CATCHER: STEPHEN VOGT- OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Vogt has had a breakout 1st half, with 13 HRs, 53 RBIs, and a .295 average for a struggling Oakland ballclub. He had a fantastic May, and I think he should get the start over bigger names like Russell Martin, TOR, Evan Gattis, HOU, and Salvador Perez, KC
1ST BASEMAN- ALBERT PUJOLS- LOS ANGELES ANGELS
With 24 home runs and 51 RBIs, my vote for starting first baseman is Albert Pujols. He is a future Hall of Famer and is having his best season since leaving the Cardinals. He has a lot of competition, including Jose Bautista (a DH who plays first base in inter-league games), Mark Teixiera, who is having a great year for the Yankees. I think there’s also a good case for Logan Forsythe, a name that not everyone knows. He’s a utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays who sometimes plays first base. He leads all AL 1st basemen with 7 stolen bases, and has only committed 1 error the entire year. He also sports a .278 average. However, my vote is for the safe choice: Albert Pujols.
2ND BASEMAN- BRIAN DOZIER- MINNESOTA TWINS
While he isn’t having a season like he did last year, Dozier’s cause for the ASG is backed by the statistics. Dozier has 40 RBIs for the Twins this year, and he has scored a whopping 61 runs. He also has hit 16 home runs for Minnesota. Other contenders include the guys who will likely start over Dozier, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. Another possibility that probably won’t happen is Jimmy Paredes of the Baltimore Orioles who is having a very good year but is not going to win the All Star vote popularity contest.
3RD BASEMAN- JOSH DONALDSON- TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The winner of the 2012 Triple Crown, Miguel Cabrera, has a .345 average with 53 runs batted in for the Tigers this year, and I would make him my first choice for the AL All Star team. However, his injury on Friday probably means that even if he gets the fan vote, someone else will start. And I think that person is going to be Josh Donaldson, who has played fantastically this year for Toronto. Other contenders: L. Valbuena, HOU, and M. Machado, BAL.
SHORTSTOP- HANLEY RAMIREZ- BOSTON RED SOX
Even though he was on the DL earlier this year, Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox signee over the offseason, has power and productivity, and they should call his name when they announce the lineup in Cincinnati. He has 16 homers on the year, 43 runs scored, and 39 runs batted in for a team in the cellar of the AL East. Ramirez deserves the spot, and lots of Red Sox fans will probably help him get there. Other contenders: J. Iglesias, DET, J. Reyes, TOR
OUTFIELD: BRETT GARDNER, NEW YORK YANKEES, MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS, J.D. MARTINEZ, DETROIT TIGERS
Mike Trout is always a definite start for the All-Star Game: he was the only non-Royal to have a lead in a position when all the Royals fans hacked the All-Star ballot. But I think that J.D. Martinez from the Tigers and Brett Gardner from the Yankees have the skills to beat other major contenders to get spots starting. Other contenders: J. Bautista, TOR, N.Cruz, SEA, B. Burns, OAK, L. Cain, KC, C. Colabello, TOR.
PITCHERS– DALLAS KEUCHEL- HOUSTON ASTROS, WADE DAVIS, KANSAS CITY ROYALS, GLEN PERKINS, MINNESOTA TWINS
The pitching positions are selected by the manager, not fan vote. And it’s hard to list all the pitchers who will appear in relief. However, my pick to start for the AL is Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros. Keuchel has been phenomenal in his starts for Houston. He has a 10-3 record in 17 starts this year for the first place ‘Stros. Keuchel has a 2.03 ERA for the Astros, and should get the start.
In the bullpen, the Royals set-up man Wade Davis, who has an ERA under 0.30, should definitely get a spot. So should the MLB saves leader, Glen Perkins. Perkins has the talent to become the AL’s top closer, and to get the closer role here in the ASG.
CATCHER- BUSTER POSEY- SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
An obvious choice for All-Star game voters, Posey leads all NL catchers with 14 homers and 57 RBIs for the team. Posey is a fan favorite and frequent starter in the game– usually fans vote for either Posey or Yadier Molina of the Cardinals to be the NL starting catcher. Since Molina has been on the DL and he hasn’t been playing well, it’s Posey for the win.
1ST BASEMAN- PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT- ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Goldschmidt has been playing amazingly for the Diamondbacks. He has hit 20 home runs and driven in 66 RBIs for Arizona in 2015. Goldschmidt’s name should be called on Sunday when they announce the winners. The next closest contender is Anthony Rizzo, who has slugged 15 home runs and racked up 45 RBIs, with 12 stolen bases.
2ND BASEMAN- JUSTIN TURNER- LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Here’s my underdog pick. Justin Turner of the L.A. Dodgers deserves a spot on the diamond playing next to his NL West foe Paul Goldschmidt. He’s hit a grand total of 11 home runs, and he has driven in 37 runs for the Dodgers this year. The biggest challenge for Turner to actually make the teams is overcoming the challenge of Dee Gordon, the speedy Marlins second baseman. Gordon leads the league in stolen bases and average for 2nd basemen. So it came down to fielding. Gordon has made 4 errors this year, while Turner hasn’t whiffed at 2nd base.
3RD BASEMAN- TODD FRAZIER- CINCINNATI REDS
Frazier is going to get a big applause and cheer from fans at Great American Ball Park when his name is called. With 25 home runs, he leads all MLB third basemen, and he has the most runs scored out of all NL 3Bs. Todd’s closest competition is Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, who is 2nd in almost every category.
SHORTSTOP- BRANDON CRAWFORD- SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Finding an outstanding shortstop in the NL this season is hard. I think Brandon Crawford should be the NL’s starting shortstop. He has a whopping 47 RBIs so far for the Giants, and has eleven home runs for the team too. His productivity at the plate for San Francisco is huge, and that should get him into the game in the 1st inning on July 14th. Other contenders: T. Tulowitzki, COL, J. Segura, MIL, A. Simmons, ATL
OUTFIELD:BRYCE HARPER- WASHINGTON NATIONALS, RYAN BRAUN, MILWAUKEE BREWERS, JOC PEDERSON- LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Bryce Harper is the obvious choice for oufield, having taken the lead among all NL outfielders in runs, homers, and RBIs. As a Nationals fan, he is fun to watch everyday, and fans all across baseball should get to see him play. Joc Pederson of the Dodgers has torn up the NL West with his monster blasts into the seats and is one of the best young talents. Finally, Ryan Braun, who used to be one of the elite baseball players in the league, turned it on this year, after coming back from his PED suspension. Braun should be the Brewers’ representative at the ASG. Other contenders, and there are a lot of them: A.J. Pollock, ARI, D. Fowler, CHC, A. McCutchen, PIT.
PITCHERS– MAX SCHERZER- WASHINGTON NATIONALS, TREVOR ROSENTHAL– ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, MARK MELANCON, PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Max Scherzer has got to be the unanimous choice for the starter. He has pitched amazingly in his past few games, including a near-perfect no-hitter. He sports a batting average higher than his ERA.
The bullpen will also definitely include Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals, who has a 0.70 ERA with 24 saves, and Mark Melancon of the Pirates, who has more saves than any other NL closer.
Whoever makes the team, it’s always fun to watch the best players face off in the Mid-Summer Classic.
Did you like my picks? If there was anyone I missed tweet to me @MattsBats or leave a comment.