Tag Archives: Hiroki Kuroda

2014 MLB Top Free Agents and Predictions

By: Jon

1) Robinson Cano

Cano is looking to be paid for his success
Cano is looking to be paid for his success

The top free agent this offseason is one of the best baseball players in the league, which should allow him to net one of the largest deals in MLB history. Earlier this offseason, Cano and his free agent, Jay-Z, made a request for a $310 million contract over ten years, which would make him the highest paid player in the history of baseball. However, the Yankees countered with a 7 year $160 million deal, which would make him one of the highest paid players in the league and the highest paid second baseman of all time. The 31 year old has been one of the most consistent and valuable players over the last few seasons. In the last four years, Cano has averaged 160 games per season, 195 hits, 28 home runs, .310 average, 105 RBI, and .530 slugging percentage. Cano has finished inside the top six in MVP voting the last four seasons, won five silver sluggers, earned two gold gloves, and has went to 5 All-Star Games. Although people are afraid about giving major deals to free agents past the age of 30 because of past history, Fielder, Rodriguez, Pujols, and Teixeira, Cano will be given a huge money deal by some team. During the first 3-4 years of the deal, Cano will probably play like a player that will earn $25 million per season. However, teams should be wary of giving him more than 7 years because eventually he will be unable to continue his production. Cano has been a great hitter because of his strong quick wrists, but eventually Father Time will slow his speed and diminish his results. Cano needs another team, besides the Yankees, to bid for his services, if he is going to garner a $200 million deal, like Fielder and Votto. However, it is unlikely that another team will be able to pay his contract. Teams, such as the Tigers, Mets, Mariners and Nationals, will attempt to increase the Yankees offer, but the teams do not have the resources or need to give $25+ million to one player. Before the Kinsler deal, the Tigers had a need at second base, but they will need to save money for Cabrera and Scherzer. The Nationals may be the dark horse, but it is unlikely that they will sign another 100 million dollar deal after the Jayson Werth experiment. The Mets and Mariners have already dictated that they do not want to spend a lot of money on one play, but rather buy a few players to fill their holes.

Prediction: Cano signs with Yankees for 7 years and $180 million

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury has the speed and talent to be a 100 million dollar player
Jacoby Ellsbury has the speed and talent to be a 100 million dollar player

The speedy outfielder has probably played his last game for the Boston Red Sox. Ellsbury wants a big money deal and the Red Sox want to give their young stars a chance to play at the ned level. Although talented, Ellsbury will not be able to net a deal over $120 million because their are too many questions about his health. During Ellsbury 7 year career, the center fielder has played in 145 games only three times. Also many teams are wondering if his speed will deteriorate as he ages and loses his legs. However, Ellsbury has top flight agent, Scott Boras, who will sell him as a player similar to Carl Crawford, who was given a $142 million deal from the Red Sox. Ellsbury will be demand this offseason because he is one of the best lead off hitters in a league, which has a few quality lead off hitters. Also, Ellsbury has shown that he can hit for power. During his best season in 2011, Ellsbury hit 32 home runs and drove in 105 RBI. However, Ellsbury has not hit more than 10 home runs in any other season so the 2011 campaign seems like a fluke. However, Ellsbury’s stolen base numbers have been consistent during his healthy seasons. In the four seasons where he played in more than 13o games, Ellsbury has averaged 55 steals, .295 average, 8 triples, 100 runs, and .350 on base percentage. Along with his ability to hit and run, his speed enables him to become one of the best outfielders in the league. Ellsbury has the ability to cover a lot of ground, which he has shown in one of the biggest center fields in baseball. This offseason, Ellsbury will be pursued by the Mariners, Mets, Cubs, Astros, and Yankees. However, Ellsbury would best fit in Seattle. Ellsbury is originally from Seattle and has noted that he would love to play for his home town team. Also, the Mariners desperately need outfield help and some offensive fire power on the team.

