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AL All-Star game roster at the Quarter Pole

AL Catcher: Mitch Garver, Twins

A solid performer as a rookie in 2018, 28-year-old Graver continued to blossom this past year.  He leads AL catchers in average, on-base-percentage, slugging, and OPS while placing second in hits and home runs. By all measures, his catching has been adequate if not sensational, but his offensive production is more than good enough to earn the starting spot in this theoretical All-Star game.

Possible Reserves: Gary Sanchez, Yankees; James McCann, White Sox

 

A.L. First Baseman: Dan Vogelbach, Mariners

OPS+ is one of the best measures of a player´s offensive production because it combines both a hitter´s ability to get on base with their ability to hit for power adjusted to the league average. The current AL leader in OPS+ is roly-poly first baseman Dan Vogelbach. He, like the rest of the Mariners offense, has fallen off since his start, but he is still slugging an incredible .659 to go along with 14 home runs. In a weak AL first baseman class, that is more than enough to earn the starting spot.

Possible Reserves: Mitch Moreland, Red Sox; Hunter Dozier, Royals; Luke Voit, Yankees

 

AL  Second Baseman: Jose Altuve, Astros

By most measures, this is far from Altuve’s best season. He is hitting just .243 with an .801 OPS, a far cry from his MVP performance of the past few years. He is also no longer active on the base paths (1 SB), which has been partially due to nagging leg injuries and has posted a negative DRS (Defensive Runs Saved). Still, he leads the AL in home runs and that, along with name recognition and a weak group of AL second baseman, is good enough to win the AL starting second baseman spot.

Possible Reserves: Gleyber Torres, Yankees; Brandon Lowe, Rays; Whit Merrifield, Royals

 

AL  Shortstop: Tim Anderson, White Sox

This is a very tough group, and undoubtedly somebody will separate from the pack by the time the All-Star game comes around. Right now, I give the slight edge to Anderson, who has combined his usual dual-threat skills (8 HR, 13-14 SB) with a terrific .320 average.  Potentially being the only White Sox representative doesn’t hurt as well.

Possible Reserves: Carlos Correa, Astros;  Jorge Polanco, Twins;  Elvis Andrus, Rangers

 

AL Third Baseman: Alex Bregman, Astros

This continues to be a strong AL third baseman group, but the edge still goes to Bregman. Bregman has gotten better each year since joining the big leagues, but this year he has developed from an all-around star to a big-time slugger. He is second in the majors with 14 home runs and fifth with 34 RBIs. Couple that with his excellent defense and base running and it’s no wonder why Bregman is regarded as one of the best players in the American League.

Possible Reserves: Rafael Devers, Red Sox; Tommy La Stella, Angels; Matt Chapman, Athletics

 

AL Outfielders: Joey Gallo, Rangers; George Springer, Astros; Mike Trout, Angels

George Springer is arguably the biggest no-brainer on either side, leading the league in both home runs and RBIs. Despite not having his best season, Mike Trout still leads AL position players in WAR, so his streak of seven straight all-star appearances and six straight all-star starts should continue. The final spot was between Joey Gallo and Michael Brantley. Brantley is definitely a worthy candidate for this spot, placing third in the AL in hitting while swatting 10 home runs. But, you get the feeling this is Joey Gallo’s year. Not only is he hitting his usual barrage of home runs, but he also has raised his average by 50 points. This, along with his considerable star power and potentially being the only Rangers representative demonstrates why Gallo should be in the starting lineup.

Possible Reserves: Brantley, Astros; Trey Mancini, Orioles; Eddie Rosario, Twins; Byron Buxton, Twins; Mookie Betts, Red Sox; Domingo Santana, Mariners

 

AL  D.H: J.D Martinez, Red Sox

Martinez has been hot all year, being the one constant in an up-and-down Red Sox season. It took a little while for him to get the power numbers going, having only 4 home runs through May 7 but he is hitting them in bunches now with 5 in the past week. His consistent production along with name recognition would earn him an All-Star spot if the season ended today.

Possible Reserves: Khris Davis, Athletics

 

AL Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Astros

It’s been three straight years of Chris Sale starting the All-Star game on the mound for the AL. However, his slow start this year may open up the door for Verlander.  Verlander has continued his career resurgence in Houston, as he’s third in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts. Though it’s not his best season, he’s still been the best pitcher in the AL this year.

