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Updated AL All Star Team Projections

American League Catcher: Gary Sanchez, Yankees  (Previous Starter: Mitch Garver, Twins)

In what was once a tight race, Gary Sanchez has blown away his fellow catchers by hitting a barrage of home runs. He’s already surpassed his 2018 longball total with 20 and has raised his average from an atrocious .186 to a respectable .260.  He’s also improved his defense, cutting down his passed balls after leading the league two straight years. Sanchez might not be the best all-around catcher in the majors, but his powerful arm and bat make him the most exciting.

American League First Baseman: Luke Voit, Yankees  (Previous Starter: Hunter Dozier, Royals)

The American League first baseman group is probably the weakest positional the group in the majors. There are no real standouts, but Luke Voit and his 17 home runs are as good a candidate as anybody. Voit is an amazing story, a career minor leaguer in the Cardinals organization before figuring things out after getting traded to the Yankees. Now he’s on track to start for the All-star game for the AL.

American League Second Baseman: Tommy La Stella, Angels  (Previous Starter: Jose Altuve, Astros)

Another great story, La Stella has transformed from a light-hitting, utility infielder to a bonafide slugger. He’s already tripled his career high in homers with 15 while continuing to hit for a high batting average. With perennial second base starter Jose Altuve missing a significant chunk of the first half, this looks like La Stella’s spot to lose.

American League Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox  (Previous Starter: Tim Anderson, White Sox)

Bogaerts broke out last year, leading all American League shortstops in RBIs. He’s been even better this year. He leads all AL shortstops in RBIs, and is second in home runs, average, on-base percentage, and OPS. He’s also improved to an above average defender and that’s a big reason why he is in the top 20 in the majors in WAR.

American League Third Baseman: Alex Bergman, Astros (Previous Starter: Bregman)

Bregman has been one of the few constants for an injury-plagued Astros teams.  He’s third in the AL in home runs, sixth in RBIs, and third in WAR. He also continues to be an elite defender. Third base is a strong position full of rising young talent, but Bregman is still king.

American League Outfielders: Mike Trout, Angels; George Springer, Astros Joey Gallo, Rangers (Previous Starters: Trout, Springer, Gallo)

Mike Trout is Mike Trout, leading all AL centerfielders in home runs, RBIs, average, and OPS. Springer’s latest injury has closed the gap between he and his fellow outfielders, but an OPS north of 1.000 and 17 home runs is enough to earn a starting spot. The final spot is close, but I give the edge to Joey Gallo. It’s been a breakout season for Gallo, developing from a 3 true outcome slugger to a true all-around superstar. He also brings a wow factor due to his monstrous power.

American League D.H.: J.D Martinez, Red Sox (Previous Starter: Martinez)

Martinez has been slowed by back injuries and is not having his best statistical season, but it is saying something that he is still among the best hitters in the game. He’s posted a very solid .301/.378/.562 slash line to go along with 16 home runs. He also has the advantage of name recognition. A resurgent Hunter Pence is right on his tails, but Martinez gets the nod at DH as of now.

A.L Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander (Previous Starter: Verlander)

Verlander just keeps getting better and better with age. He’s dominated to the tune of a 9-2 record and is currently fourth in the AL in ERA and third in strikeouts. The AL has a lot of good pitchers this year, but Verlander’s track record and name recognition trumps all of them.

The Lineup

  1. Mike Trout, CF
  2. Alex Bregman, 3B
  3. George Springer, RF
  4. J.D Martinez, DH
  5. Joey Gallo, LF
  6. Gary Sanchez, C
  7. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  8. Luke Voit, 1B
  9. Tommy La Stella, 2B

 

A.L Reserves (Bolded players were not on the team in the last edition)

BAL LF Trey Mancini

BOS 3B Rafael Devers

BOS C Christian Vazquez

CHI C James Mccann

CHI 1B Jose Abreu

CHI Tim Anderson

CLE SS Fransico Lindor

KC 3B Hunter Dozier

MIN SS Jorge Polanco

MIN RF Max Kepler

NYY 2B Gleyber Torres

SEA DH Dan Vogelbach

TB RF Austin Meadows

TEX RF Hunter Pence

 