Prediction: Ellsbury signs with Mariners for 6 years $105 million

3) Shin Soo Choo

Choo's ability to reach base should make him a rich man this season
Choo’s ability to reach base should make him a rich man this season

Choo is another leadoff hitter that will be paid handsomely this offseason because of his ability to hit at the top of the order. After playing in Cleveland for seven seasons, Choo was traded to the Reds and had one of the best seasons of his career. Since Choo has become a regular starter midway through the 2008 season, he has been extremely durable and consistent, besides for one season. Choo has displayed the ability to bat for average as well as power from the top of the order, which is unique in today’s game. Over the past few seasons, Choo has averaged 20 home runs, .295 average, 20 steals, 75 RBI, and 95 runs. However, Choo’s biggest asset is his ability to reach base. Over the past few seasons, Choo has averaged an on base percentage of .400, which is extraordinarily high for a player, who does not strike out frequently. Choo is a versatile player that can play any position in the outfield. Choo does not have great speed, but is a smart defender and has a great arm in the outfield. Choo’s arm enables him to gun down base runners and play center and right field. During the offseason, Boras will display Choo as a player similar to Jayson Werth. Choo and Werth are similar players, but as the Nationals have realized, Werth is not worth a $126 million deal. Luckily for Choo, he expects to have a lot of interest from different teams, such as the Rangers, Yankees, Mariners, Tigers, Mets, and White Sox. Choo will probably end up with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers have recently traded for Prince Fielder and want to win in the American League. Also, the Rangers must replace the production of Nelson Cruz, who is leaving this offseason in free agency. Choo will fit nicely into the number one hole for the Rangers because they just traded their lead off hitter, Ian Kinsler, to the Tigers for Prince Fielder. Choo’s ability to reach base will give Fielder and Beltre more opportunities to collect RBI. Although other teams will make a run at Choo, Texas is willing to spend a lot of money for his services and will probably out bid the other competitors

Prediction: Choo signs with Rangers for 6 year $100 million

4) Masahiro Tanaka

The Japanese phenom hopes to have the success like Yu Darvish
The Japanese phenom hopes to have the success like Yu Darvish

The Japanese superstar and ace has received a lot of hype this offseason because of his past success. Over the past few seasons, Tanaka has risen in the ranks in Japan because of his recent success and progression. Last season, Tanaka had one of the best seasons in Japanese history. Last season, Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 183 strikeouts. Many believe that Tanaka is one of the best Japanese pitchers in history and feel that his stuff will translate to success in Major League Baseball. Tanaka’s stock has risen because of the success to Yu Darvish. Although Tanaka does not have the stuff and talent like Darvish, Tanaka should be a possible number one or a very good number two in a pitching staff. Tanaka has success because he has a good fastball, slider, and splitter. The closest MLB resemblance to Tanaka is Hiroki Kuroda. Besides for their Japanese decent, they both love to throw fastballs, sliders, and splitters. The Japanese pitchers have experienced success recently because they are one of the few pitchers that throw splitters and sliders. Tanaka is similar to Kuroda because they both throw in the low to mid 90s with their fastballs and occasionally throw into the high 90s. This offseason, Major League teams must pay a posting fee before talking with Tanaka. Many believe that the posting fee for Tanaka could reach $75 million, but it will probably be closer to $65 million. Since the posting fee does not affect a team’s luxury tax situation, teams, such as the Yankees and Dodgers, will be more encouraged to pay for Tanaka’s posting privileges. After paying the posting fee, teams must pay Tanaka’s contract, which will be around $50-60 million. Since the fee will cost around $120-130 million, Tanaka’s services will be limited to the big market clubs. Since most of Tanaka’s money will not count against the luxury tax, the Yankees will sign Tanaka. The Yankees are desperate for top end young pitching and Tanaka will fill these needs for the Yankees. After the Haren signing, the Dodgers have six starting pitchers and will be reluctant to sign another expensive starting pitcher.

