Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MLB All-Stars...My Review of the Teams...AL first

As the title says, I'm going to be writing my review of the All-Star teams. Basically, I'll list the elected starter at each position and the person that I think should be at that position, and then give an explanation. Today is American League day. National League will come tomorrow or the next day.

American League

Joe Mauer-Twins
Should have been: Mauer, easily
Joe Mauer is clearly the starter at catcher for the American League. He is the heart and soul of a surging Twins team, and he has the stats to back it up. He is 2nd in the AL in batting average, and on base percentage, and he only strikes out once every 12 at bats. Also, he's fourth amongst his fellow catchers in fielding percentage, with only 2 errors in 443 chances.
Runner-Up: Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay

First Base
Kevin Youkilis-Red Sox
Should have been: Justin Morneau-Twins
This really could be a toss-up, but Morneau is the pick here. Youk has had a great season thus far, but Morneau leads him in batting average, RBI and hits and has more walks with less strike outs. Youk leads him in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs, but Morneau's wins just seem a little bigger. Finally, their fielding percentages are almost identical with Morneau committing two errors in 730 chances and Youkilis having one in 542 attempts. It's a toss-up but Morneau gets the nod.
Runner-Up: Youkilis

Second Base
Dustin Pedroia-Red Sox
Should have been: Ian Kinsler-Rangers
Are you kidding me?? This isn't even close. Pedroia is a great player, but Ian Kinsler is having a season no other second base is even close to. He leads the entire American League in batting average, hits and runs, is second in doubles and fifth in stolen bases. And all of that comes with Pedroia having the most at-bats in the AL. Another case of a good Red Sox player beating out a great player from somewhere else because of who he plays for.
Runner-Up: Pedroia

Third Base
Alex Rodriguez-Yankees
Should have been: Rodriguez
No one else is even close. After his epic first half last year, A-Rod has cooled down a bit, but he's still head-and-shoulders ahead of the field on the hot corner. He's fourth in the AL in batting average and he leads other third basemen in runs, RBI and home runs. He hasn't had a great season, but neither have the other third basemen. His defense is shaky as ever, but the more solid third basemen in the field just aren't cutting it on offense
Runner-Up: Carlos Guillen, Detroit

Short Stop
Derek Jeter-Yankees
Should have been: Michael Young-Rangers
I understand Jeter starting the last one in "The House that Ruth Built," but Michael Young is a much better candidate. He leads AL short stops in almost every major offensive category. His fielding percentage is eleven points higher than Jeter's as well. Young is just the more deserving candidate.
Runner-Up: Jeter

Josh Hamilton-Rangers
Manny Ramirez-Red Sox
Ichiro Suzuki-Mariners
Should have been:
J.D. Drew-Red Sox
Jermaine Dye-White Sox
As always, the outfield is very competitive, so I chose to go mostly statistical here. Creating an average of ranking among outfielders in the categories of batting average, runs, doubles, home runs, RBI, walks, on base percentage and on base plus slugging, the stats show these three. Really, you can't do much better than these guys this year. Hamilton is the ML MVP at this point, putting up otherworldly numbers, Drew, the perennial underachiever is finally earning his money, and Dye is producing at the levels he has for the last few years.
Johnny Damon, New York
Grady Sizemore, Cleveland

Starting Pitcher
Cliff Lee-Indians
This hasn't been announced yet, but this is my bonus. Lee has been the premier pitcher in the American League for most of this season, and he hasn't even had a great team to back him up. Justin Duchscherer has overtaken Lee in ERA, and has given up 12 less earned runs, but Lee has a better record, has started three more games, has a complete game under his belt and a 9-inning shut out in an extra inning loss, and has almost twice as many strike outs and less walks. He has the resume for the job, and he deserves it.
Runner-Up: Duchscherer

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