Trey Mancini keeps mashing, hitting over .3oo with 16 home runs. He is the only Oriole even remotely in All-Star contention. Rafael Devers has more solid hits than any other players in the majors, so his already solid numbers could get even better. Always a strong defender, Christian Vazquez has developed into a truly good hitter, and not just for a catcher. Though he’s missed a significant portion of the season, James Mccann earns a spot due to just how effective he has been when he is healthy. He’s hitting .322 with an OPS near .900. Fransico Lindor is basically guaranteed to make the All-Star team, being that the game is in Cleveland and he is enormously popular with the Indian fans, but he has more than earned a spot with a .303 average and 12 home runs.  Hunter Dozier continues to rake to the tune of a .311 average, and will almost surely be the Royals all-star representative. Jorge Polanco narrowly misses out on the starting shortstop spot because he doesn’t have the same power numbers that Bogaerts has, but the AL’s leading hitter still earns a spot on the team. Max Kepler has added power to his already well-rounded games, slugging his way to a .908 OPS. Gleyber Torres has earned his second straight All-Star berth. He’s been one of the few Yankees to stay healthy throughout the season, combining good defense and baserunning to go along with 15 home runs and a .282 average. The Mariners are in absolute free-fall, but beefy first baseman/DH has been a bright spot. He has 17 home runs and a .927 OPS.  Austin Meadows counting numbers pale in comparison to some of his fellow AL all-star representatives, but he’s been a huge part of the Rays fast start with a .961 OPS. Hunter Pence has been the feel-good story of the season, going from being released from the lowly Giants to one of the best hitters in the American League.

 

Pitcher Reserves (Bolded players were not on the team in the last edition)

BOS Chris Sale

CHI Lucas Giolito

CLE Brad Hand

DET Shane Greene

HOU Gerrit Cole

HOU Ryan Pressly

HOU Roberto Osuna

MIN Jake Odorizzi

NYY Aroldis Chapman

OAK Frankie Montas

TBR Emilio Pagan

TBR Charlie Morton

TEX Mike Minor

TOR Ken GIles

 

After a horrendous start, Chris Sale has been the best starter in baseball over the past two months this side of Hyun-Jin Ryu, climbing all the way to second in the majors in strikeouts. If comeback player of the year was decided today,  it would go to Lucas Giolito. One year after posting the highest ERA in the majors, Giolito now leads the league in that category, fulfilling his potential as the top pitching prospect in baseball. Brad Hand has been absolute nails at the back of the bullpen, converting each of his 20 save opportunities with a 0.88 ERA.  Shane Greene has been just as good, also has a sub 1.00 ERA while blowing just one save.  Gerrit Cole has had some rough outings, but overall he has been downright unhittable. He leads the AL in strikeouts while holding batters to just a .202 average.

Ryan Pressly has allowed just three runs all seasons, continuing his phenomenal run after being acquired from the Twins at last summers deadline. Another Astros midseason acquisition from last year, Roberto Osuna, has been nearly as good, pitching to an ERA just over two and blowing just two saves. As much as wins don’t really matter, it still says something that Jake Odorizzi leads the AL in victories. His 2.24 ERA is also an indication of his tremendous success this year.  Veteran closer Aroldis Chapman is having one of his finer seasons, converting 18 of 20 saves with a 1.35 ERA. With Sean Manaea out for the season, Frankie Montas has stepped up as the ace of the A’s staff.  He has an under three and is striking out over a batter an inning. On the finest pitching staff in the league,

Emilio Pagan has been the most dependable bullpen arm. He has held batters to a .165 average and has a 1.35 ERA.  Charlie Morton has been the best offseason acquisition in the majors. He has struck out over 11 batters per nine innings while holding opponents to an average well below .200.  Mike Minor has been incredible for the Rangers, and his league-leading 4.6 WAR is a big reason why the Rangers are deep in the heart of the wild card race. Though he hasn’t gotten many save opportunities with the Blue Jays, Ken Giles has made the most of each one. His ERA is just a shade over one.

 

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