Obligatory AL All-Star article

This is part II of my All-Star article. For the NL click here.

The All-Star game is in less than two weeks and in accordance with the triplicate-signed-in-blood contract I signed when I started writing about baseball, that means I am required to make public my opinions of who should be or who will be on the team. I’ll try to follow the actual rules of picking the team, which include:

21 position players (one more than last year.)
13 pitchers (pitchers who throw in the last game before the break are eligible to be chosen for the team, but may not pitch in the game.)
At least one representative from each team must be chosen.
Fans vote for the starters

With that out of the way, here we go. The current leading vote getters as of June 28:

STARTERS
C: Joe Mauer, MIN (.300 avg, 3 HR, 34 RBI, .806 OPS, 2.0 WAR)
1B: Justin Morneau, MIN (.348 avg, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 1.059 OPS, 4.8 WAR)
2B: Robinson Cano, NYY (.353 avg, 16 HR, 54 RBI, .992 OPS, 4.6 WAR)
3B: Evan Longoria, TB (.292 avg, 12 HR, 54 RBI, .870 OPS, 3.1 WAR)
SS: Derek Jeter, NYY (.283 avg, 8 HR, 39 RBI, .754 OPS, 1.9 WAR)
OF: ICHIRO!, SEA (.332 avg, 3 HR, 24 RBI, .813 OPS, 3.1 WAR)
OF: Josh Hamilton, TEX (.340 avg, 18 HR, 58 RBI, .993 OPS, 3.7 WAR)
OF: Carl Crawford, TB (.317 avg, 7 HR, 39 RBI, .869 OPS, 4.1 WAR)
DH: Vlad Guerrero, TEX (.336 avg, 18 HR, 68 RBI, .954 OPS, 2.5 WAR)

Unlike the NL I have no complaints with these choices. There may be slightly better choices here and there but this is not bad.

BENCH
Catcher

Mike Napoli, LAA (.258 avg, 14 HR, 33 RBI, .838 OPS, 1.9 WAR)

Just my choice. Victor Martinez (.289 avg, 9 HR, 38 RBI, .824 OPS, 1.6 WAR) would have been a good pick if he weren’t hurt.  Count on Joe Girardi bringing Jorge Posada (.267 avg, 9 HR, 28 RBI, .867 OPS, 1.4 WAR) along for what could be his final All-Star game. Another option would be to go with Kurt Suzuki (.258 avg, 10 HR, 35 RBI, .753 OPS, 1.3 WAR) as the A’s rep.

Infield
1B Miguel Cabrera, DET (.337 avg, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 1.040 OPS, 3.0 WAR)
1B Kevin Youkilis, BOS (.297 avg, 15 HR, 50 RBI, .983 OPS, 3.1 WAR)
SS Alex Gonzalez, TOR (.264 avg, 14 HR, 40 RBI, .793 OPS, 2.2 WAR)
3B Michael Young, TEX (.315 avg, 11 HR, 51 RBI, .863 OPS, 2.4 WAR)
3B Adrian Beltre, BOS (.349 avg, 12 HR, 53 RBI, .944 OPS, 3.7 WAR)
3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY (.282 avg, 12 HR, 56 RBI, .856 OPS, 2.2 WAR)
3B Jose Bautista, TOR (.229 avg, 20 HR, 50 RBI, .882 OPS, 1.8 WAR)

Another injury takes away an obvious choice in Dustin Pedroia (BOS, .292 avg, 12 HR, 41 RBI, .871 OPS, 3.4 WAR). All of the other middle infield candidates are pretty interchangeable (read: unimpressive), so that was part of my reasoning in picking Bautista (2B/OF) and Young (SS/2B).

Outfield
Alex Rios, CWS (.307 avg, 13 HR, 42 RBI, .885 OPS, 3.1 WAR)
Shin-Soo Choo, CLE (.285 avg, 13 HR, 43 RBI, .862 OPS, 2.8 WAR)
David DeJesus, KC (.331 avg, 5 HR, 35 RBI, .875 OPS, 2.6 WAR)
Adam Jones, BAL (.273 avg, 13 HR, 36 RBI, .750 OPS, 0.9 WAR)

Vernon Wells (TOR, .280 avg, 19 HR, 47 RBI, .888 OPS, 2.5 WAR) is a victim of the every-team-must-have-a-representative rule. Luke Scott (.274 avg, 12 HR, 30 RBI, .868 OPS, 1.3 WAR) was my choice from Baltimore in the draft I wrote yesterday but he pulled a hamstring hitting a homerun and I can’t bring myself to choose Ty Wigginton. The Orioles are just an all around awful team.

Starting Pitchers
Cliff Lee, SEA (7 W, 2.45 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 15.60 K/9, 2.34 FIP, 3.5 WAR)
Francisco Liriano, MIN (6 W, 3.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.67 K/9, 2.19 FIP, 3.8 WAR)
Jered Weaver, LAA (8 W, 2.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10.27 K/9, 2.88 FIP, 3.2 WAR)
Jon Lester, BOS (9 W, 3.45 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.34 K/9, 3.01 FIP, 3.2 WAR)
Felix Heredia, SEA (6 W, 3.03 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.58 K/9, 3.25 FIP, 2.9 WAR)
Ricky Romero, TOR (6 W, 2.83 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.33 K/9, 3.2 FIP, 2.9 WAR)
Justin Verlander, DET (9 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.13 K/9, 3.38 FIP, 2.5 WAR)
David Price, TB (11 W, 2.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 7.59 K/9, 3.72 FIP, 1.9 WAR)
Clay Buchholz, BOS (10 W, 2.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.26 K/9, 3.47 FIP, 2.2 WAR)
Andy Pettitte NYY (9 W, 2.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.70 K/9, 3.76 FIP, 1.9 WAR)

Cliff Lee has been out of this world since spending the first month of the season on the DL. Girardi could also (and probably will) choose Phil Hughes (NYY, 10 W, 3.58 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.28 K/9, 3.39 FIP, 2.0 WAR) or CC Sabathia (NYY, 10 W, 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.19 K/9, 3.93 FIP, 1.9 WAR) instead of some of the choices I made.

Relievers
Mariano Rivera, NYY (18 Svs, 0.89 ERA, 0.59 WHIP, 8.90 K/9, 2.37 FIP, 100 WAR)
Neftali Feliz, TEX (21 Svs, 2.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.70 K/9, 2.96 FIP, 1.0 WAR)
Andrew Bailey, OAK (15 Svs, 1.69 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 6.47 K/9, 3.26 FIP, 0.6 WAR)

I wonder what kinds of things Bailey and Feliz will ask Mo. Bailey is the lone A’s rep.

Injury Replacements
I mentioned Vernon Wells, Phil Hughes and Sabathia. Orlando Hudson (MIN, .283 avg, 3 HR, 19 RBI, .740 OPS, 2.0 WAR) is the best option at 2B if you need to take another MI. Paul Konerko (CWS, .295 avg, 20 HR, 56 RBI, .957 OPS, 2.0 WAR) was tough to leave off but there are always talented firstbasemen who don’t make the squad. Magglio Ordonez, David Ortiz, Nick Swisher and Torii Hunter are all OPSing over .870.

Again, I think my choices are pretty solid but there’s always room to quibble. Feel free to take your shots in the comments or on twitter.

All stats are from www.fangraphs.com prior to games on July 2, 2010. Any discrepancy is likely my fault.

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