Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 MLB All Stars - The REAL Team

This year’s All Star Game rosters have been announced, but I’d like to tell you what they really should look like.  I don’t take that silly guideline of every team needing representation into account, as my rosters are made up of the 68 most deserving players, regardless of team.

American League
(starters listed first)

AJ Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia

None of the three catchers on the “real” team make mine.  Mike Napoli gets the fan vote, and Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters are the backups.  Far be it for me to defend the asshat that is AJ Pierzynski, but I don’t see how Wieters gets an invite over him; makes no sense.  Saltalamacchia has been huge for Boston.  I’d take him over Mauer and his high BA.

First Base
Paul Konerko and Prince Fielder

Prince gets the fan vote, but Konerko deserves the start and would deserve strong consideration for midway MVP if that award existed. 

Second Base
Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler

Cano is scary good.  He should win this vote for the next ten years.  Ian Kinsler made the team too, but I’d like to see how close it was between him and Jeff Kipnis.  

Derek Jeter and Asdrubal Cabrera

Jeter and Cabrera made the official squad as well, but I would have left Elvis Andrus off.  He’s deserving but was a numbers casualty on my team. 

Third Base
Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre

MLB got the players right, but I’d start Cabrera.  He leads the majors in hits with runners in scoring position. 

Josh Hamilton, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, and Alex Rios

Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, and Bautista win the fan vote, but Granderson didn’t even make my team.  Yes, I see the 23 homers, but the guy is hitting .246, has 91 strikeouts, and has a lower OPS than Josh Reddick, another deserving player left off the official roster.  Trumbo and Trout deservingly made the team, and Trumbo starts for me.  He’s been that good.  Rios deserved to make the official team, and Austin Jackson could have had a legit beef had he not been sidelined for a short stretch. 

Designated Hitter
Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz, and Billy Butler

Here’s my biggest gripe about the AL roster.  How in the hell does Adam Dunn make the team over Encarnacion?  Is it because he has a whopping 2 more homers?  Well he has 1 since June 15.  Did the voters see his 125 Ks as a plus?  What a joke. 

Chris Sale, Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson, CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, David Price, Matt Harrison, Jason Hammel, Yu Darvish

Weaver’s no-no earns him the start over Sale.  If I’m slotting pitchers, I’d run Weaver and Sale out there for two innings each, follow with Verlander, Price, and Darvish for the next two, and then go to the pen.  Felix Hernandez is the only starter on the official squad that I didn’t choose.  Yes, he’s one of the best pitchers in the game, but he’s just not gotten it done on the field this year.  That matters.  Hammel deserves to make the team, and Darvish’s fate shouldn’t be coming down to a fan vote.

Fernando Rodney, Chris Perez, Jim Johnson, Joe Nathan, Rafael Soriano, Scott Downs

Ryan Cook is having a nice year, but I think he’s on the team due to the ‘every team represented’ requirement.  Rodney has had a heck of a season, and Soriano should be recognized for the work he’s done in both Mariano Rivera’s and David Robertson’s absence.  Downs has played both the closer and set up roles to near perfection this season.  I have plenty of pitching on this team, but Downs is more of an All Star to me than Curtis Granderson. 

National League

Carlos Ruiz, Buster Posey, and Yadier Molina

No gripes here.  All three made the official team. 

First Base
Joey Votto

Brian LaHair doesn’t deserve to make the team, but he did out of positional necessity.  What I would do with my team is let Ruiz and Molina handle the catching duties which would allow Posey to serve as Votto’s backup at first base.

Second Base
Aaron Hill and Jose Altuve

Dan Uggla gets the fan vote but doesn’t belong on the team.  Hill has been the second best second sacker in baseball, and Altuve has been Houston’s best player. 

Ian Desmond and Starlin Castro

Rafael Furcal was voted in, but I’d have him third on my list.  Desmond should be the starter, and as much as I’d like to omit Castro, he probably should be in Kansas City.

Third Base
David Wright and David Freese

Pablo Sandoval is one example why the fans shouldn’t vote for the starters.  Let the fan vote get a player on the team, but since this game truly counts for something, allow the managers to determine who starts.  Wright should be the starter, and it’s not even remotely debatable.

Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Michael Bourn

Matt Kemp was voted in, but he won’t (and shouldn’t) play.  McCutchen should and probably will draw the start in his place.  Somehow Jay Bruce made the team over Bourn and Hunter Pence.  Someone please make that make sense for me.  I take Bourn over Pence to give me a late game pinch runner option.  In a close game I’d like to have this guy on the bases. 

R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, Wade Miley, James McDonald, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Gio Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, AJ Burnett

Seriously, Cueto isn’t an All Star???  In what universe is that true?  That’s the biggest All Star roster screw up.  McDonald doesn’t make the team either?  I understand there are tough calls every year, but come on.  No Vogelsong?  Greinke anyone?  This is ridiculous.  Chris Capuano probably deserved to make the team more than Clayton Kershaw.  If I wanted to win I’d probably let Dickey pitch the whole game, but since it’s somewhat of an exhibition, after he goes two, I’d turn to Strasburg, Hamels, Cueto, Gonzalez, and Cain to get me to the late innings.  

Craig Kimbrel, Santiago Casilla, Joel Hanrahan, Tyler Clippard, and Aroldis Chapman

I’d have loved to put Huston Street on the team, but the other guys were more deserving in my opinion.  Jonathan Papelbon should have taken a back seat to all of these guys. 

My Lineups

1) Derek Jeter
2) Robinson Cano
3) Josh Hamilton
4) Paul Konerko
5) Miguel Cabrera
6) Mark Trumbo
7) Adam Jones
8) Edwin Encarnacion
9) AJ Pierzynski

SP – Jered Weaver
9th inning – Fernando Rodney

1) Andrew McCutchen
2) David Wright
3) Joey Votto
4) Ryan Braun
5) Carlos Beltran
6) Carlos Gonzalez (DH)
7) Carlos Ruiz
8) Aaron Hill
9) Ian Desmond

SP – R.A. Dickey
9th inning – Craig Kimbrel

Most Deserving Omissions
AL – Josh Willingham
NL – Huston Street

Willingham really earned an All Star selection, but I just ran out of spots.  It would be either him or Alex Rios, and I feel Rios is more deserving.  Street has been one of the best closers in baseball this year, but, through no fault of his own, he just hasn’t had enough opportunities.  The closers I took have all faced more stressful and meaningful 9th innings this year.  

Wait Until Next Year
AL – Ernesto Frieri
NL – Paul Goldschmidt

You could argue that Frieri should be on this year’s squad.  He’s been electric in his time as closer, but I felt his teammate, Scott Downs, was just slightly more deserving of the honor.  I think Goldschmidt will be the NL’s second best first baseman this time next year, and if that pans out, he’ll be a member of this team for the foreseeable future.

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