34 players will make the AL All-Star team for the game to be played at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets on July 16th. The 9 starters and the Final Selection will be determined by the fans.
In the latest release, it is apparent that last seasons post-season run has excited the fans in Baltimore as Orioles' players are all over the top few vote getters at each position. In this post, we will look at the potential for AL All-Stars based on each team needing a representative and estimating who will end up as the top vote getters. We will also discuss the prospects of the Sox to make the squad.
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota
Mauer currently has a comfortable lead of almost 512,000 on Matt Wieters of the Orioles. If the starting position was based on stats alone Mauer would assuredly be the choice. Even though it is based on the fan vote, Mauer should still feel comfortable about getting the starting nod. However, if Wieters were to beat out his Twins counterpart, it would most likely take away a spot from a deserving player as Wieters at this point would not make the squad.
1B Chris Davis, Baltimore
What a year Davis is having, he is 2nd in average, 1st in HR, and 2nd in RBI. Based on those numbers he probably should be the starter, although there are many solid 1st Basemen in the AL. Davis has what appears to be an insurmountable lead over Prince Fielder of the Tigers, up by more than 1 million votes.
2B Robinson Cano, New York
The AL is fortunate to have two elite 2nd Basemen, Cano is one and the Sox own Dustin Pedroia is the other. Currently, Cano leads Pedey by almost 775,000 votes. That lead looks secure unless Sox fans get out en masse and stuff the box for Pedroia before July 4th. Let's go Red Sox Nation!
3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
The reigning Triple Crown winner can start packing his bags for New York. He not only has twice as many votes as Manny Machado of the Orioles, but is in contention to join Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby as the only players to win the Triple Crown twice. Cabrera also leads all AL players in votes.
SS JJ Hardy, Baltimore
This is the first real surprise in the AL voting, if not mostly because of JJ Hardy's lack of name recognition. It can be considered a down season for shortstops in the AL this year and Hardy has taken advantage leading the position in HR and RBI while also being 4th in average. Elvis Andrus of the Rangers is 2nd in the vote getting currently, but trails by a widening margin of less about 513,000. This looks to be Hardy's to lose.
LF Mike Trout, Anaheim
CF Adam Jones, Baltimore
RF Torii Hunter, Detroit
More surprises in the AL outfield as Jones leads in votes with nearly 30,000 more than Trout. Both are nearly doubling up Nick Markakis of the Orioles in the 3rd spot. Torii Hunter of the Tigers, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, and another Orioles Nate McLouth are all within striking distance of Markakis. The top 3 vote getters all lead their positions in average, while Jones and Trout are putting up other numbers. Markakis' other numbers at not nearly as impressive. Given that Bautista has a history of racking up votes, it is possible that he will end up starting over Markakis, but the Orioles fans appear to be voting early and often this year.
DH David Ortiz, Boston
Big Papi has been tremendous since his return from the DL. Many pundits have said that Ortiz looks better at the plate this season than at any point in his career. Ortiz lead in the voting is very safe as he has twice as many votes as 2nd place Lance Berkman of the Rangers.
C Carlos Santana, Cleveland, Jason Castro, Houston
Matt Wieters, Baltimore, Salvador Perez, Kansas City, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston, JP Arencibia, Toronto
Surprisingly there are several solid catching candidates in the AL. That said Santana is clearly the next best backstop behind Mauer. The decision to take a third catcher comes from the fact that Santana can also play 1st Base and the Astros need for a representative. Castro has put together a very solid season and gets the Astros nod over 2nd Baseman Jose Altuve. Salty again comes up short in his bid to make the All-Star team.
1B Prince Fielder, Detroit
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto, Mark Trumbo, Anaheim, Mike Napoli, Boston, Kendry Morales, Seattle, James Loney, Tampa Bay, Billy Butler, Kansas City
Even though there are many good 1st Basemen in the AL, Fielder is the lone backup. Encarnacion is the next closest and may very well get the Jays bid but the need for roster flexibility wins out. The Sox Mike Napoli, who looked like a sure All-Star in April has cooled himself right off the roster.
2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston, Howie Kendrick, Anaheim
Pedey has been arguably the best 2nd Baseman in the AL and is a shoe-in for the All-Star roster. Kendrick has put up very good numbers on the West Coast and is near the top of the league in average.
3B Manny Machado, Baltimore, Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
Machado keeps the Oriole All-Star parade on track with his high average and 32 doubles while Longoria could possibly be the Devil Rays lone representative if one of their pitchers don't make the roster. There are many worthy candidates left off the roster at 3rd Base, one of those worthy candidates is not Boston's Will Middlebrooks with his sub-Mendozan average.
SS Jhonny Peralta, Detroit
We already said that SS is a down year in the AL and because of that along with Machado's ability to play short, Peralta is the only backup. Peralta has been putting up great numbers to distance himself from the rest of the field. Boston's best bet for an All-Star SS at this point might be the hot hitting Jose Iglesias.
Daniel Nava, Boston, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston, Nelson Cruz, Texas, Nate McLouth, Baltimore, Brett Gardner, New York, Alejandro De Aza, Chicago, Torii Hunter, Detroit
As always there are many great outfielders in the AL. The backups in many ways reflect the terrible need for each team to have a representative as Rios and Bautista are the lone reps from the other Sox and Jays. Gordon has been solid for the Royals despite his recent slump. Crisp has put up good numbers and might get bounced from the roster before it all said and done. Hopefully, Ellsbury or Nava bounce the former Sox for that spot.
Clay Buchholz, Boston, Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle, Felix Hernandez, Seattle, Yu Darvish, Texas, Ervin Santana, Kansas City, Bartolo Colon, Oakland, Max Scherzer, Detroit, Matt Moore, Tampa Bay, Justin Masterson, Cleveland, Jim Johnson, Baltimore, Mariano Rivera, New York, Joe Nathan, Texas, Justin Verlander, Detroit
Hiroki Kuroda, New York, James Shields, Kansas City, Chris Sale, Chicago, Anibal Sanchez, Detroit, Jerome Williams, Anaheim, Bud Norris, Houston, Addison Reed, Chicago, Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay, Glen Perkins, Minnesota, Brett Cecil, Toronto, Tommy Hunter, Baltimore, Jesse Crain, Chicago
It is possible that more pitchers make the roster than the 14 we have chosen. Buchholz, Iwakuma, Darvish, Scherzer, Johnson, Rivera, and Nathan are locks to make the roster. Colon and Masterson are the next most likely to make the roster, leaving Hernandez, Santana, Moore, and Verlander as possibilities to be bumped. However, the others are not really close to being candidates with the exception of Kuroda. As far as Sox pitchers, Jon Lester, much like Napoli, looked like an All-Star in the early part of the season but with his recent collapse Lester has pitched his way into a mid-season vacation.
With a couple of weeks of voting still left and another until the roster selections are complete this roster is very fluid but this appears to be the right combination at this point.