 

The Lineup

  1. RF George Springer
  2.  2B Jose Altuve
  3. CF Mike Trout
  4. DH J.D Martinez
  5.  3B Alex Bregman
  6.  LF Joey Gallo
  7.  SS Tim Anderson
  8.  1B Dan Vogelbach
  9.  C   Mitch Garver

 

AL Reserves (Following the rules that each team needs at least one representative)

BAL LF Trey Mancini

BOS RF Mookie Betts

CHI C James McCann

HOU LF Michael Brantley

HOU SS Carlos Correa

KC 1B Hunter Dozier

LAA 3B Tommy La Stella

MIN SS Jorge Polanco

NYY C Gary Sanchez

NYY 2B Gleyber Torres

OAK DH Khris Davis

TBR CF Austin Meadows

TEX SS Elvis Andrus

Trey Mancini has been unquestionably the best player on the Orioles this year posting a solid .310/.357/.571 slash line. Mookie Betts hasn’t lived up to his 2018 MVP season, but he’s still one of the best all-around players in baseball. One of the biggest surprises in baseball, James McCann has been a revelation for the White Sox, slugging to the tune of a 148 OPS+ and providing veteran leadership for a young pitching staff.  Speaking of revelations, Michael Brantley is fourth in the AL in hitting and leading the league in hits. He’s been the best off-season acquisition in all of baseball. Another feel-good story from Houston is Carlos Correa, who has rebounded from an injury-plagued 2018 season to post an 145 OPS+. Hunter Dozier gets the backup nod in a weak AL first baseman class, but he’s still deserving with his terrific .972 OPS.  A utility man through his 30 seasons, Tommy La Stella has already doubled his career season-high in home runs after finally getting a chance to start in Los Angeles. Another guy who rebounded from a rough 2018 is Jorge Polanco, who has gone from an 80 game suspension to the AL-leading hitter.  Though his average and defense leave a lot to be desired,  Gary Sanchez laps the catcher field in power with his .646 slugging percentage. Another impressive Yankee, Gleyber Torres, is vying for his second straight all-star appearance with a .298 average along with 10 home runs.  The MLB home run leader of 2018, Khris Davis, hasn’t been quite as lethal this year, but twelve home runs are still good enough to be the A’s lone representative. A top prospect for many years in Pittsburgh, Austin Meadows has finally broken out in Tampa Bay with an incredible 1.096 OPS+. Elvis Andrus failed to repeat his 2017 offensive production last year, but he has rebounded this year by hitting .325 while already matching his 2018 home run total.

 

AL Pitchers

BOS Marcus Waldon

CHI  Alex Colome

CLE Brad Hand

CLE Shane Bieber

DET Shane Greene

HOU Ryan Pressly

HOU Roberto Osuna

MIN Jose Berrios

MIN Jake Odorizzi

NYY Domingo German

TBR Tyler Glasnow

TEX Mike Minor

TOR Ken Giles

Coming out of nowhere, journeyman reliever Marcus Walden has forced himself into high leverage roles for the Red Sox with a 1.37 ERA in 26 appearances. Alex Colome has been perfect in his nine save opportunities with an incredible .63 WHIP. Another excellent closer, Brad Hand, has been one of the few stars to live up to expectations in Cleveland, going 12 for 12 in saves and striking out nearly 13 guys per 9 innings. Fellow Indian Shane Bieber has surprisingly been the Indians’ best starter, due in large part to his terrific 5.22 K/BB ratio. Shane Greene continues to excel after transitioning to the closer’s role a few years ago, leading the AL with 15 saves without blowing a single one. Ryan Pressly has been somehow even better, not allowing a run in his 21 innings this year. Pressly isn’t Houston’s closer because Roberto Osuna has been just as good, going 12-12 saves with a .42 ERA. Jose Berrios keeps getting better, going 6-2 while striking out more than a batter an inning. Rotation mate Jake Odorizzi is third in the AL in ERA while holding opponents to a sub-.200 batting average. The man leading the AL in ERA, Tyler Glasnow, was in the middle of a potentially historic season before he was sidelined for a month with an injury. He still has done more than enough to earn a spot on the AL’s roster. Domingo German leads the league in wins while provided stability to a depleted Yankees rotation. In a pretty terrible Rangers’ rotation, Mike Minor is the one bright spot, top ten in the league in both ERA and strikeouts. Though the Blue Jays don’t give him many save opportunities, Ken Giles has blown just one save while dominating to the tune of a 1.37 ERA.

 

 

 

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