Tag Archives: Jason Kipnis

2014 AL Central Preview

By: Jon

The AL Central has experienced a lot of change in the past few years and this offseason was no different. The division leader from a season ago, the Detroit Tigers, were able to make the American League Championship Series before losing to the eventual Champions in the Boston Red Sox.

 

1) Detroit Tigers

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The Tigers were one of the busiest teams during the offseason. Over the last few seasons, the Tigers have been one of the most successful teams, but have not won the World Series. This season, the Tigers have a great chance of winning the title as they may have the best team on paper.

Like other seasons, the Tigers offense should be incredibly effective and dangerous. The leader of the offense is their star third baseman, Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is the best all-around hitter in baseball and is rising on the all-time list. If Cabrera can remain healthy for at least 140 games, he will hit over .320 with 40 home runs, 100 runs, and 125 RBI. Although Cabrera was protected by Fielder the past two seasons, the Tigers traded Prince to the Texas Rangers in return for star second baseman Ian Kinsler. Although Kinsler does not have the same power potential, he is a proven run scorer and should get on base at a high level in front of Cabrera. Although Cabrera will not have Prince to protect him, the Tigers must rely on the skill of Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter. The Tigers should be able to continue their excellence on offense and score enough runs to win a lot of games. In terms of defense, the team will have more problems with the loss of Jose Iglesias. Although Jose is young, he showed last season that he is one of the best fielders in the league because he has great range, hands, and a fantastic throwing arm. The Tigers do not have a great defense, which could ultimately lead to their downfall.

Along with the Tigers’ great offense, the Tigers’ pitching staff is one of the best in the league. The staff will be led by two Cy Young Award winners, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Along with the two stars, the Tigers have Anibal Sanchez, Drew Smyly, and Rick Porcello. Although the trio do not have the star power like Max and Justin, they have great potential and skill. The trio must continue their success from last season if they are going to compete for the best record in the AL and claim home field advantage throughout the postseason. During last postseason, the Tigers showed how dominant their starting pitching would become because of their power and ability to strike out opposing batters. The Tigers would have advanced to the WS and possibly won the championship if they had a better bullpen. During the offseason, the Tigers improved their bullpen by signing Joba Chamberlain and star closer Joe Nathan. Along with Bruce Rondon, the new and enhanced bullpen should make the Tigers an improved ball club.

The Tigers won 93 games last season and should be able to win a similar amount of games this season. The Tigers are by far the best team in the AL Central and should win the division by at least 5 games. Without Doug Fister and Fielder, the Tigers will probably lose more games during the regular season without the power bat and quality pitcher.

Predicted Tigers Record: 91-71

2) Kansas City Royals

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The Royals were one of the surprise teams in baseball last season and almost made the playoffs last year. The young Royals’ offense has an incredible amount of talent and should propel the Royals to success this season in the AL Central.

The Royals will be led on offense by Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante, Billy Butler, and Mike Moustakas. The leader of the Royals’ offense is certainly Eric Hosmer. Hosmer took great strides toward the end of last season and became the best player on the team. The Royals are hoping that Mike Moustakas will take the next step forward like Hosmer and become a dominant part of their offense. If Mike and Salvador Perez can become stars and Hosmer a superstar, the team will have a chance to compete in the AL Central with the Indians and the Tigers. The Royals have a lot of good complementary players, but need a superstar to strike fear into opponents and win more games. On defense, the team should be very good and the outfield should be the rock of the team. The combination of Gordon, Aoki, and Cain should produce a great defensive unit because they are quick, have good instincts, and good arms in the outfield. In the infield, the team has a few good defensive players, which will make the team stable.

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In terms of pitching, the Royals have a few questions that must be answered in order to win enough games. The starting staff will be led by “Big Game” James Shields who pitches like an ace and is a good pitcher to build around. If the Royals do not stay competitive throughout the season, the Royals will look to trade Shields because it is unlikely that they will be able to sign him to a long term deal next offseason. Behind James, the team has Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Jeremy Guthrie. The biggest X-Factor of the pitching staff will be Yordano Ventura. Yordano has excelled during the spring season because he can throw heat. Yordano has averaged around 98 MPH during the innings he has pitched this spring. Along with Ventura, Duffy and Vargas will be important for the Royals. Vargas is a consistent pitcher and should be a quality pitcher for the Royals. Duffy has extreme talent and the Royals hope that he can harness his potential and succeed with the club.

