MLB “Worthy” ALL-Stars
(Disclaimer) – All Stats and information given as of July 6, 2016.*
Ever since I was young, I have been a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball. Watching the All-Star game each year has always been something I have looked forward to. And I still do. As I have gotten older I still try to make time if possible to watch the game, either live or on my DVR. However, it’s not quite the same. The awe of the All-Star Game has lost a little luster, but it is still the best of the best getting together on one field.
So who is the best of the best? Here are my selections for the 2016 All-Star Game starters! (As if I had a vote). My selections are based on who I think is worthy. Everyone has their own opinion and their own reasoning for why a certain player should be worthy. I will give a brief description of why I made each pick. #AllStarWorthy
So what carries weight? What you are doing this year carries the most weight to me. It’s not the 2015 All-Star Game or 2014 All-Star Game. It is the 2016 All-Star Game. What you are doing now is most important. Now in saying that, I do think a players pedigree and history also carries some weight, but not most important. Other things that factor in are offensive and defensive stats/offense and defensive metrics. Consistency of each player, games played, and team a player is on (meaning how their stats reflect how good a team they are on).
Alright here we go! First let’s start with my National League All-Star starter selections. We begin in the outfield with my picks Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies), Marcell Ozuna (Miami Marlins), and Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers). Carlos Gonzalez plays at Coors Field. Everyone hits at Coors Field right? That is a knock against him, I get it. But to me he is definitely deserving. Look at his slash line…Avg .315 HR 18, RBI 51. He is 2nd in the NL in OPS among outfielders. Marcell Ozuna had a significant drop-off in 2015. Batted .259 with 10 homers and 44 RBI in 123 games. So far this year through 81 games he is batting .314 with 17 homers and 47 RBI. Already bested his total from last season. If you would tell me you would choose Yoenis Cespedes (New York Mets) or even Starling Marte (Pittsburgh Pirates) I wouldn’t argue with you. But Ozuna is my choice. He is having a great year. And then there is Ryan Braun. It pains me to say this but he does deserve the nod. Braun’s stats look like this…Avg .322 HR 13 RBI 44. He is in the top 5 among outfielders in average, on base percentage, and on base + slugging. This year, he is doing it clean. Other outfielders under consideration is Jay Bruce and Adam Duvall from (Cincinnati Reds). Where did Duvall come from? 22 homer and 59 RBI. Been solid. Also, Gregory Polanco (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Odubel Herrera (Philadelphia Phillies) have put together nice seasons.
Now to the NL third baseman. Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies) and Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs) have had excellent seasons so far. Both guys are deserving, both have a track record, and both can hit. The biggest difference seems to be the defense. Arenado is superb at third base. He has won 3 consecutive gold gloves. To me Arendado might be the best 3rd baseman in the game. He needs to start in my mind. Arenado is batting…Avg .290 HR 23 RBI 69. Bryant is batting… Avg .278 HR 25 RBI-64. Bryant is 7th in WAR, while Arendo is 9th. I wouldn’t argue too much on this one either. Both guys are on the roster, and should be. Also, considered; Matt Carpenter (St. Louis Cardinals) and Jake Lamb (Arizona DBacks). Carpenter is #AllStarWorthy. Just not to start. Glad he is there.
Shortstop, Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers) is my pick. He is a rookie that is highly touted and his brother is a solid player for the Mariners. Seager who most likely will be the rookie of the year, if he keeps this up has been the best player on his team. He is 2nd only the Aledmys Diaz (St. Louis Cardinals) in batting average among NL shortstops. Seager is also in the top 3 in homers. Along with Aledmys Diaz, Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies) is also considered. Seager is in the top 25 in the league in WAR in 3.22. Seager has just 67 strikeouts so far while Story has 108.
Another good two-way race at second base between Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) are on fire. Murphy leads the NL in batting average. He is hitting .349. Has anyone been hotter than him since October? What a run he had in the postseason. He leads NL two baggers this year in HITS 110, OPS .969, RBI 56, and SLG .581. Ben Zobrist is batting…Avg .291 HR 11 RBI 43. Murphy has a slightly better WAR than Zobrist as well. 2.72 to 2.67. Yes, Zobrist is a better defender and can play virtually anywhere you want him. But you can’t ignore what Murphy has done offensively. Got to go with him.
