The Mid-Summer Classic of America’s pastime is upon us again and as usual, there will be gripes on who’s in and who misses. Later today the There will be some politics in voting, as always. Some players have All-Star reputations that land them in the game and there are some who are making their names now. I’m eliminating all of that and affording everybody with the best solution to both: letting me pick the teams. Of the over 220 million 2010 votes, I’m going to qualify the most important one and actually explain it here. Thank me later.
Here are the run-down on the rules for the picking the team as set by Major League Baseball, some of which have been changed for this year:
- Total roster size is 34 players
- There must be a minimum of one representative from each team on the rosters
- The designated hitter is used in all games (but only voted as a position in the AL)
- Pitchers who start the Sunday before the ASG will not be replaced on the roster, but will be recognized
- Each team will have a designated player that can be re-entered into the game later if an injury occurs
Following these rules, here are my selections for the complete All-Star game as of this morning being the cutoff for qualify for this list. 33 positions will be selected for the team today, with the candidates for fan balloted vote-in for the 34th and final player on each roster going until July 10.
Catcher: Brian McCann-Atlanta
- Why? Miguel Olivo has put up better numbers, but McCann’s have rebounded from a horrible start to play a huge role in landing a surprising Braves squad in first place in the East
First Base: Albert Pujols-St. Louis
- Why? While not having his usual comic book level numbers, Albert is still leading the NL in the home runs and is top 3 in RBI and on base percentage, and is just starting to hit his stride.
Second Base: Martin Prado-Atlanta
- Why? He came out the gates quick and has led the NL in batting average and hits for most of the entire first half of the season. Prado has been the most consistent threat for the Braves all year.
Third Base: David Wright-New York
- Why? After a horrible downswing in his first year in Citi Park, Wright has come back and reclaimed his status as the NL’s premier 3B, leading the circuit in RBI.
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez-Florida
- Why? While this year has been a tumultuous one on South Beach, Hanley is far and away the class of all shortstops in either league and has himself in position for another run at a 30/30 season.
Outfield: Ryan Braun-Milwaukee
- Why? His power and average numbers are down some, but Braun is still the class of NL outfielders and is showcasing his all-around game again in 2010, with 11 steals to add in.
Outfield: Andre Either-Los Angeles
- Why? He flirted with Triple Crown like numbers for a few months, but has been slowed coming back from a broken finger. Even afterwards, he is having one the best all-around seasons in either league.
Outfield: Corey Hart-Milwaukee
- Why? Over the last few years he has been up and down more than maybe any player in the NL, but he on the upswing currently, being second in both home runs and RBI currently.
Starting Pitcher: Ubaldo Jimenez-Colorado
- Why? Nobody in baseball can hit him and it doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. With a no-hitter and two 25 inning plus scoreless streaks in his pocket, the league leader in wins is 5 victories short of 20……with 3 full months of starts left.
Catcher: Miguel Olivo-Colorado
First Base: Joey Votto-Cincinnati, Adrian Gonzalez-San Diego,
Second Base: Brandon Phillips-Cincinnati, Dan Uggla-Florida
Third Base: Scott Rolen-Cincinnati
Shortstop: Rafael Furcal-Los Angeles
Outfield: Jason Werth-Philadelphia, Carlos Gonzalez-Colorado, Andrew McCutchen-Pittsburgh, Chris Young-Arizona
Starting Pitchers: Adam Wainwright-St. Louis, Josh Johnson-Florida, Roy Halladay-Philadelphia, Yovani Gallardo-
Milwaukee, Chris Carpenter-St. Louis, Mike Pelfrey-New York, Carlos Silva-Chicago, Tim Hudson-Atlanta, Roy Oswalt-Houston, Jamie Garcia-St. Louis
Relief Pitchers: Heath Bell-San Diego, Brian Wilson-San Francisco, Francisco Rodriguez-New York, Matt Capps-Washington
“Just a bit outside” – the almost made its: Jason Heyward-Atlanta (injured), Chase Utley-Philadelphia (injured), Ryan Howard- Philadelphia, Colby Rasmus-St. Louis, Tim Lincecum-San Francisco, Josh Willingham-Washington, Stephen Strasburg-Washington, Troy Tulowitzki-Colorado
Catcher: Joe Mauer-Minnesota
- Why? The reigning AL MVP and batting champ has seen his number fall across the board this year, yet he is still pushing the Twins towards another Central title. Admittedly playing in pain, he is still sporting a .300 average.
First Base: Miguel Cabrera-Detroit
- Why? He has been the most complete hitter in the game during the first half of the season. In the top 5 of the AL in batting average, home runs, RBI, doubles, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
Second Base: Robinson Cano-New York
- Why? He has been the best hitter in the stacked Yankee lineup and is the league leader in average and hits. Has taken huge strides forward this season and is a favorite for MVP if the season ended now.
Third Base: Evan Longoria-Tampa Bay
- Why? He has slowed from his torrid start along with the Rays, but that reason is why he gets this start. As he goes, goes the Rays, proving the his value as one of the best young talents in the game.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter-New York
- Why? The old perennial choice is justifying why he is who he is again. When his bat picked up this season, the Yankees were launched back into first place. His value can’t be denied among all shortstops.
Outfield: Josh Hamilton-Texas
- Why? When he’s healthy, Hamilton is a killer. So far in 2010 he’s in the top 3 in average, home runs and RBI so it’s safe to say he’s feeling pretty good again.
Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki-Seattle
- Why? Ho hum, Ichiro’s top 3 in hits and batting average again. Well on his way to adding to his record of consecutive 200 hit seasons. He’s the most consistent hitter in the game and maybe ever.
Outfield: Carl Crawford-Tampa Bay
- Why? He’s one of the best overall contributors in baseball and the most dangerous disruptor in the game. Hits triples, home runs and steals bases with the same ease.
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero-Texas
- Why? Vlad has taken full advantage of making a home in Arlington, a stadium he had huge success in a guest. Leading the AL in RBI’s and leading the Rangers to the biggest lead of any team in division.
Starting Pitcher: David Price-Tampa Bay
- Why? The AL leader in wins and ERA, Price has been consistently at the top of the league all season and has held the Rays together during the recent struggles of their starting rotation.
Catcher: Kurt Suzuki-Oakland
First Base: Justin Morneau-Minnesota, Paul Konerko-Chicago, Kevin Youkilis-Boston
Second Base: Ian Kinsler-Texas
Third Base: Adrian Beltre-Boston, Michael Young-Texas
Shortstop: Alex Gonzalez-Toronto
Outfield: Alex Rios-Chicago, Vernon Wells-Toronto, Shin-Soo Choo-Cleveland, Nick Markakis-Baltimore
Starting Pitchers: CC Sabathia-New York, Clay Bucholtz-Boston, Jared Weaver-Los Angeles, Jon Lester-Boston, Andy Pettite-New York, Trevor Cahill-Oakland, Justin Verlander-Detroit, Cliff Lee-Seattle, Phil Hughes-New York
Relief Pitchers: Mariano Rivera-New York, Nertali Feliz-Texas, Joakim Soria-Kansas City, Rafeal Soriano-Tampa Bay
“Just a bit outside” – The almost made its: Dustin Pedroia-Boston (injured), Jorge Posada-New York, Billy Butler-Kansas City, David DeJesus-Kansas City, Victor Martinez-Boston, Felix Hernandez-Seattle, Torii Hunter-Los Angeles, Elvis Andrus-Texas, Alex Rodriguez-New York, Jose Bautista-Toronto