Prediction: Tanaka signs with the Yankees for 4 years $60 million with a posting price of $70 million

5) Matt Garza

Garza hopes to be paid like a number 2 starter, although his injury history
Garza hopes to be paid like a number 2 starter, although his injury history

The free agent right hander is in line for a big pay day this offseason. Most people believe that Garza is the best American pitcher in free agency because of his past success a few seasons ago. When healthy, Garza has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball. Although Garza is not a number one or two on a championship team, he can be a reliable number three. Since his first full season in 2008, Garza has not pitched over a 4.00 ERA and was an innings eater during his healthy seasons. During the middle of his career with the Rays and first year with the Cubs, Garza average 200 innings, 175 strikeout, and 3.70 ERA. However, the past two seasons have been a nightmare for Garza because of his injury history. If Garza did not have an injury history, he probably could command a contract, like the AJ Burnett and Anibal Sanchez deal. However, teams will be wary, which will take years and money off of his contract. Also, American League teams may worry because of trouble he experienced with the Rangers during the latter part of last season, 4.37 ERA. This offseason, Garza will attempt to earn a deal similar to Anibal Sanchez, but it is unlikely that he will obtain success. Although Garza will not have the same contract, he should attract a lot of suitors this offseason, especially if Tanaka cannot come to America. Teams, such as the Royals, Astros, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins, Nationals, and Yankees, will be competing for his services. However, the Blue Jays are probably most likely to land the right hander. Garza was originally a Twin before he was traded to the Rays and has shown a desire to return to the AL East. Also, the Blue Jays have stated that they would like to sign a big name free agent pitcher because their pitching was atrocious last season. Although the AL East is a difficult division to pitch in, Garza has achieved success with the Rays and has the confidence to succeed once again. Garza will probably sign a contract for around 75-80 million dollars over 5-6 seasons. Also, Garza is not connect to a draft pick so the team that signs him will not have to lose a pick

Prediction: Garza signs with the Blue Jays for 5 years $75 million

6) Ervin Santana

Santana wants to turn his big year into a hefty contract
Santana wants to turn his big year into a hefty contract

The 30 year old right hander is coming off the best season of his career and will be paid handsomely because of his success. Although Santana did not post a winning season, he recorded an outstanding 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 211 innings, and 161 strikeouts. Santana is similar to Garza because they both have the ability to pitch 200+ effective innings, but are occasionally injured or ineffective. Like Garza, Santana projects to be a number three on a playoff team or a number two on an average team. Over his career, Santana’s biggest asset has been his ability to log innings. In four of his last six seasons, Santana has pitched over 210 innings with an ERA under 4.oo and a WHIP under 1.33, which are quality numbers. However, in the other two seasons Santana was absolutely awful, allowing an ERA of over 5.00 and pitching under 180 innings. If Santana can translate his success from this season to his new club, his club will be receiving a steal. Like Garza, Santana will be attempting to receive a $100 million deal, but it is unlikely that he will obtain that figure. The teams, Yankees, Marlins, Phillies, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Astros, and Nationals that are going after Garza will be looking at Santana as well because of the strikingly close similarities. However, the Nationals will probably be the winners of the Santana sweepstakes. After winning the NL East two seasons ago, the Nationals had a horrible season because they could not hit or pitch well enough to win games. However, they have the finances and desire to make the playoffs again this season. The addition of Santana will relieve some of the pressure on Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, who moderately underperformed last year. Santana should be able to net a deal close to Garza and Sanchez.

Prediction: Santana signs the Nationals for 5 years and $82.5 million

7) Hiroki Kuroda

Kuroda looks like he will return with the Yanks this season
Kuroda looks like he will return with the Yanks this season

