Monday, 7 July 2008

My American League All-Star Picks

With the midseason break approaching, time to give my picks for the American League All-Star team starters.

Joe Mauer
(MIN) - Mauer is the real easy choice here. He currently sits 2nd in the AL in batting average, he's showed his usual great plate patience (.410 OBP is also second in the AL), and he's been a solid doubles hitter. We're still waiting for the homerun power to come on a semi-consistent basis, but he's still indisputably the best catcher in the AL.
Other Options: Dioner Navarro (TB)
Actual Pick: Joe Mauer

First Base
Kevin Youkilis (BOS) - I feel much less sure on this one... Jason Giambi has been a better hitter, but he has a lot less ABs and less value in the field. Youkilis has been a little better hitter than Justin Morneau, but Morneau has almost 40 more PAs. In the end, Youkilis is my choice... he's been his typical self getting on base at a .375 clip, and he's hitting for good power this year, with 13 HR and 22 2B. Plus, as always, he plays solid defense at 1B.
Other Options: Justin Morneau (MIN), Jason Giambi (NYY)
Actual Pick: Kevin Youkilis

Second Base
Ian Kinsler (TEX) - Again, a pretty easy choice here. Of all regular 2B in the AL, Kinsler has the highest average, gets on base the most, and has hit for (easily) the most power. He's even stolen 23 bases while only getting thrown out once. Brian Roberts has been very good as well, but Kinsler is hitting for a lot more power and stealing bases more effectively.
Other Options: Brian Roberts (BAL)
Actual Pick: Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Third Base
Alex Rodriguez (NYY) - No surprise that A-Rod is once again the best 3B in the AL. The man in a machine, and continues to be one of (if not the) top all-around players in the MLB. He's in the top 6 in lots of major offensive categories, including #2 in OPS.
Other Options: Mike Lowell (BOS), Evan Longoria (TB)
Actual Pick: Alex Rodriguez

Michael Young (TEX) - Honestly, not a lot of inspiring choices for AL SS. I think Young has probably been the best of a pretty mediocre bunch of AL SS's this year.
Other Options: Derek Jeter (NYY), Jhonny Peralta (CLE)
Actual Pick: Derek Jeter (NYY)

Grady Sizemore (CLE) - Sizemore continues to be one of the best all-around players in the MLB, despite playing for an underachieving Indians team. Sizemore's average is down a bit this year, but he is still working the count to get on base, and is leading the AL in HR as of this writing. He combines that with good defense in CF, and 20 SB (only caught 3 times). Sizemore does it all on the baseball field.

Josh Hamilton (TEX) - Hamilton is one of the best stories in the MLB, and he's made it even better by becoming one of the most dangerous hitters in the AL. He's hitting for average (top 10 in AL) and power (2nd in HR, top 5 in SLG), and is far and away leading the AL in RBI with 85 as of this writing. His numbers are skewed a bit because of the ballpark he plays in (his home/road splits are pretty ugly), but he's still my choice.

JD Drew (BOS) - Drew is playing like he finally deserves that big contract, as he's been one of the best hitters in the AL so far this year. His OPS easily is tops among AL OFs with enough ABs to qualify. He's 3rd in the League in SLG, and he's getting on base at an excellent clip, also 3rd in the American League.

Other Options: Carlos Quentin (CHI), Jermaine Dye (CHI), Nick Markakis (BAL)
Actual Picks: Josh Hamilton, Manny Ramirez (BOS), Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)

Designated Hitter
Milton Bradley (TEX) - No contest here whatsoever. Bradley has likely been the best hitter in the American League so far this season, and is definitely far and away above the other DH candidates. If you were going to bet on baseball, what were the odds you could have gotten if you would have picked Milton Bradley to be leading the AL in OPS at the midway point?
Actual Pick: David Ortiz (BOS)

What would your picks be?