The time has come, and Thursday marked the final day of fan voting for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. As a fan, I have been following the voting closely and the Royals’ fans attempt to get their entire roster into the game. However, I had not yet myself voted on the proceedings.
Now I have, and here are my choices:
- First baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona (.350, 20 HR, 65 RBI, 15 SB): He leads the NL in all four categories at the position. This is about as no-brainer as it gets.
- Second baseman, Kolten Wong, St. Louis (.289, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB): This was a fairly tough call, with Miami’s Dee Gordon (.350, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 26 SB) and San Fran’s Joe Panik (.314, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB) having very nice years. But Wong’s been pretty clutch for the Cardinals, who have the best record in the NL.
- Shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis (.301, 11 HR, 41 RBI, 1 SB): I waffled back and forth between Peralta and Panik’s double-play mate Brandon Crawford (.270, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 4 SB). I finally settled on Peralta because it’d probably be good for the team defensively to have that kind of familiarity up the middle, and with both providing similar pop Peralta’s average stands out.
- Third baseman, Todd Frazier, Cincinnati (.283, 25 HR, 54 RBI, 8 SB): The New Jersey native is battling with Matt Carpenter of St. Louis (.275, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB) for the starting nod, and Frazier’s far more deserving to take the spot in his home ballpark with a career year. Nolan Arenado (.288, 24 HR, 68 RBI) gets a strong mention for an impressive first half, but Colorado’s third sacker will have to settle for coming in for the final innings.
- Catcher, Buster Posey, San Francisco (.304, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 1 SB): Like first base, not really much competition in this category either, though it is worth acknowledging the first halves of Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli (.300, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 1 SB) and LA’s Yasmani Grandal (.269, 12 HR, 31 RBI).
- Outfielders, Bryce Harper, Washington (.340, 24 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB); Starling Marte, Pittsburgh (.285, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 15 SB); Giancarlo Stanton, Miami (.265, 27 HR, 67 RBI, 4 SB): Harper and Stanton are locks, and it’s a real shame that Stanton will have to sit this one out after his recent injury. The third spot was trickier, and Arizona’s AJ Pollock (.300, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 16 SB) was nearly my pick. But I like to spread things around, and it’s hard to argue against Marte’s performance … and feels weird that it’s not Andrew McCutchen.
- First baseman, Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (.344, 15 HR, 53 RBI, 1 SB): Credit to Texas’ Prince Fielder for a first half I’m pretty sure no one ever thought he’d have again (.342, 12 HR, 49 RBI), but no way I don’t want the game’s best long-tenured hitter up there taking hacks to give us an early lead if I’m AL manager Ned Yost.
- Second baseman, Jose Altuve, Houston (.298, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 23 SB): Altuve gets my vote to hopefully propel him past Kansas City’s Omar Infante (.230, 0 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB) and put a respectable player at the position. While I think Altuve deserves to be there in Cincinnati, the person who should start but won’t is Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis (.346, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 10 SB). At least I have faith he’ll be chosen a backup.
- Shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, Boston (.289, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 4 SB): I couldn’t believe what a sorry crop of starters were listed on the ballot at this position, and the Red Sox youngster gets credit here for putting together a solid sophomore season on a terrible team and providing something to cheer about.
- Third baseman, Josh Donaldson, Toronto (.302, 19 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB): Baltimore’s Manny Machado (.303, 16 HR, 44 RBI, 11 SB) has made a great run to get to this point, but Donaldson’s been consistent all season for the Blue Jays and gets my vote.
- Catcher, Stephen Vogt, Oakland (.295, 13 HR, 53 RBI): KC’s Salvador Perez (.267, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB) won this vote in a landslide, but I’m going to give the 30-year-old A’s backstop some love for a fine first half in again a somewhat weak field. I will note that former Braves perennial all-star Brian McCann (.265, 12 HR, 49 RBI) could get a spot on this team as a backup.
- Designated hitter, Nelson Cruz, Seattle (.307, 20 HR, 48 RBI, 1 SB): The Mariners’ occasional outfielder was red-hot from the start and is my choice over Texas’ Mitch Moreland (.300, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB) and the Yankees’ A-Rod (.280, 15 HR, 45 RBI, 1 SB) in an impressive bounceback campaign.
- Outfielders, Brett Gardner, New York (.304, 9 HR, 39 RBI, 15 SB); JD Martinez, Detroit (.281, 20 HR, 48 RBI, 2 SB); Mike Trout, Los Angeles (.303, 21 HR, 44 RBI, 9 SB): Here as in the NL, Martinez and Trout were pretty simple picks. For the third slot, I could have gone with the people’s choice of Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain (.299, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 15 SB) or Baltimore’s Adam Jones (.295, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 3 SB) or credited a surprising resurgence from Minnesota’s Torii Hunter (.277, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 1 SB). Josh Reddick (.287, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 3 SB) has also had a nice year, but I was shocked when I saw Gardner’s stats and opted to go with some more speed with a little pop thrown in, like Cain but more so and lefty.
Feel free to let me know if I’m crazy, where I went wrong or even how great my picks are. I feel like the most questionable choices are ones where there was no clear choice so I’m comfortable with them. We’ll find out who actually gets in Sunday.