The veteran right handed pitcher has been the best pitcher for the Yankees over the past two seasons. The 38 year old Japanese pitcher has been more than the Yankees could have expected, when he signed with them two seasons ago. Over the past two seasons, Kuroda has averaged a 3.32 ERA, 210 innings, 1.16 WHIP, and 160 strikeouts. Although Kuroda has been consistent and very good, he did not pitch well toward the end of last season. Unfortunately, Kuroda may have a dead arm, which could affect his performance this season. Although it is uncertain if Kuroda will re-sign with the Yankees or retire from MLB, it has been reported that Kuroda is leaning toward returning for another season in pinstripes. If the Yankees are able to monitor his innings closer, Kuroda should have the arm strength to pitch consistently and effectively for the entire season. Kuroda is a ground ball pitcher with a good fastball and slider combination. Even during his troubles, Kuroda was able to pitch in the low to mid 90s with his fastball. The Yankees will attempt to sign Kuroda by offering a large one year contract, similar to the last two seasons. Kuroda will be asking for about $18-20 million, but it is unlikely that the Yankees will oblige because of the struggles he experienced toward the end of the season. However, Kuroda may have some leverage because the Yankees are desperate for starting pitching. Currently the Yankees have only two starting pitchers, but CC and Ivan Nova both have questions that must be answered, if the Yankees are going to return to the playoffs. Eventually Kuroda will probably re-sign with the Yankees for a one year deal around $15-18 million. Besides the Yankees, it is unlikely that Kuroda will pitch for another MLB team because he has expressed discontent in moving. If their is a dark horse for Kuroda, it will be the Angels because he has pitched in California and they have the money to spend on starting pitching, which they desperately desire.

Prediction: Kuroda signs with the Yankees for 1 year $17 million

8) AJ Burnett

Burnett hopes his worse days are behind him
Burnett hopes his worse days are behind him

After three disastrous years with the Yankees, Burnett was traded to the Pirates and has experienced great success over the last two seasons. The 15 year veteran has been able to resurrect his career in Pittsburgh, which will enable him to score a good deal. Over the past two seasons, Burnett has been the ace of the staff, recorded averaged a 3.40 ERA, 195 innings, 200 strikeouts, and 1.22 WHIP. Even though he was unable to pitch in the media intense environment of New York, the small media market of Pittsburgh was great for Burnett’s mental health and confidence. Although the Pirates would love to re-sign Burnett this offseason, he has expressed interest in retiring. However, it seems unlikely that the Pirates will be unable to convince Burnett to return because of the money they can offer him. Also, the Bucs have a good chance at having another good season. The Pirates need Burnett because of the leadership and innings that he can provide for a young pitching staff. The Bucs will be putting young players into their rotation and the young players will have innings limits. Burnett seems very content with Pittsburgh, but a few dark horse teams that may attempt to sign Burnett are the Astros, Royals, or Brewers. However, Burnett will ultimately re-sign with the Bucs and lead their young, talented staff. If Burnett wants to sign a long term deal, he could probably get a 3 year 40 million dollar deal, but he probably wants to take it one or two seasons at a time until he retires.

Prediction: Burnett signs with Pirates for 2 years and $30 million

9) Carlos Beltran

The greatest postseason hitter of all time hopes to reach his second WS
The greatest postseason hitter of all time hopes to reach his second WS

The veteran free agent is likely to join his sixth team of his career. Over his career, Beltran has been one of the best players of his generation and has ┬áchance of making the Hall of Fame. Although Beltran has never won a World Series championship, he is arguably the best postseason hitter of all time because he has hit for power and a high average. Although he is known for his postseason success, Beltran is still playing at an All-Star level in the outfielder. Over the past two seasons with the Cardinals, Beltran has averaged .285 average, 81 Runs, 28 Home Runs, 90 RBI, and .493 slugging percentage. Even though Beltran is 36, he still has the ability to play quality defense in right field. Although Beltran can still play the outfield, it would behoove him and his future team, if he goes to the American League and plays some DH. The DH could save Beltran’s legs and enable him to continue hitting for a few more seasons at a high level. Although it is unlikely, Beltran has been asking teams for a four year deal, which would allow him to play until he is forty years old. However, recent reporters have reported that teams are only willing to offer Beltran a two year deal. Currently, teams such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, Rangers, Orioles, Pirates, and Cardinals, are bidding for his services. However, it is most likely that the Yankees will be signing Beltran this offseason. The Yankees have made Beltran their number one priority, since they are waiting on Cano and Tanaka. The Yankees need another outfielder/DH and Beltran would definitely fit the mold. Also, Beltran has the ability to hit in the postseason, which would make him an instant favorite among Yankee fans. Beltran has stated that he would like o play with the Yankees.

