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Projecting the 2011 AL All-Star team

Jun 16, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano Getty Images

Same deal as yesterday: 21 position players, 13 pitchers. Let’s give it a go.

Catcher
Locks: Russell Martin
Possibilities: Alex Avila, Matt Wieters, J.P. Arencibia, Miguel Olivo, Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli, Joe Mauer

Martin has more than a 600,000-ballot lead on Avila in second place, so he’s sure to go. It will be interesting to see what happens from there. Avila has been the league’s best offensive catcher to date and he’s second in the balloting, so he’d seem to be the obvious choice. However, if he falls off over the next few weeks, perhaps it’d be possible to sneak Victor Martinez, who is listed as a DH, into the backup slot instead.

First base
Locks: Adrian Gonzalez
Possibilities: Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Konerko, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak

Given that the DH spot is set to be occupied by David Ortiz, there’s really only room for three first basemen, meaning someone very deserving is going to be left out. Gonzalez is probably a lock now after having overtaken Teixeira in the balloting. Even if Teixeira comes back and wins that, it’s hard to imagine Gonzalez being left off. And Teixeira isn’t far off from being a lock himself.

If it comes down to Cabrera and Konerko for that third spot, I wouldn’t be surprised if Konerko is the pick. It could come down to which of the two manager Ron Washington would prefer to honor.

Second base
Locks: Robinson Cano
Possibilities: Howie Kendrick, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler

Cano’s spot is assured, as well it should be. His backup is still to be determined. Kendrick leads AL second basemen in OPS, but he’s missed some time and he’s driven in just 23 runs. Zobrist has 36 RBI and a fine .816 OPS. They’re the best candidates right now, but Pedroia could always get hot and Washington would likely take Kinsler if given the chance.

Third base
Locks: None
Possibilities: Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Maicer Izturis

A-Rod will probably win the vote and lock up a bid; he’s currently 310,000 votes ahead of Beltre in first place. The backup spot should go to Youkilis or Beltre. Youkilis has nearly 100 points of OPS on the Texas third baseman, but Beltre does make up some of that with his glove.

Shortstop
Locks:
Possibilities: Derek Jeter, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Elvis Andrus, Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, Erick Aybar, J.J. Hardy

I almost listed Cabrera as a lock, since he seems nearly certain to be taken as a reserve if he fails to overtake Jeter in the balloting. However, there’s enough quality competition here that there are no guarantees. Peralta’s .844 OPS almost matches Cabrera’s .850 mark, and Escobar isn’t too far behind at .818. Plus, there’s another possible Ranger pick in Andrus.

Outfield
Locks: Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson
Possibilities: Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Joyce, Carlos Quentin, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Josh Willingham, Ichiro Suzuki

It’s not the strongest crop beyond the top two.  Hamilton will probably lock up the third starter’s spot now that he’s back healthy.  Joyce, Quentin and Ellsbury are all very deserving of reserve spots, but one of them might get bumped because of the need to represent every team.

I can’t really imagine Ichiro being picked now that he’s not going to be voted in as a starter, but if he’s on the Final Vote ballot, then he’ll have a chance.

Designated hitter
Locks: David Ortiz
Possibilites: Michael Young, Victor Martinez

I think it’s a given that Washington will pick Young is he has the chance.  And that’s fine.  Young is a backup option at both second and third, and the AL team is probably going to have just two players each at those positions.

Starting pitchers
Locks: Jered Weaver
Possibilities: Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, Dan Haren, James Shields, Alexi Ogando, C.J. Wilson, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Ricky Romero, David Price, Jon Lester, Scott Baker, Gio Gonzalez, Zach Britton

There are a handful of other possibilities too, but I had to draw the line somewhere.  Weaver and Beckett would seem to be the top candidates to start for the AL squad.  Both Ogando and Wilson have pretty good cases on their own merits, and Washington figures to choose at least one for the staff.

Relievers
Locks: Mariano Rivera
Possibilites: Jose Valverde, Chris Perez, Jonathan Papelbon, Neftali Feliz, Sergio Santos, Brandon League, Jordan Walden, Kyle Farnsworth, Daniel Bard, Scott Downs, Aaron Crow, Darren Oliver

There haven’t been a lot of great AL relievers this year, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Washington compensate by taking nine or 10 starters for his 13 pitchers.  That’s not usually the way it works, though.

OK, time for the projection…

AL All-Star team

Lineup
CF Curtis Granderson
SS Derek Jeter
1B Adrian Gonzalez
RF Jose Bautista
LF Josh Hamilton
DH David Ortiz
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Russell Martin

Bench
C Alex Avila
1B Mark Teixeira
1B Paul Konerko
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Kevin Youkilis
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
SS Jhonny Peralta
OF Matt Joyce
OF Carlos Quentin
OF Jacoby Ellsbury
OF Adam Jones
DH Michael Young

Pitchers
Jered Weaver
Josh Beckett
Justin Verlander
Felix Hernandez
C.J. Wilson
CC Sabathia
Scott Baker
Gio Gonzalez

Mariano Rivera
Chris Perez
Jonathan Papelbon
Jose Valverde
Aaron Crow

Though the NL has two more teams, it was a lot more difficult trying to figure out reps for each club on the AL side. The Twins, A’s, Orioles and Royals all have only borderline choices. I went with Baker, Gonzalez, Jones and Crow for the spots, but they were all tossups. I could have easily gone with Gordon or Willingham in Jones’ slot.

With Baker and Gonzalez on the team, Felix Hernandez was the final cut. He’ll probably be working the Sunday before the All-Star game anyway.

(Whoops, can’t do that. Leaves me without a Mariner. Hernandez is back on, and I cut James Shields. Anyway, the rotation will be pretty much a mystery until the last week before the game. Pineda could very easily be on there instead of Felix.)

And, yeah, I have Jeter batting second in the starting lineup. It’s not how I’d arrange it, but at least it does help break up the lefties.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Only 5 Yankees starting? Back to the 612 alternative email adresses.

    • bigharold - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      Only 612?? Slacker.

      I don’t care how many email accounts I need to set up, Teixeira is starting!

      • yettyskills - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        keep it up PLEASE, cant wait till the fan vote is reduced to a lowly 33% like the NFL, because of idiot homers like u2.

      • craggt - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:46 PM

        yettyskills I think you’re missing the sarcasm. Or at least I hope it’s sarcasm

      • bigharold - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:27 PM

        ” Or at least I hope it’s sarcasm.”

        Yeah but it’s not nearly as funny if you have to explain it. What’s really funny somebody not getting something so obvious and getting CRANKY about it.

  2. Detroit Michael - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Seems like last year the managers also picked a multi-positional reserve player at the encouragement of the Commissioner’s office. It’d be very hard to handicap who would get picked if they do the same thing this year.

    Michael Young plays for Ron Washington, so I see your point, but logicially one could put an extra 1B at bat into the DH slot.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Why do you use OPS in your predictions? Do you really think Ron Washington is going to even look at that stat? If you do, then you are nuts. Not that I agree with Washington mind you…I don’t lump OPS into the “stat geek” box. But I don’t think Washington will even consider it.

  4. dlevalley - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    So… without Felix, the Mariners don’t get a player?

    My guess is that Washington takes Felix because of the Cy Young, but if not, Brandon League is leading the league in saves.

  5. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    If/when the Yankees have 5 starters on the All-Star team it will be the most widely panned team maybe in All-Star history (and yes i said MAYBE). The idea that ANY team should have 5 starters should have gone out the window after the 1950’s when the Yankees actually deserved to have that many starters. I dont care if this is the Yanks, Sahx, Phils, or Royals no team should have that many starters. As far as the Royals pick for the team goes Gordon and Crow are good choices, but dont be surprised if Hosmer gets picked.

  6. Matthew Pouliot - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    OK, I had to go and edit the article. I missed that cutting Felix left me with no Mariners.

  7. scatterbrian - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    You realize you considered the entire Kansas City outfield?

    The times they are a-changin….

  8. zaavonb - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    wait a minute ron is going take miceal young over david ortiz and josh hamilton over jacoby ellsbury and ian kinsler come on man it shouldnt be like this

  9. ThatGuy - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    I am betting Mauer get’s picked on name value alone.

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM

      Name value and pre-2011 track record.

      • craggt - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:53 PM

        I think the name value came from the pre-2011 track record

  10. craggt - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    If Miguel Cabrera doesn’t make the team then the team is a joke. He’s second in the league in OPS and no ones even talking about him.

    • lanflfan - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      No one is talking about Miggy because they don’t want to knock him off the wagon again. I hope the man has his life in order, because he could do some serious damage if not.

      • craggt - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:54 PM

        I think what we’ve learned about Miggy is that it doesn’t matter if his life is in order, he’s going to hit regardless.

  11. lanflfan - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    I suggest a new All-Star format: the Yankees on one team, and the rest of MLB on the other. Double the roster size for the MLB team to make sure all teams are represented, and allow the Yankees to use their AAA team for depth.

    That should provide for a better game and give Yankee fans an even bigger head than they already have. And the winner gets home field for the World Series (by season record if MLB wins, which is how it should be).

    /sarcasm off

    In all seriousness, voting should be 33% fans, 33% coaches and 34% players. And regular season record determines WS, not All-Star winner. You broke it Bud, you fix it (like the Dodgers).

    • dan1111 - Jun 17, 2011 at 5:20 AM

      Note: coaches voted to give Jeter all of his gold gloves.

      How about letting it be decided by blog commenters?

  12. phukyouk - Jun 16, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    can you please explain to me what Colon is not on that list? low #’s ERA and hes been pretty damn much lights out.

  13. udub - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    How is David Pauley not even listed as a possibility for relievers? He’s only leading all relievers in ERA and appearances

  14. dluxxx - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    I’m really suprised that Denard Span isn’t being considered. Granted he’s on the 7 day DL, but the guy has been lights out this year.

  15. stinkfist5 - Jun 17, 2011 at 7:13 AM

    I’m definitely not a Tigers fan, but how the hell isn’t Verlander a lock?

  16. kingbuccaneer - Jun 17, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    How the hell isn’t James Shields projected (or lock) to be an All-Star. He leads MLB in CG shutouts and is top 3 in the AL in just about every statistical category.

    Shotty (projections) at best.

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