Monday, June 30, 2008

My 2008 AL All-Stars


Well my friends, most teams are officially half way through their regular seasons. With that situation as well as all-star voting coming to an end shortly, I wanted to give my thoughts on who should fill out the 2008 teams. I have felt disappointment for years at the questionable selection of these teams and have always felt I should be the sole nominator of players. I adhere to all the traditional rules of selection such as making sure that each MLB team has at least one representative. My NL team will follow in a few days. Here it goes. Let the ripping ensue.

Starters

C-Dioner Navarro (.317, 4, 31)
You can make an awesome case for Joe Mauer to start the game and Navarro is one of many on this list that doesn’t have a chance to be voted in by the fans due to lack of popularity. Like his team, the Rays, Navarro is starting to build believers. The only overachieving hitter on baseball’s best team gets major credit for where Tampa Bay stands right now. His stats are near identical to Mauer’s and you must give him praise for a portion of the success experienced by the Rays’ pitching.

1B-Justin Morneau (.306, 12, 63)
Boston booing commence, but Morneau is my man. The sweet swinging Canadian has led the surprise Twins in their battle for the top of the Al Central. He beats Youk out in RBIs by more than 10 and only is behind his HR total by one. Both have kept their averages above .300 and are comparable fielders. In other words, Youkilis may be close but no cigar.

2B-Ian Kinsler (.323, 12, 50, 20 SB)
Kinsler is just a statistic compiler for a team with one of the better offenses in baseball. He so often leads off for that offense and starts the engine. He leads Al second baseman in every category you see here that I listed. He is the kind of player that makes All-Star arguments easy, but he might not get the nod from the fans due to a lack of notoriety.

SS-Michael Young (.280, 7, 43)
This is a close race and Young gets the nod over Derek Jeter here. It would certainly be interesting to pair Rangers teammates up the middle. Early in the year, Young looked like he would never be in position for this. While the fans will take Jeter, Young should still make the team.

3B-Alex Rodriguez (.322, 15, 43, 10 SB)
You can’t even fathom how close I was to actually putting exciting Rays rookie Evan Longoria. In the end, A-Rod just trumps E-Lo in batting average and consistency. Plus, he has no chance of being voted in by the fans seeing as he was not even on the original paper ballot. Make Willy Aybar an all-star… anybody?

OF-Josh Hamilton (.312, 19, 79), Jermaine Dye (.306, 18, 49), Manny Ramirez (.289, 16, 52)
First, Jermaine Dye is the best hitter on the surprising Al Central leaders. Josh Hamilton is the most surprising performer in baseball and he has emerged as a superstar talent in Arlington. If the Rays would have held on to him, they would be running away with the AL East right now. Hamilton has an outside shot at winning the Triple Crown as well. Manny Ramirez gets pushed for a starting spot by his Red Sox teammate J.D. Drew, but we give Manny the nod because he is the established guy that the team leans on more.

DH-Aubrey Huff (.275, 14, 45)
David Ortiz will definitely win the fan vote to start, but he has been hurt quite a bit this season. Huff is experiencing success he hasn’t seen since his early days in Tampa Bay. I think most people who follow the game wrote him off a couple of years ago. He definitely has a lot to do with a Baltimore team that has a winning record.

Backups
C-Joe Mauer (.321, 3, 32)
1B-Kevin Youkilis (.313, 13, 50), Jason Giambi (.262, 17, 46)
2B-Placido Polanco (.320, 3, 28)
SS-Derek Jeter (.284, 4, 35)
3B-Evan Longoria (.270, 15, 47)
OF-Carlos Quentin (.288, 19, 61), Milton Bradley (.323, 16, 49), J.D. Drew (.304, 15, 48), Grady Sizemore (.268, 19, 45), Magglio Ordonez (.307, 12, 50)

Pitching Staff
Starting Pitcher-Cliff Lee (11-1, 2.34)
After a year of great turmoil, Lee has to be comeback player of the year. Lee was demoted to the minors last year, found is command, and now outshines guys named Carmona and Sabathia in the Cleveland rotation. He leads the American League in wins and is second in ERA.

Rest of the staff
Joe Saunders (11-4, 3.06)
Justin Duchscherer (8-5, 1.91)
Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.28)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 3.21)
Roy Halladay (8-6, 3.12)
Felix Hernandez (6-5, 2.83)

Relievers
Francisco Rodriguez (32 svs, 2.04)
Dan Wheeler (19 holds, 1.93)
Joakim Soria (21 svs, 1.29)

These guys could make their case: Jose Lopez, Orlando Cabrera, Joe Crede, Adrian Beltre, A.J. Pierzynski, Bobby Abreu, Curtis Granderson, Vladimir Guerrero, Jose Guillen, Luke Scott, B.J. Upton, John Danks, Shawn Marcum, Gavin Floyd, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite, Vincente Padilla, Rich Harden, George Sherrill, Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Troy Percival, J.P. Howell, Scott Linebrink, Scott Shields

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