The 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Ohio will be coming up faster than we know it and the persuasion from all 30 ball clubs is in full swing to get their players into the honorable game. Not all of the votes submitted at the ballpark, as well as online, will get their favorite players in the game. Some players deserve the honor to start in the All-Star Game more than others and here is how I would vote for each league, as of right now.
Catcher – Stephen Vogt – Oakland – The 30-year old catcher from Visalia, CA has been on a tear this season for the Athletics. Currently batting .313 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs, he is visibly the best catcher in the American League so far. Vogt is has a slugging percentage of .595, which also ranks him as first among catchers in the AL.
Other Catchers to look for: Salvador Perez (KC), James McCann (DET), Russell Martin (TOR)
1st Base – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit – Is it really a surprise he is the best first basemen in the American League and arguably the entire MLB?? Not at all. Cabrera currently has a batting average of .341 while hitting 11 home runs and 32 RBI. Having an on-base percentage of .442 and a slugging percentage of .605 earns Miggy my vote into the All-Star Game.
Other 1st Basemen to look for: Mark Teixeira (NYY), Prince Fielder (TEX), Jose Abreu (CWS)
2nd Base – Jose Altuve – Houston – The pesky 5’6″, 165 lb. second baseman has earned my vote for starting 2nd basemen in the All-Star Game for the American League due to his knack of stealing bases. After swiping 56 bases in 65 attempts last season, he already has 15 steals in 20 attempts in 46 games. Not to mention, he also has a batting average of .296 and an on-base percentage of .345. Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis does have better batting numbers, but the speed of Altuve gives him a very slight edge.
Other 2nd Basemen to look for: Jason Kipnis (CLE), Logan Forsythe (TB), Dustin Pedroia (BOS)
3rd Base – Josh Donaldson – Toronto – After the very surprising trade that sent Brett Lawrie to Oakland for Josh Donaldson, he has acclimated to the hitter friendly Rogers Centre, quite nicely. Hitting 13 home runs, while driving in 35 and having a .314 batting average is quite good. 26 of Donaldson’s 59 hits so far have either been doubles or triples, which gives his slugging percentage (.590) quite a boost over other players who man the hot corner.
Other 3rd Basemen to look for: Mike Moustakas (KC), Kyle Seager (SEA), Manny Machado (BAL)
Shortstop – Marcus Semien – Oakland – The 24-year old shortstop by way of San Francisco, CA and University of California has been a very nice addition to the Athletics offense after they traded Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago White Sox on December 9th. Having played 85 games prior to this season, he is already at 48. Semien is also hitting the ball exceptionally, with a .283 average while having 17 extra base hits. Not to mention, he is also 7-for-8 in stealing attempts. An on-base percentage of .330 and a slugging of .449 is another nice statistic to add to his resume.
Other Shortstops to look for: Jose Iglesias (DET), Erick Aybar (LAA), Xander Bogaerts (BOS)
1st Outfield – Nelson Cruz – Seattle – After earning the home run title last season with 40 while playing for Baltimore, nothing has changed for Nelson Cruz in Seattle. Unlike Robinson Cano, he has been hitting the ball exceptionally well at SAFECO Field. Batting .341 with 18 home runs and 38 RBI, he is a no-doubt vote for the All-Star Game. The strikeout numbers could be reduced a tad, but other than that negative, everything else about the play by Cruz have been beyond expected.
2nd Outfield – Mike Trout – Los Angeles – After making it the previous three All-Star Games, he should get a nod for his fourth consecutive. The reigning American League MVP from last season, his statistics show that he should yet again win a vote to go to represent the Angels in Cincinnati. Batting .292 with 11 home runs and driving in 25 runs, may seem low for Trout, but is actually high compared to some outfielders in the AL. 8 stolen bases bolster his reason for his vote.
3rd Outfield – Michael Brantley – Cleveland – Even though the Indians started the season off very slow, Michael Brantley was the opposite. He heated up very quickly and hasn’t stopped. Brantley has ripped 17 doubles and 4 home runs in his 39 appearances for the Tribe. With a slugging percentage of .507 and an on-base percentage of .394, he seems to be one of the best outfielders in the AL right now.
Other Outfielders to look for: Yoenis Cespedes (DET), Josh Reddick (OAK), Brett Gardner (NYY)
Designated Hitter – Alex Rodriguez – New York – As much as I am not a fan of steroid use in baseball, I do need to give A-Rod the props he deserves on the season he is currently having. The 39-year old, after being suspended all of last season due to his alleged steroid usage, hasn’t haunted him at all. Currently playing 44 games for the Bronx Bombers this season, he currently has 11 homers and 26 RBI (which both surpass as much as he had in 2013, when he played the same amount of games for the entire season). Having a slugging percentage of .566 and an on-base percentage of .374 is what you like to see out of a designated hitter.