Prediction: Beltran signs with Yankees for 2 years and $33 million

10) Mike Napoli

Napoli wants to keep his beard in Bean town
Napoli wants to keep his beard in Bean town

The power hitting first baseman was a great addition for the Red Sox, last season. If the Red Sox did not find Napoli’s medical problems, he would have signed a 3 year $39 million deal, during the past offseason. Instead, Napoli signed a one year five million dollar deal, which was an absolute bargain for the Sox. Although Napoli has posted quality numbers, he has missed a lot of games during every season of his career. Napoli has played over 115 games only twice in his career, but has recorded over 20 home runs for the past six seasons. Although Napoli is a good power hitter, he does not hit for average. Besides for his 2011 season where he hit .320, Napoli has never hit over .273 in a season. Last season, Napoli posted his second best season of his career, which should enable him to net a multiyear deal this offseason. Napoli hit .259, 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 79 runs, and .360 on base percentage. Although Napoli does not play great defenses, he is a clutch player and racked up numerous big hits while leading the Red Sox to the World Series title. However, last season, Napoli had his best defensive campaign of his career at first base. This offseason, Napoli will be wanting a deal similar to the deal he received last season, before failing the physical. Besides the Red Sox, the Orioles, Royals, Rangers, Mariners, and Twins have expressed interest in Napoli because of the offense he can provide to a team. However, it is likely that Napoli will remain with the Red Sox because he fits their needs. Since the Red Sox will be losing Jacoby Ellsbury, they need to find and retain offense, in order to repeat next season. Napoli’s right handed bat is perfect for Fenway Park, so they should be able to repeat his numbers from last season. Others will try to pry Napoli, but he loved his season with the Red Sox and his beard will perfectly with the other players.

Prediction: Napoli signs with the Red Sox for 3 years and $45 million

Info from MLBtraderumor, mlbbaseballreference, and espn.

Rating Every AL All-Star by Position

By: Jon

Last night, MLB selected the All-Stars for the 2013 All-Star game in New York. As usual, there are many questionable moves that have create quite a uproar. In this article, I will go through every position and analyze MLB’s decision.

AL

Catcher

Starter:

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer
Joe Mauer

Good or Bad: Good

This was the easiest choice for the selection committee. The AL has some of the weakest catchers in the league. Mauer is having a solid season for the Twinkies, .312/8HR/30RBI. This will be Mauer sixth All-Star nomination and I expect many more in the future.

Reserves:

Juan Castro

Juan Castro
Juan Castro

Good or Bad: Good

As the best player on the Astros, he must be on the All-Star roster. Castro has the second highest WAR, among AL catchers. Although Castro does not have the RBI numbers, 30, he cannot be blamed because for the lack of men on base. Castro has hit 12 HR and batted .270.

Salvador Perez

Salvador Perez
Salvador Perez

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson

Since every team must be represented at the All-Star game, some players, who would be undeserving, make the team. However, since I want Greg Holland to go, Perez will not be lucky enough to be nominated. This is Perez’s first of many All-Star games. Perez is the third best catcher in the AL. Besides for being a great catcher, he bats over .300 and has hit 4HR and 36 RBI. Donaldson is one of the more underrated players in the league. He is having a great season, 6th in the AL in WAR. Donaldson is deserving of an All-Star invitation because of his .319/15HR/57RBI/50R.

First Base

Starter:

Chris Davis

Chris Davis
Chris Davis

Good or Bad: Good

Although I do not believe that Chris Davis should have received the most All-Star votes, Davis has been the second best baseball player this year. Most players would love to have seasons like Davis’s first half. Although I do not expect Davis to continue his torrid pace of .324/64HR/160RBI/115Runs, he will put up great stats. This selection is legit.

Reserves:

Edwin Encarnacion

Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion

Good or Bad: Good

For the second straight year, Edwin is having a great season for the Toronto Blue Jays. Edwin is a RBI machine, knocking in 68 players and hitting in 23 HR. This will be Edwin’s first All-Star appearance. This definitely is a good selection.

