It’s been a fun and exciting first half of the season. Teams expected to be average (Rockies) are suddenly amazing; teams expected to do well are, well…. (Giants). Some players are maintaining their usual level of awesomeness (Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw), others have come out of nowhere (Aaron Judge).
With all that, there’s barely time to consider making an All-Star team.
But we must. Now, a few things have to be kept in mind:
1. The fans pick the starting position players and DH.
2. Each team must have a representative.
3. Each team gets a total of 35 players.
Those are the basics. You’ll want at least three catchers and two or three people for each of the other defensive positions. And with #2, each team has *someone* who is having a good season.
With that in mind, what would my All-Star teams look like?
1B: Ryan Zimmerman WAS, Eric Thames MIL, Joey Votto CIN, Paul Goldschmidt ARI
2B: Daniel Murphy WAS, Yangervis Solarte SD
SS: Zack Cozart CIN, Corey Seager LAD
3B: Kris Bryant CHC, Nolan Arenado COL
LF: Jason Heyward CHC, Michael Conforto NYM
CF: Marcel Ozuna MIA, Charlie Blackmon COL, Andrew McCutchen PIT, Cody Bellinger LAD
RF: Bryce Harper WAS, Nick Markakis ATL, Giancarlo Stanton MIA
C: Buster Posey SF, Wilson Contreras CHC, Yadier Molina STL
DH: Ichiro Suzuki MIA, Freddie Freeman ATL
SP: Clayton Kershaw LAD, Max Scherzer WAS, Chase Anderson MIL, Ivan Nova PIT, Carlos Martinez STL, Zack Grienke ARI
RP: Robbie Ray ARI, Wade Davis CHC, Kenley Jansen LAD, Greg Holland COL, Pat Neshak PHI
1B: Eric Hosmer KC, Logan Morrison TB, Yonder Alonso OAK
2B: Jose Altuve HOU, Robinson Cano SEA, Jonathan Schoop BAL
SS: Francisco Lindor CLE, Carlos Correa HOU, Xander Bogaerts BOS
3B: Miguel Sano MIN, Josh Donaldson TOR
LF: Corey Dickerson TB, Trey Mancini BAL
CF: Mike Trout LAA, George Springer HOU, Lorenzo Cain KC
RF: Aaron Judge NYY, Mookie Betts BOS, Avasil Garcia CHW
C: Salvador Perez KC, Gary Sanchez NYY, Alex Avila DET
DH: Edwin Encarnacion CLE, Nelson Cruz SEA
SP: Ervin Santana MIN, Chris Sale CHW, Corey Kluber CLE, Jason Vargas KC, Dallas Keuchel HOU, Yu Darvis TEX
RP: Craig Kimbrel BOS, Deltin Betances NYY, Robert Osuna TOR, Tommy Kahnle CHW, Blake Parker LAA
You’ll note that while every team has at least one representative, none has more than four. Each All-Star team also has six starting pitchers and five relievers. Those listed first are my choices to start the game.
While the official balloting lumps all outfielder positions together, I’m separating mine. And even though the NL doesn’t have voting for a DH, I’ve added two just because. It’s not like we’re ever going to see a pitcher actually bat in the game, anyway.
Two choices are a little sentimental. Nick Markakis is in his twelfth season. He’s a solid .289 hitter over his career, and has yet to make an All-Star Team. We should end that streak. And Ichiro is almost certainly in his last season. I think we can find a spot for him, especially since the game’s in front of his home crowd.
Now to go and actually cast my votes.