Alex's MLB All-Star Game Picks
I've been ignoring baseball on this site, in light of the exciting NHL and NBA playoffs, and some of the drama surrounding the drafts and off-season moves.
Given that baseball's my favorite sport, that needs to come to an end now. Voting for the mid-summer classic ends today, so I took the opportunity today to compile my selections and cast my ballot. Here's who I went with:
Catcher - Joe Mauer, Minnesota
He's the obvious choice for me, since he's leading the league in batting average with a .369 clip. While he only has 5 homers and 37 RBIs, he does rank 6th in the league in OPS.
First Base - Jason Giambi, New York
This is the most difficult choice, since the three best options (in no particular order - Travis Hafner, David Ortiz, Jim Thome) are all regularly Designated Hitters - having played 4, 5, and 2 games respectively at first base this season. Jason Giambi has only played 44 of his 68 games at first base, but until he's forced to pee in a cup, he gets the nod ahead of Paul Konerko and Justin Morneau based on superior offensive numbers. I wouldn't consider someone being a DH to be a liability if I was voting for personal awards, but I can't vote someone to be the starter at a position that they rarely play.
Second Base - Brian Roberts, Baltimore
We have a completely unremarkable group to choose from, here. I gave consideration to Robinson Cano, Mark Loretta, and Tadahito Iguchi, but since Roberts' 19 steals is the only stat that jumps out at me, he gets my vote. He's also tied for the lead in OPS amongst AL second baseman.
Third Base - Alex Rodriguez, New York
I considered giving my vote to Mike Lowell, since he's hitting over .300, and has excellent slugging numbers. Plus, he's been one of the few productive players for my fantasy team. However, ARod is still outhitting everyone else here. And really, is there anyone else you'd rather have in a meaningless game?
Shortstop - Derek Jeter, New York
It kills me to vote in three Yankees, but at least this way, one of them might get hurt during the game. I wanted to vote for Michael Young, but Jeter is outpacing him in most offensive categories, despite having less plate appearances to date.
Outfield - Manny Ramirez, Boston; Vernon Wells, Toronto; Grady Sizemore, Cleveland
ManRam and Wells are near the top of the league in terms of power numbers, and a vote for Vernon would make this guy happy. There are half a dozen to a dozen guys worthy of the third spot, but I'll go with Sizemore since he's near the top of the board in most power categories, as well as doubles, triples, and has also stolen 13 bases. Talk about a well rounded performance.
Catcher - Brian McCann, Atlanta
Interestingly, only Paul LoDuca and Brad Ausmus have enough at-bats amongst NL catchers to qualify for the batting title. In any case, McCann probably would had he not suffered an injury in May. He's looked great this year, and is one of the two solid young catchers (Russell Martin in LA being the other) that I have on my fantasy team. McCann was one of the most consistent players prior to his injury, so I'm going to be a bit of a homer and vote him in here.
First Base - Lance Berkman, Houston
This was a toss-up between him and Ryan Howard of Philadelphia, but Berkman gets the nod based on slightly better contact numbers, since their power stats are pretty much a wash. I nearly voted for Nomar, but despite his wicked batting average, the power isn't there to justify my vote. Pujols misses out due to his injury, but I probably would have voted for any of these four ahead of the Giambino.
Second Base - Dan Uggla, Florida
You're probably wondering who this guy is, and well, so were most people at the start of the season. He's near the top of the board for second baseman in most offensive categories, and as a rookie, has been a major reason why the Marlins haven't completely sucked this year.
Third Base - Miguel Cabrera, Florida
The jewel of my fantasy team gets the nod over the Mets' David Wright based on a higher batting average and OPS. Either of them would be a fine choice here, though the voters will probably pick Scott Rolen.
Shortstop - Jose Reyes, New York
He's hitting a shade under .300, but his 10 triples and 34 steals make him the obvious choice here.
Outfield - Carlos Beltran, New York; Jason Bay, Pittsburgh; Matt Holliday, Colorado
Beltran has put up the sort of all-around numbers that the Mets envisioned he would when they signed him before the 2005 season; a 1.000-plus OPS cements his spot here. Jason Bay gets the second spot based on a similarly well-rounded performance, and Matt Holiday, the leader in OPS, gets my vote based on that, and a gaudy .352 batting average.