Prince Fielder

Prince Fielder
Prince Fielder

Good or Bad: Good

Unlike the NL, the AL is pretty weak at the first base position. Even though Prince Fielder is not having a great season, he deserves to play in his fifth All-Star game. Prince is the fourth hitter for the best lineup in the majors. He is third RBI and fifth in HR, among AL first baseman.

Second Base

Starter:

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano

Good or Bad: Good

This was the most difficult decision for the All-Star committee. Although Cano does not have the highest WAR, he is the only good hitter on the Yankees. Opposing pitchers do not have to pitch to Cano because the Yankee lineup is not deep or dangerous. Cano is leading AL second baseman in RBI, HR, and Slugging and the difference is not very close. Cano plays great defense as well.

Reserve:

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia

Good or Bad: Good

This year, Pedroia has returned to his MVP form. Although Dustin does not have much power, 5 HR, he is leading second baseman in AVG, OPS, and WAR. He is the leader of the first place Boston Red Sox. Pedroia is one of the best leaders in baseball as well as one of the best defensive players.

Jason Kipnis

Jason Kipnis
Jason Kipnis

Good or Bad: Good

One month ago, Jason would not be even close to be on this list. Kipnis is top three in many offensive categories among second baseman. In June, Kipnis had a great month, .419/4HR/25RBI/9SB. This great mont, along with the success he experienced last year, made him a good All-Star selection.

Shortstop

Starter:

JJ Hardy

JJ Hardy
JJ Hardy

Good or Bad: Good selection, Bad starter

Hardy is a great defensive player with exceptional power for a shortstop. Hardy has the most HR, 15, and RBI, 46, among AL shortstops. He is a great defensive player, won the Gold Glove award last season. He is one of the defensive and offensive leaders for the Baltimore Orioles.

Reserve:

Jhonny Peralta

Jhonny Peralta
Jhonny Peralta

Good or Bad: Should have been starter

Jhonny Peralta is one of the most underrated shortstops in all of baseball. Peralta, although not a great defensive player, is an exceptional offensive player for one of the best offenses in baseball. Peralta is beating Hardy in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Thus he should be the starter for the All-Star game.

Third Base

Starter:

Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera

Good or Bad: Good

Currently the best hitter in MLB and one of the best hitters in MLB history, Cabrera may win the Triple Crown for the second straight year in a row, the first to accomplish this feat. Although not a great defensive player, Cabrera makes up for all his miscues by his great hitting.

Reserve:

Manny Machado

Manny Machado
Manny Machado

Good or Bad: Good

After watching Machado play two series against the Yankees, I am determined that he will be the best player in baseball at one time during his career. Machado has every tool and attribute a Hall of Famer must have. Although he is not playing his natural position, Machado is one of the best defensive third baseman in baseball. Although he does not have great power, 6HR, he is a double machine. He is on pace to set the MLB record for doubles in his first full season.

Outfield

Starters:

Mike Trout

Mike Trout
Mike Trout

Good or Bad: Good

Trout is the best all around player in baseball and he is only 21. Trout is leading AL outfielders in AVG, hits, Runs, OBP, and WAR. Although Trout started the season slowly, batting .261 in April, he has exploded since April and returned to his great stats and play. Currently there is no better outfielder in baseball so this was an easy choice

Adam Jones

Adam Jones
Adam Jones

Good or Bad: Good

The All-Star outfielder is having another good season for the Baltimore Orioles. Jones is one of the best power hitting outfielders in the American League. Jones is ranked top five in the AL in H, R, RBI, HR, and SLG. Along with his great power, Jones is fast which enables him to steal bases, 9, and play a great centerfield for Baltimore. This was a solid selection by the committee.

Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista

Good or Bad: Good

Although Bautista is not having his best season of his career, he is one of the best power hitters in the league. Although he does not have a great batting average, .261, he is top three in runs, home runs, slugging, on base percentage, and WAR. After Bautista, the AL outfielder position is weak so the Bautista decision is validated.

