have all murdered the ball this year — over a guy who actually does get to take half of the game off every night. I love the Big Donkey and am so glad to have him back. Also he has as many home runs as singles (24 apiece), which is amazing. Figure out a shift for that, Joe Maddon.
C – Carlos Ruiz PHI — While AJ Ellis is a great story (and a great talent – 17% BB rate!), Chooch has been the only Phillie who has bothered to try to hit baseballs this season, which seems like kind of a weird strategy and maybe the team should try a new approach.
1B – Joey Votto CIN — He’s pretty good at baseball. He’s hit one infield fly ball since 2009. He claims to have only hit one pulled foul ball into the stands in his Major League career. He only makes an out 51% of the time. He invented the tactical turtleneck — the tactileneck. Wait that last one was Sterling Archer, my bad.
2B – Brandon Phillips CIN — Phillips is submitting a typical season, .345 wOBA and sparkling defense. He’s doing this on a first-place team while also providing some of the most jaw-dropping plays of the season.
SS – Jed Lowrie HOU — Lowrie leads NL shortstops in HR (14), walk rate (11.1%), and wOBA (.352). He’s a no-brainer — and who could have possibly predicted that in spring training?
3B – David Wright NYM — The Mets have had a fun ride so far, led by about three good hitters and two great pitchers making up for an explosive bullpen and one of the worst defenses in baseball. Luckily, one of those hitters is David Wright; turns out, a .450 OBP will go a long way. If you’re not familiar with these new-fangled stats, it means Wright is really good at baseball. Some big names play the hot corner in the National League, and Wright has been head and shoulders better than the rest.
OF – Ryan Braun MIL — Typically outrageous numbers at the plate (22 HR, .309/.390/.599) and he’s decided to flash a little leather this season, too.
OF – Andrew McCutchen PIT — Out of all the guys in baseball not named Votto, Cutch might be the best hitter. His poor defense is wiped out — and then some — by an otherworldly bat, despite a complete lack of “lineup protection.” When he’s not putting the ball in the seats, he’s getting on base and then adding value with his speed.
OF – Bryce Harper WAS — Part homer pick, part exciting-young-talent-pick. As we’ve covered in the Bullpen before, I love this kid. He’s not deserving by a strict judgement of resumes: 1.4 WAR puts him 22nd among NL outfielders. However, when you consider context — he’s 19, missed a month, has struggled mightily at times, and is STILL on the verge of being a top 20 outfielder — that 1.4 WAR seems incredible. He’s also fascinating (and occasionaly infurating) to watch, a great quote, and the only name listed in this column who will play the All Star Game like a World Series Game 7. He doesn’t have the best stats, but I want to see Bryce Harper play baseball. It’s that simple.
DH – Carlos Beltran STL — Because Cardinal nation will lose their collective shit if Mr. Glass gets hurt chasing a Jose Bautista liner into the corner. Let him sit, and let him hit — everyone wins. The most underrated player of our generation tacks another All Star appearance to his Hall of Fame candidacy.