A new month has dawned upon us again, and Major League Baseball rounds into its second quarter of action. The MLB All-Star Game is drawing closer and closer, and the votes continue to pour in for who will be the people’s choice in the battle for league supremacy — as well as the upper hand in October.
At the online ballot booth, the state of Missouri has been dominant thus far, with four Cardinals and a whopping five Royals leading the popular vote. What’s more, in Kansas City, no Royal starter is lower than Alex Rios (who has spent the past few weeks on the disabled list) fifth-place position. Royal mania is certainly still running wild on the Missouri/Kansas border.
However, here at The Sports Fan Journal, the job of waving off the fanfare and declaring the truly most deserving players in the game to comprise an All-Star roster continues. In last month’s listing, 2015’s “Way Too Early” ASG teams debuted. Now a month later, they are still surprisingly intact. Of the May groups, only one starter has changed in the National League. And while the American League contingent has undergone slightly more changes, in many cases it is just reserves moving up to starting and those previous starters sliding down to reserve status.
This means the status quo for the season is settling in, and before next month’s listing of the actual picks for the Midsummer Classic, which takes place July 14 at The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, here are the rules for the selections to follow — which model the true format of the game:
So with two months in the books and a third underway, here is what the MLB All-Star teams should look like if the game took place today.
Catcher — Buster Posey, Giants
The standard bearer keeps on fulfilling his job description behind the plate. Posey is checking in with a healthy .291/.366/.453 split, while driving in 27 runs already. And considering he’s a second-half performer, Buster is in range to launch himself back into another MVP race if the Giants stay in the mix.
Backup: Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers
First Base — Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Think about this for a second (and I challenge you to disprove it): Goldschmidt has become the best “best hitter in his league” that nobody talks enough about — in at least the last 30 years. He is currently on pace to top 50 home runs, 140 runs, 120 runs scored and notch a nice .350 average. Even if those numbers come back to earth some, watching him go about his work is an incredible thing right now.
Backups: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Second Base — Dee Gordon, Marlins
It is officially time to declare that the Dodgers jumped the gun in unloading Gordon after his swan dive second half last summer. He leads the league in hitting for the entire season and remains nearly 20 points in the lead pulling into June, while sitting one stolen base off the MLB lead as well.
Backup: Kolten Wong, Cardinals
Third Base — Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
He is the engine that pushes the swarming Cardinal offense and has been a terror at the top of the lineup once again. He is tops in the NL in multi-hit games and is already three home runs shy of meeting his career-best of 11. Carpenter lives on base and is one of the most pivotal plate presences in the game.
Backups: Todd Frazier, Reds. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Shortstop — Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
Last year, it was somewhat of a secret that Peralta was the biggest difference maker of any shortstop that made it to the field for a full season. This time around, his performance is simply too loud to ignore. He is leading NL shortstops in average, home runs, doubles and OPS, while being the Cardinals' primary run producer again.
Backups: Brandon Crawford, Giants. Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Outfield — Bryce Harper, Nationals. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins. Justin Upton, Padres.
Nobody has announced his presence louder than Harper has over the past month, whose 13 May home runs propped him atop all of baseball thus far. Down in Miami, Giancarlo has put on a light show of his own, sending three of his 15 homers over 470 feet and driving in a league-best 44 runs. Upton has set out in making Petco Park look like Wrigley as well, rocking nine of his 12 homers out of his new home and shredding the notion of it being where power hitters go to die.
Backups: Ryan Braun, Brewers. Matt Holliday, Cardinals. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Pitcher — Zack Greinke, Dodgers
The ever-steady Greinke continues to shut down challengers on the young season. He is tied atop the NL in ERA going into his first start of June, while carrying a 5-1 record as well. He has allowed one run or fewer in eight of his 10 starts this year.