Reserve:

Nelson Cruz

Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz

Good or Bad: Good

Although Nelson is not a great defensive player nor a great average hitter, .275, he is a great power hitter, who can drive in a lot of runs. Besides for having the third best OPS, he has the most home runs and RBI in the AL as well as the second highest slugging. Cruz was deserving of an All-Star reserve spot.

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter
Torii Hunter

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava
Daniel Nava

Although Torii Hunter is an all-time defensive player and a solid offensive player, he did not deserve to go to New York for the All-Star game. Although Hunter started the season hot, .370 AVG, his average significantly dipped to .309. Nava is an underrated player, who put up great stats for the Red Sox during the first half of the season. Nava has more HR, RBI, Runs, and a higher OPS, SLG, OPB, and WAR than Torii Hunter. As the stats depict, Nava has been a better player, during the first half of the season, than Torii Hunter.

Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon
Alex Gordon

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury

Although Gordon is a good baseball player, I believe that Jacoby Ellsbury is a better player and a better fit for the All-Star team. Gordon is a really good player, Gold Glove winner and accumulating .293/9HR/46RBI. Although Ellsbury does not have great power, he is a very good player because of his speed. Ellsbury is leading the league in steals, 36, while batting .301 and scored 55 runs. Ellsbury has a better WAR than Gordon, 3.1 vs 2.5. Although Ellsbury is not a slam dunk pick, I believe Gordon should have been replaced by Ellsbury.

Ben Zobrist

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria

This was the worst All-Star selection by far. Although Zobrist is a nice player, he is not deserving of an All-Star appearance. Zobrist has the 49th highest WAR in the American League, behind Brian Dozier, Aaron Hicks, and Eric Sogard. Zobrist’s stats are not impressive, .262/5HR/45RBI/45R. Longoria should have been on this All-Star team. Longoria is tied for the 9th highest WAR in the AL. Longoria plays great defense as well as a great offense player. Evan hit .289/17HR/49RBI/53R. Longoria should easily have been on this team.

Pitchers

Starting Pitchers:

Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz
Clay Buchholz

Good or Bad: Good

Although Clay has only pitched 84.1 innings and 12 games, he has been extremely effective. Although he has not pitched enough innings for his ERA to count, Clay has a 1.71 ERA and has not lost, 9-0. He will probably not be able to pitch in the game because of his back injury. However if he can pitch, he will definitely be deserving of this honor.

Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon

Good or Bad: Good

Bartolo Colon has been extremely effective for the Oakland A’s this season. Colon has a 2.78 ERA, 11 wins, 3.1 WAR, and 1.10 WHIP. Although Colon is not a strikeout pitcher, Colon has used his great stuff and movement to get out batters. A’s should be thankful for Colon’s first half production because he will not be able to replicate his performance.

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish

Good or Bad: Good

Darvish is one of the most dominant pitchers in the league based upon his strikeout totals. Darvish is leading the AL in strikeouts by 18 batters. Darvish is having a great season for the Texas Rangers, 3.02 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 3.2 WAR. Darvish has some of the best stuff in the league, which enables him to dominate hitters and be worthy of an All-Star appearance.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez
Felix Hernandez

Good or Bad: Good

Although Hernandez has been one of the best pitchers in the AL, he may not be having the best first half on his own team. Hernandez is tied for third in WAR, 3.8, eighth highest WHIP, 1.11, and the second lowest ERA, 2.69. Hernandez is fourth in strikeouts because of his dynamic fastball, curveball, and slider combination

Hisashi Iwakuma

Hisashi Iwakuma
Hisashi Iwakuma

Good or Bad: Good

Similar to Colon, Hisashi is not a strikeout pitcher, but he can be extremely effective. Iwakuma is leading the league in ERA and WHIP, while having the third best WAR. Hisashi is an experienced pitcher who causes hitters to make mistakes and swing at balls.

