You may have wondered to yourself ‘who actually votes for the All-Star Game?’ Two sprained thumbs pointing at this guy (it is a lot of typing to go through 25 validation codes).
I’ve always enjoyed casting my votes for the Mid Summer Classic since back when the only way you could let your voice be heard was if you punched out the tiny holes on a ballot at a major league stadium. I can actually remember a few years I’d keep a ballot and use it to learn who were the starting position players for each team in the league.
These days, voting online is the way to go, and having access to the stats while filling out the ballot has clearly helped baseball fans make more educated decisions. The polls closed last night so I stuffed the ballot box at the last moment. Here’s who I voted for in the American League:
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox
You know A.J. is not getting in on the player’s vote, as he’s widely regarded as the most hated guy in the game, but I gave him the nod with my 25 votes. The White Sox are in first place in the AL Central and A.J. leads all AL backstops in slugging (.498) and RBI (42) and is tied for the lead in home runs (12). Hawk Harrelson may be the only person who refers to him as a good guy, but Pierzynski has been a legit All-Star this season. Mike Napoli and Joe Mauer deserve consideration, as well.
First Base: Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
Fielder hasn’t been quite the masher Tigers fans were hoping for, but he is having a fine first season in the AL. Prince is hitting .301 with 12 homers and 50 RBI. There is definitely a strong case to be made for Paul Konerko, but part of All-Star Voting is picking guys you like to watch. Konerko is an advanced hitter, very professional, but I wouldn’t call him entertaining. It is still an exhibition, after all.
Second Base: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
I tend to shy away from Yankees and Red Sox since they always get so much support, but Cano is a no-brainer to me. No other AL second baseman is even within 100 points of Cano’s .580 slugging percentage and he ranks eighth in all of the AL with 18 home runs. Jason Kipnis deserves to represent the Cleveland Indians, but he’s not on Cano’s level yet. Ian Kinsler is a shoe-in to make the team.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
Beltre is one of my favorite players to watch (who doesn’t love seing a guy crush a homer from one knee?) and he’s having a great year (.333, 13 HR, 49 RBI), so this was not a tough decision for me. It should be interesting to see how 3B shakes out for the AL. Miguel Cabrera is clearly an All-Star, Alex Rodriguez will get consideration, Brett Lawrie is in the mix and Mike Moustakas would be a popular selection for the Kansas City Royals faithful.
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers
Derek Jeter is going to start, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I went with Andrus, who is a much more exciting player to watch. Jeter and Andus actually have very similar numbers, with Andrus holding the advantage in on-base percentage (.381 to .354) and stolen bases (14 to 6). He’s also t much better defensive shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera is having another great year, and deserves to be in KC, as well.
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers | Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays | Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
The first two guys are no-brainers, but the only way to vote for Trout is as a write-in. That’s made it difficult for the 20-year-old rookie to make an impact. At this point, it appears highly likely Trout will be selected to the team, but you never know. Other outfielders who seemed destined to make the roster include Curtis Granderson, Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
When it’s all said and done, Big Papi may go down as the ultimate DH. He’s having one of the best seasons of his career, and currently leads all of baseball with a 1.028 OPS. Adam Dunn has had a fantastic comeback season, but I just can’t look past the 121 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
They don’t let you vote for the starting pitcher, but they should. My vote would go to the MVP, Justin Verlander. There’s no one I’d rather see face off against the best the NL has to offer. He ranks fourth in the AL with a 2.52 ERA, has thrown the most innings (117 2/3), ranks second in strikeouts (113) and third in WHIP (0.97). Chris Sale, Jered Weaver, Jake Peavy and David Price all also belong in the pool of pitchers who could start, but Verlander’s got to be the guy.
The MLB All-Star Game Selection Show airs 1 p.m. ET Sunday on TBS. Check out how I filled out my ballot for the National League All-Stars.