Backups: Max Scherzer, Nationals. Cole Hamels, Phillies. Michael Wacha, Cardinals. Shelby Miller, Braves. Matt Harvey, Mets. Gerrit Cole, Pirates. A.J. Burnett, Pirates. Tony Watson, Pirates. Jake Arrieta, Cubs. Madison Bumgarner, Giants. James Shields, Padres. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals. Drew Storen, Nationals. Jeurys Familia, Mets
Catcher — Stephen Vogt, Athletics
He started hitting … then kept hitting … and still has not stopped. Vogt is carrying a .322 average into June along with an on-base percentage north of .400. Amid a rough transitional year in the Bay, he has been the most recent in the line of out-of-nowhere impact guys to done the green and gold.
Backup: Salvador Perez, Royals
First Base — Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Miggy has been doing his strongest work in driving any Tigers team in his career this year. Despite downturns all around him in the lineup, he has Detroit firmly in the AL Central race, while checking in his usual spots within the top 10 of everything that can be done with a bat in one’s hands.
Backup: Eric Hosmer, Royals. Jose Abreu, White Sox
Second Base — Jason Kipnis, Indians
Before May of 2015, there had been only two players ever to rack up 50 hits, 30 runs scored and a .400 average in one month. Those players are Ty Cobb and Al Simmons, two of the greatest Hall of Famers of all time. And now, Kipnis joins them in reaching those levels. Solid month’s work, I would say.
Backup: Jose Altuve, Astros. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Third Base — Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
The run-producing machine is back to his usual tricks, as he is tied atop the AL in RBI thus far. Donaldson has also hit seven more home runs and slugged at over a 100-point difference than any other AL third-sacker. He has overcome the game and affirmed himself as the best third baseman in baseball.
Backup: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Shortstop — Jose Iglesias, Tigers
It has not been a banner year in any way for AL shortstops, but Iglesias’ return has been a revelation of sorts along the way. Already considered one of the top gloves in the game, he has added the element of not being a liability at the plate as well to his defensive wizardry, hitting .338 over his first 40+ games.
Backup: Marcus Semien, Athletics
Outfield — Nelson Cruz, Mariners. Mike Trout, Angels. Lorenzo Cain, Royals
Nelson “Momma, There Goes That Man Again” Cruz has once again opened the year with a total disregard for the boundaries set by outfield walls. His 18 homers are tied for the top total in the game, and he also is checking in within the top three of the other Triple Crown categories. Cain has earned his way into the mix as well, being one of the most underrated all-around performers in the game (.298 average, nine steals, unlimited outfield range yet again). And well, of course there’s that Trout guy.
Backups: Adam Jones, Orioles. Michael Brantley, Indians. Alex Gordon, Royals
Designated Hitter — Prince Fielder, Rangers
The Prince is making up for time lost. The AL’s top hitter by average at a ridiculous .359, he has also begun bringing his power stroke back as well, ripping nine May homers after only managing one in April. Since fulfilling his destiny as a DH, Fielder is applying his craft better than ever.
Backup: Kendrys Morales, Royals
Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, Astros
It feels like it is going to be a back and forth battle between Keuchel and Felix Hernandez all year for AL pitcher supremacy. But as of today, nobody in the game has been more consistently lights-out than the Houston ace. The AL leader in ERA (1.76), WHIP (0.91), innings pitched (81.2) and complete games (2), he is also carrying a 7-1 record and has allowed only five runs at home all season.
Backups: Felix Hernandez, Mariners. Corey Kluber, Indians. David Price, Tigers. Chris Archer, Rays. Michael Pineda, Yankees. Sonny Gray, Athletics. Chris Sale, White Sox. Alfredo Simon, Tigers. Glen Perkins, Twins. Andrew Miller, Yankees. Wade Davis, Royals. Dellin Betances, Yankees. Huston Street, Angels
Hey @cheapseatfan:disqus there's something wrong with this article, might need to edit it. For whatever reason, Andrelton Simmons isn't the starter at shortstop for the NL. Fix that.
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