First basemen. We have a few options. Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona DBacks), Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs), Wil Myers (Sand Diego Padres), Brandon Belt (San Francisco Giants), and Freddy Freeman (Atlanta Braves). Ultimately, it’s between two guys. Goldschmidt and Rizzo. Once again no wrong answers here. But my pick is Rizzo. I almost picked Goldschmidt. One because I like him a lot, but two, even after the slow start he is having a normal solid year. Rizzo has been more consistent this year, and he is playing on the best team in baseball.
Catcher. Wilson Ramos (Washington Nationals)….Period. This is one of the most cut a dry picks. Ramos has been head and shoulders better than any other catcher. Sure there is Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals) and Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants). But honestly they don’t really deserve it. Yadi isn’t really in the conversation. Ramos leads all NL catchers in average .335, HR 13, RBI 46, OBP .390, SLG .554, and OPS .944. For you saber metric fans, Ramos is averaging almost two more runs than Posey in “RC” (Runs created). Posey does lead Ramos defensively. But if you look at their career caught stealing percentages, Posey just has a slim lead. Posey’s career CS % is 33.94. Ramos in his career has a 33.09 percentage. Posey has better pedigree and track record. He is a former MVP. He has been picking it up of late despite a slow start. But, the year that Ramos is having in 2016 outweighs Posey’s track record and defense. Ramos is the pick for me.
Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona DBacks) is my choice for DH in the National League. To be honest if I was a manager I would put Goldschmidt at first and Rizzo as DH as far as playing the game. Either way I think you have to put Goldy in the lineup. Paul Goldschmidt is batting Avg .292, HR 15, RBI 58, OBP .416.
Pitcher. Hmm. Lots of choices. Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs), Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants), Jose Fernandez (Miami Marlins), John Lester (Chicago Cubs), Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants), and Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets). Really can’t go wrong with any of these guys. All having great years and all are just plain nasty on the mound. Clayton Kershaw probably would have been my pick. But he is currently injured, so I am removing him from the conservation. Jake Arrieta is my choice. And a lot of it stems back to what he has done the past couple of years including last season when he won the Cy Young. Arrieta in his last 50 starts he is 34-9. Wow! This year his ERA is 2.33. Last year he posted a 1.77 ERA. He is 21st among major leaguers in WAR.
Alright, we finished my National League selections. Let’s look at the American League now beginning with the outfielders. Outfielders are usually tough to pick from. Doesn’t get much easier this year with a number of good players. Let me rattle off a few in the conversation. Jackie Bradley Jr (Boston Red Sox), Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox), Carlos Beltran (New York Yankees), George Springer (Houston Astros), Ian Desmond (Texas Rangers), Mark Trumbo (Baltimore Orioles), and Mike Trout (Anaheim Angels). My first choice is Mike Trout. And why not, maybe the best centerfielder in the game. Can’t leave him out can you? Mike Trout is first in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in against all other Major Leaguers. He posts a WAR of 4.98. Among other AL outfielders he leads in Average .324, OBP .426, SLG .569, OPS .994, and Walks 54. He also has 17 homers and 54 RBI. Need I say more? Then there is Ian Desmond. He is second in the outfield in hits with 106 and Average .319. He has 15 homers and 52 RBI as well. Not to mention he has made the transition from shortstop to centerfield almost seamlessly this year. Have to take that into account. He has done a magnificent job overall. He is 15th in the league in WAR. Better than Mookie Betts which is 29th. Then there is Mark Trumbo. If you want to have Mookie Betts in that spot, I would understand it. He has played really well, and I almost chose him. He has been very durable, playing in all 82 games this year. Avg .298, 18 HR, and 57 RBI. But my vote goes to Trumbo. Trumbo has been tremendous for the first place Baltimore Orioles. Trumbo is only batting .281 this year. However he leads the AL in home runs 24 and RBI 62. He is 4th among outfielders in slugging percentage and hits. Trumbo is 2nd in extra base hits and 3rd in total bases. Betts and Trumbo are pretty close on their stats. Both deserve to be All-Stars. But I have been impressed with Trumbo. He is my guy.
Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles) is my choice for AL Third basemen. He leads AL third basemen in Avg .324, Hits 105, extra base hits 48, and SLG % .602. Other candidates are Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays), and Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers). Donaldson has made late push. But Machado has been more consistent overall. Say what you will about his personality and how he plays the game, but the guy can play.
If you were to tell me after the 2013 World Series Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox) would be the starting shortstop of the 2016 AL All Star team, I probably would tell you, “Well, you might be right.” He batted near .300 in the postseason with an OBP over .400. He took a step back in 2014 batting just .240 for the year. Last year he figured it out batting .320 with 196 hits in 156 games. So far this season he is on pace to beat last year. He is batting .332 and is 2nd in the majors with 114 hits already. When he is put up against other AL shortstops he leads or is in the top 3 of these categories: Runs, RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS, SB, BB, and XBH. He has made just 8 errors this year on defense. Need I say more? Bogaerts is my pick for shortstop. Other notable guys are Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians), Carlos Correa (Houston Astros), and Eduardo Nunez (Minnesota Twins).
When you look at the crop of AL second basemen, it’s downright ridiculous. I will show you what I am talking about. Let me give you a few options: Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners) Avg .302, HR 19, RBI 54. Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox) Avg – .308, 102 Hits, OBP .371. Ian Kinsler (Detroit Tigers) Avg .288, HR 16, RBI 52, Rougned Odor (Texas Rangers) Avg .272, HR 16, RBI 43. Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore Orioles) Avg .301, HR 13, RBI 48. Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians) Avg .267, HR 11 RBI 46. Brian Dozier (Minnesota Twins) Avg .254, HR 13 RBI 41. Some big names and some big production! This is second base we are talking about, not first base. Do you think the position has changed? So who is the pick? Robinson Cano? He is worthy but not my choice. There is one guy over the last few years that has produced more at second base….Jose Altuve (Houston Astros). 5’5 Altuve who compiled over 200 hits last season, leads the majors with 116 hits and a batting average of .352. He also has 14 homers and 49 RBI. Did I mention he leads all second basemen with 22 stolen bases? He has to start.
AL First basemen. This was a little bit tougher of a pick. Erik Hosmer (Kansas City Royals) and Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers) are the two front runners. Both have averages near .300. Both have near 50 RBI. And both have around 95 hits. But Miguel Cabrera has been a little bit better to me. Cabrera bests Hosmer in HR, SLG %, OPS, OBP, BB, and Runs scored. Miggy is my guy, Hosmer is a worthy All Star as well.
One position that is pretty weak, this year is the AL Catcher position. Not much to choose from. You have Steven Vogt (OAK), Brian McCann (NYY), and Salvador Perez (KC). Salvy is the clear choice. Excellent defender. Salvy is hitting: Avg -.277, HR – 12 RBI – 37. He leads AL catchers in SLG % and OPS as well.
The DH in the AL is easy. It is the final season in the HOF career of David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox). He will start and should start. It helps he is having an outstanding season. Avg .337, HR 19 RBI 66. He leads the majors in OBP, OPS, and SLG. Other tough DH’s are Victor Martinez (Detroit Tigers) Avg .318, Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto Blue Jays) 77 RBI, and Nelson Cruz (Seattle Mariners) 22 HR.
Now for the starting pitchers in the AL. There are a number of big name guys in the AL. Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) has been better than them all. Sale has an ERA of 2.93 and leads the AL with 120 innings of work. He is 3rd in the AL in strikeouts with 118. Sale has a WHIP under 1 (0.98) and a batting average against of .214. Only 24 walks given up on the year for the southpaw. And he leads the majors with an overall record of 14-2. Other guys considered are Steven Wright (BOS), Danny Salazar (Cleveland Indians), Cole Hamels (Texas Rangers), Aaron Sanchez (Toronto Blue Jays), and Marco Estrada (Toronto Blue Jays).
Those are my picks. Here is a link to the actual NL and AL Starters for the All Star game voted on by the fans. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/2016-mlb-all-star-game-full-al-and-nl-rosters/ Do you agree with these selections?
Agree or disagree with my opinion? Let me know your thoughts! Email me at email@example.com or tweet me @rusty_hendricks
Stats and information taken from: