We are more than 1/3 through the 2013 MLB season, and the All-Star game is less than a month away. The fan voting process has turned into more of a popularity contest, which is completely unfair since the winner of the game gets home field advantage for the World Series. So because I think that is ridiculous, I will be doing this the right way by picking the most worthy candidates for this years mid-summer classic in New York.
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (6 HR, 19 RBI, .332 AVG, .418 OBP)
The fans have definitely gotten this one right, as he is leading the catcher voting. His RBI totals are lacking due to the mediocre Twins offense, but the former number one overall pick has been a remarkably consistent hitter this year. He has the 3rd highest AVG in the AL, and leads all AL catchers in hits, doubles, walks, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Look for the best hitting catcher in the game to be behind the plate in July.
First Base: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles (21 HR, 56 RBI, .338 AVG, .417 OBP)
Making me eat my words once again, the fans have voted Davis as the starting first baseman thus far. Ever since last year, Chris has really taken the league by storm. He has gotten clutch hit after clutch hit, making the Orioles a legitimate threat in a stacked AL East. Besides walks, he leads all AL first basemen in every single major batting statistic. Not only does he lead all first basemen, he leads in almost every single category for the entire AL, for people named Miguel Cabrera.
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (45 R, 20 2B, 38 RBI, .325 AVG, .408 OBP)
I know you’re thinking “How could he not pick Robinson Cano?”. Before you think I’m crazy, look at all of Pedroia’s stats. Granted Cano has 16 home runs to Pedroia’s 4, Pedroia has been the better overall player. He has scored 9 more runs, notched 13 more hits, hit 6 more doubles, walked 12 more times, and has stole 6 more bases than the Yankee second baseman. His AVG is also 47 points higher, as his OBP is 54 points greater than Cano’s. Robinson leads voting by a considerable amount, but expect to see Dustin on the bench for the AL squad.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers (.329 AVG, .380 OBP, .478 SLG, .858 OPS)
You can make a very strong case for the leading vote getter JJ Hardy for this honor. Hardy, like Cano, leads his position in HRs and RBIs by a respectable amount. But Peralta, like Pedroia, leads JJ in doubles, runs, AVG and OBP. Jhonny has also only committed 4 errors, while Hardy has committed 6. Peralta has easily been the best all around shortstop so far in the AL.
Third Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (18 HR, 69 RBI, .358 AVG, .450 OBP)
It’s funny, if Cabrera were in the NL, the AL third base race would be unbelievably tight. Longoria, Donaldson, Beltre, Machado, Seager, and Reynolds are all having All-Star caliber seasons. But unfortunately for them, Miguel Cabrera has been absolutely out of his mind this year. There really isn’t much more than needs to be said about Miggy. With the exception of home runs, the Detroit third baseman leads all AL hitters in every category. The fans have rightfully made him the AL’s overall leading vote getter.
Outfield 1: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (12 HR, 42 RBI, .297 AVG, .367 OBP, 14 SB)
The Boy Wonder has been living up to his sky-high expectations so far in 2013. The 21 year old phenom is coming off of his historic Rookie of the Year season, and he has been nearly as good for the struggling Angels. He leads AL outfielders in runs, doubles, triples, SLG, and OPS. On top of all of his hitting, he has been the most electrifying fielder in the game, saving his pitchers an uncanny amount of runs with his stellar speed and concentration.
Outfield 2: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (14 HR, 45 RBI, .298 AVG, 84 H, 19 2B)
A former 1st round pick, Jones has gotten better and better every single season since he debuted in the league at age 20 with the Mariners. Last season was his best to date, and he is on pace to at least match or best his numbers from 2012. His 84 hits lead all AL outfielders, and his strong center field play has made him one of the elite CF in the game today.
Outfield 3: Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics (8 HR, 24 RBI, .297 AVG, .384 OBP, 13 SB)
This 33 year old outfielder has been quite the enigma in his 12 year career. Some years he has shown brilliance as a prolific lead-off hitter, hitting for some power, blazing speed, and a knack for making contact. Other years he has shown a lack of focus and determination. This year though has been the former for the never-before-been All-Star. He has walked (29) more times than he has struck out (20), which is a very important lead-off hitter quality. His all around game play has also put him 2nd among all AL outfielders with a .889 OPS.
C Carlos Santana
1B Prince Fielder
1B James Loney
2B Robinson Cano
2B Jason Kipnis
SS JJ Hardy
SS Jed Lowrie
OF Alex Gordon
OF Jose Bautista
OF Alex Rios
- American League All-Star Watch (thefarmclub.net)
- AL&NL Studs&Duds (May) (agoodsportshang.com)
- Dustin Pedroia-David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera-Prince Fielder Among Best 3-4 Combos in MLB This Season (Video) (nesn.com)