Friday, June 11, 2010

2010 AL All-Star Ballot

Well, we're already two and a half months into the 2010 baseball season, and after filling out my All-Star ballot, I realized that there are going to be quite a few snubs that I think should be getting spots on the roster. When I go to vote I put any Dodger-bias on the side, but only because of the ramifications of this game that were instilled by Bud Selig in an attempt to make the game more competitive. My ballot also does not follow the "at-least-one-player-from-
each-team" rule, either. If it so happens to end up that way, so be it, but in my opinion, nobody should get a free pass because their team sucks. So here we go...

Statistics for hitters: Runs/Home Runs/RBI/Steals/Batting Average

2010 AL Ballot

First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers 42/18/53/2/.339

Analysis: The fact that Mark Teixeira leads the AL vote in first basemen is an atrocity. I understand the reason he's leading is because he's a popular name, he's a Yankee, and people probably still remember Cabrera from the tail end of last year when he admitted he had a drinking problem and was irrationally violent. But still, Teixeira is barely batting his weight (he recently got his average up to a whopping .226) and has two fewer home runs than Kendry Morales, he of the excessive celebration (sorry Angels fans, I had to go there). Cabrera is currently tied for the AL lead in both homers and RBI and he is fifth in the league in batting average. He is a legitimate triple crown threat, and as such should get the recognition he deserves.
Bench: Justin Morneau (MIN), Kevin Youkilis (BOS)

Second Base: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees 45/12/46/2/.376

Analysis: To say that this is a huge no-brainer would be an understatement. I understand that Dustin Pedroia was the MVP two seasons ago, but Robinson Cano has just played out-of-his-mind ridiculous this season. He leads all AL Second Basemen in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage. He probably won't win a gold glove, but his arm strength is incredible for someone playing his position. He also owns the highest WAR out of any other AL Second Basemen.
Bench: Orlando Hudson (MIN), Ben Zobrist (TB)

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers 41/0/19/18/.302

Analysis: I picked Andrus about a month ago for this spot, and I'm going to stick with him. His defensive metrics have a regressed a little bit and I realize he's not hitting for any power, but he brings the speed and a high batting average. He bats in the leadoff hole for the run factory in Texas and thrives in that position. He has a .385 OBP to go with everything else he brings to the table. He gets my vote to start the AL All-Star game.
Bench: Derek Jeter (NYY), Marco Scutaro (BOS)

Third Baseman: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays 40/11/47/10/.326

Analysis: Unfortunately for me and my fantasy team, it looks like the guard has changed. This past offseason, I traded Longoria for Alex Rodriguez because I thought A-Rod would steal more bases and hit almost the same amount of home runs, but that hasn't been the case at all so far. Actually, Longoria has been everything that Rodriguez hasn't this year. He's hitting for average, power, and hell, he's even stolen ten bases! He's not taking as many walks as maybe anyone would like to see, but to criticize him for that would be nitpicking. He doesn't have someone like Robinson Cano protecting him in the lineup, but he doesn't care. He continues to rake, and hey, striking out 25% of the time is better than grounding into double plays 25% of the time. This guy looks like he's going to post some ridiculous numbers in 2010 and beyond.
Bench: Jose Bautista (TOR), Adrian Beltre (BOS),

Outfield: Vernon Wells, Toronto Blue Jays 37/15/40/2/.297
Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox 39/12/29/18/.309
Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers 19/10/34/7/.327 (32 Games played)

Analysis: Vernon Wells is yet another no-brainer. People forget that this guy was a five-tool player in 2006. He got his huge contract, then just became victim to an array of wrist injuries. This year, though, he seems to have joined a cast of all-but-forgotten players to find their second wind and decide that 2010 is going to be the year of resurgence. The only question is whether or not he'll keep it up, but then again, I've been saying that all year and he's showed no signs of slowing down as of yet.

Another guy that has been touted as a 30-30 player but has perennially disappointed every year is Alex Rios. For years in Toronto, they waited for this guy to finally have his breakout year, and it never came. Last season he continued to look like a player that wouldn't develop even after he was traded to Chicago. This year, his BABIP has risen back to a tad over his career averages, up to .322 from last year's .273 atrocity. The eleven steals is not really telling, as he's always had speed, but he is on pace for career highs in doubles, home runs, and slugging percentage. This might be the year that Toronto had been waiting for; too bad it came in Chicago.

Nelson Cruz...what more can you say about this guy? He's the stereotypical frustrating fragile superstar. When he's playing, he's nothing short of amazing. He has half the AB as anyone who's stayed healthy and still has hit ten home runs and batted .327. Had he stayed healthy, we could be looking at a 40/25 season from someone batting around .315 on the year, and unless he can stay healthy, he's going to fall well short of those numbers in 2010.
Bench: Josh Hamilton (TEX), Nick Swisher (NYY), Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins 32/2/27/1/.320

Analysis: This one isn't as big of a no-brainer as it might seem, especially with Victor Martinez finally showing everyone why Boston decided to keep him around; in his last 30 games he's hitting .366 with five homers and fifteen RBI. Having said that, he can't throw runners out. Earlier this year, the Texas Rangers stole NINE bases in one game off of the combination of Tim Wakefield and Victor Martinez (Vladimir Guerrero had two of them to put that into perspective), which set a Rangers franchise record.
Bench: Victor Martinez (BOS), Mike Napoli (LAA)

Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers 37/13/53/2/.339

Analysis: Since the All-Star Game is in Anaheim this year, the teams will be playing with a Designated Hitter. Since this is a position that can be played all game, there should really only be one player, and there's no contest between Vlad and the rest of the field. His numbers are MVP-type numbers at an age where he was supposed to be slowing down. That ballpark in Arlington has apparently been a hot tub time machine for him, where he's hitting .381 with 10 of his 13 home runs and and OPS of 1.076. He's also nothing short of amazing against left-handers, batting .429 with 2 home runs and an OPS of 1.059. No bench needed for this position.

Starting Lineup

1) Elvis Andrus SS
2) Joe Mauer C
3) Evan Longoria 3B
4) Robinson Cano 2B
5) Miguel Cabrera 1B
6) Vladimir Guerrero DH
7) Nelson Cruz RF
8) Vernon Wells CF
9) Alex Rios LF

Starting Pitcher: Cliff Lee, Seattle Mariners 61.2 IP, 4-2, 57:4 K:BB, 2.77 ERA

Analysis: This is no contest. After missing almost the entire first month of the season due to injury, Lee has been nothing short of dominating; he's gone at least eight innings in five of his eight outings, and has given up only one home run this year. ONE! To go with that impressive resume, he also has only given up four walks this year as well. There's not much else I can say about this guy that will increase respect for him. I just hope he gets the job.
Bench: Jered Weaver (LAA), Phil Hughes (NYY), David Price (TB), Jon Lester (BOS), Ricky Romero (TOR), Rafael Soriano (TB), Mariano Rivera (NYY), Neftali Feliz (TEX), Jose Valverde (DET), Andrew Bailey (OAK)

Final tally by team:
Boston Red Sox: 5
Texas Rangers: 5
New York Yankees: 5
Tampa Bay Rays: 4
Toronto Blue Jays: 3
Minnesota Twins: 3
Seattle Mariners: 2
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 2
Detroit Tigers: 2
Chicago White Sox: 1
Oakland Athletics: 1
Kansas City Royals: 0
Baltimore Orioles: 0
Cleveland Indians: 0

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