Justin Masterson

Justin Masterson
Justin Masterson

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda
Hiroki Kuroda

Although Masterson is a quality pitcher, he should not be on this All-Star squad. Neither Masterson’s ERA nor WHIP is impressive enough to be on the All-Star team. Masterson’s ERA is 3.78 while is WHIP is 1.22. Although Masterson has the third most strikeouts in the league, he has seven losses and is 19th among pitchers in WAR. Although Kuroda does not have the strikeout totals, Kuroda knows how to get out major league hitters. Kuroda is top eight in ERA, WHIP, GS, and WAR. He is much more deserving of the All-Star bid than Masterson.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale
Chris Sale

Good or Bad: Good

Sale should be the starting pitcher for the AL in the All-Star game. Although Sale only has 5 wins,  he is top five in strikeout, WAR, WHIP, and ERA. Sale has been one of the most dominant pitchers because of his arm angle, fastball, and curveball. He has been the best pitcher in the AL this season and should be rewarded by starting the All-Star game.

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer

Good or Bad: Good

Although Max does not have a great ERA, 3.02, he is off to a historic start because of his 13 wins and zero losses. Scherzer is a strikeout pitcher and his stats back up that notation. Max is second in both WHIP and strikeouts, which shows how dominant a pitcher he can be. Max is definitely worthy of this All-Star selection.

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Derek Holland

Derek Holland
Derek Holland

Although Verlander has been the best pitcher over the last few years, he is not deserving of being on this roster. Verlander’s ERA, WHIP, and WAR are not impressive, ranked 15th, 29th, and 14th respectively. Verlander is not even top 5 in strikeouts, which is his specialty. Holland should be playing in the All-Star game. Holland has a better WHIP, ERA, and WAR than Verlander. Holland should be pitching in this All-Star game.

Relief Pitches:

Brett Cecil

Brett Cecil
Brett Cecil

Good or Bad: Good

The AL will need a lefty specialist to strikeout some of the dangerous lefty hitters. Cecil is having a dominant season, 0.87 WHIP, 1.81 ERA, 52 K, and 44.2 innings. Cecil has five holds and has been one of the best middle relievers in the AL. He will be a very important part of AL roster.

Jesse Crain

Jesse Crain
Jesse Crain

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Greg Holland

Greg Holland
Greg Holland

Although Crain is having a great season, the relievers on the All-Star team should be closers. Between Crain and Cecil, I believe that Cecil should be selected for the team. There are closers that have similar numbers to Crain, but they pitch in more pressure situations. Pus Crain is presently on the DL. Greg Holland is having a great season for the Royals. Since he can be the Royals All-Star representative, a spot would open for a more deserving candidate than Salvador Perez. Holland is a deserving pitcher because of his 0.94 WHIP and 1.91 ERA. Holland is 20 for 22 and has a hold. However, the best stat is his strikeout numbers. Holland has struck out 56 batters in 33 innings, 15.3 strikeouts per 9 innings, which is ridiculous.

Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan
Joe Nathan

Good or Bad: Good

Nathan is tied for second in the AL in saves with Mariano Rivera. Nathan is having the best season of any reliever in MLB. Nathan has a WHIP of 0.78 and an ERA of 1.40. Nathan has blown only one save in 30 opportunities. Nathan should be the eighth inning man because of the great first half he had.

Glen Perkins

Glen Perkins
Glen Perkins

Good or Bad: Good

Perkins is one of the few bright spots on the Minnesota Twins. Perkins is having a really good season, 20 saves, 0.77 WHIP, and 1.93 ERA. Even though the Twins rarely have a lead, they almost always win if they have a lead going into the ninth. Perkins is a deserving candidate to pitch at the Mid Summer Classic.

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Riviera
Mariano Rivera

Good or Bad: Good

The greatest reliever of all time and possibly the greatest pitcher ever should enjoy his last All-Star appearance. He is having a great season, 29 saves, 1.89 ERA, and 1.29 WHIP. He is the most reliable and consistent reliever of all time, especially during the most pressure filled situations. Leyland should be calling on him if the AL has a one run lead in the ninth.

 

Stats and pics from espn.com