Other Designated Hitters to look for: Jimmy Paredes (BAL), Kendrys Morales (KC)
Catcher – Nick Hundley – Colorado – The hitters ballpark of Coors Field in Denver has become a dream for Hundley. After spending last season in both San Diego and Baltimore, the thin air in Colorado has been a friend. Currently hitting .317 with 6 doubles (one less than all of last year combined), a triple (first since 2012), and 5 home runs, he has been putting up almost career-high numbers at not even the half way marker. A slugging percentage of .504 is also another nice factor.
Other Catchers to look for: Buster Posey (SF), Miguel Montero (CHC), Francisco Cervelli (PIT)
1st Base – Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona – After the way Adrian Gonzalez started the season off for the Los Angeles Dodgers he appeared to be the front-runner for starting first basemen in the All-Star Game, but that ship as soon sailed. Goldschmidt currently holds a .331 batting average, compared to Gonzalez’s .344, but Goldschmidt gets on base a little more than Gonzalez. Even though Goldschmidt does strikeout far more than Gonzalez, he does have the ability to swipe bases, while the Dodgers’ first basemen doesn’t. It’s a tight race for the starting position for the National League, but the 27-year old from Wilmington, Delaware, has the slight advantage.
Other 1st Basemen to look for: Adrian Gonzalez (LAD), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Lucas Duda (NYM)
2nd Base – Dee Gordon – Miami – The speedy son of former pitcher Tom Gordon, Dee Gordon, has been an arguable candidate for National League MVP already. Even though he has no power at the plate, his ability to hit the ball into gaps is impeccable. Gordon currently batting .376 (73-for-194) with 10 doubles and 2 triples is quite an eye-opener. Not to mention, Gordon already leads the MLB in stolen bases with 19 (in 26 attempts). There really is no other competition with Gordon to this point for the starting spot for the home team in the All-Star Game.
Other 2nd Basemen to look for: Kolten Wong (STL), D.J. LeMahieu (COL), Howard Kendrick (LAD)
3rd Base – Todd Frazier – Cincinnati – For being 6’3″ and 220 lbs, he can field the ball exquisitely. Currently batting .260 and hitting 14 home runs and driving in 28 runs is impressive for the clean-up hitter for the Reds. His slugging percentage of .568 and his OPS of .922 are two other notable statistics for the 29-year old from Point Pleasant, NJ. Making diving snags and throwing players out with ease is also another positive trait for Frazier. The only player that may have given Frazier some argument if he was with his team for the entire season would have been Kris Bryant.
Other 3rd Basemen to look for: Nolan Arenado (CHC), Kris Bryant (CHC), Matt Carpenter (STL)
Shortstop – Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis – Peralta who has played in two All-Star Games already, both representing Detroit (2011 & 2013), may earn his third trip to the prestigious halfway marker to the MLB season. While batting .308 so far this season in 45 games, he has added 20 extra-base hits out of his 53 total hits. A slugging percentage of .506 and an on-base percentage of .370 add to his reasoning for voting. Not to mention, his fielding skills at shortstop are quite amazing, to say the least.
Other Shortstops to look for: Brandon Crawford (SF), Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA), Jean Segura (MIL)
1st Outfield – Bryce Harper – Washington – No player has been as noted for his play this season as much as Bryce Harper. The 22-year old left-handed hitting phenom from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been proving to entire baseball brotherhood that this is the player we were anticipating. Almost reaching his career high in home runs that he achieved in his rookie season, 22, he has been hitting the snot out of the ball. A batting average of .331, while having a slugging percentage of .734 is beyond amazing. Along with his bat, his arm, which has made 4 assists this season, needs to showed off in Cincinnati on July 14.
2nd Outfield – Joc Pederson – Los Angeles – The center fielder for the Dodgers has made a very good name for himself as he has hit .257 this season in 45 games. Despite striking out 54 times, he has drawn 35 walks (4 intentional walks). His fielding has also been a very good factor for the Dodger defense, as he has only 1 error in 84 chances (.988 fielding percentage). He has also added 3 assists from the outfield, including one assist leading toward a double-play.
3rd Outfield – Charlie Blackmon – Colorado – The long-bearded left-handed hitting 28-year old outfielder from Dallas, Texas, Charlie Blackmon has been a crucial piece to the puzzle for the Rockies this season. Blackmon currently hits .262 with 7 home runs, while adding 6 doubles, and two triples, the speedy Blackmon also adds great depth in the fielding aspect. Blackmon, who primarily plays center field, has had 107 fielding opportunities while only allowing 2 errors (.981 fielding percentage). Blackmon has also added 6 assists from the field, (5 from center field), and has been involved in two double-plays.
Other Outfielders to look for: There are too many to name from the National League, but if I could name three, they would be: Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), Nori Aoki (SF), A.J. Pollock (ARI)
Do you agree with these selections for both leagues? Have any comments or concerns? Tweet at me to let me know!