If the Royals’ pitchers can meet their expectations, the team will be competing for the second wild card position and win over 85 games. Like last season, the Royals’ bullpen should be consistent and dominant throughout the regular season. Last season, Greg Holland was one of the most dominating teams because he has the ability to throw hard and strike out opposing hitters at an amazing rate. Along with Holland, they have a lot of quality arms in the bullpen that should keep leads. Although the Royals may not outlast the Tigers for a the division championship, they will be in a tight battle with the Cleveland Indians.

Predicted Royals Record: 87-75

3) Cleveland Indians

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The Indians were the biggest surprise last season because manager Terry Francona was able to lead them to the second wild card position. Although they did not have great talent, they came together as a team and went on a great streak toward the end of the season. However, the Indians lost a few players that were important to their late season run and failed to sign people to replace their starters.

Although the Indians do not have any superstars in their lineup, they recorded the fifth most runs in the league. The key contributors for the Indians are Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Michael Brantley. Since the Indians do not have a player that can carry an offense for a month, each player must play at a high consistent level and exceed expectations if they are going to score enough runs to win games. In terms of defense, the Indians have quality defensive players such as Cabrera, Kipnis, Bourn, and Brantley, which will help them stop opposing teams from scoring.

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The Indians’ pitching staff is extremely interesting because they do not have a legitimate ace. The Indians need to replace Ubaldo Jimenez, who had a great stretch toward the end of last season and pitched like an ace. The leader of the pitching staff this season must be Justin Masterson. Masterson pitched well last season, but needs to make the next step and pitch like an ace if the Indians are going to make a run next season. Behind Masterson, the Indian’s have Zach McAllister, Danny Salazar, Cory Kluber, and Shaun Marcum filling out the other four spots in the rotation. The quartet has not achieved much success at the major league level during their careers; however, they must stay healthy and pitch well throughout the season. It is unlikely that they will be able to meet expectations and stay healthy because Marcum was a disaster last year and the other three did not pitch many innings last season. Although the trio had ERAs in the 3s last year, they each pitched under 150 innings and it is unknown if they can achieve the same success over an entire season or the 175 innings each that the Indians are expecting from the three starters.

While the starting rotation may present questions, the relief staff should be the most consistent part of their squad. Although they lost former closer Chris Perez, they replaced him with closer John Axford. Although Axford has not experienced success in the last few seasons, he has experience and should be able to obtain success. The Indians have retained the rest of their bullpen, which includes Cody Allen, Marc Rzepczynski, Vinnie Pestano, and Josh Outman. Each reliever has experienced success in the past and should be able to succeed next season for the Indians. The Indians’ bullpen needs to pitch well because they cannot afford to lose leads. Although they won 92 games last season, it is unlikely they will achieve similar success this season. The Indians are a quality team with many solid players but do not have any stars.

Predicted Indians Record: 81-81

4) Chicago White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox had a horrible season last year as many players had the worst seasons of their careers. The White Sox are in full rebuilding mode and traded a few of their elder, more expensive players last season before the trade deadline. The White Sox have a lot of young talent on their roster and will be starting these young players this season. Although these players have talent, they will go through their struggles and face a few losing streaks during the season.

The White Sox made a big signing this offseason when they signed Jose Abreu, a young Cuban, to a long term deal. The White Sox hope they can build a strong lineup with Abreu, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson, Tyler Flowers, and Gordon Beckham. The White Sox feel that they have a strong core so they can eventually become a playoff team in a few years. Unless the White Sox are a major surprise, they will probably trade away Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, or Alexei Ramirez at the trade deadline because it is unlikely that they are part of the White Sox’s future.

On the pitching staff, the White Sox have Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Felipe Paulino, and Erik Johnson. The White Sox are led by Chris Sale, a legitimate ace and one of the ten best pitchers in the league. Sale is a young pitcher with great skill and has the ability to strike out over 200 batters in a single season. Outside of Sale, the rest of the staff pose many questions. Danks and Quintana are solid pitchers, but they can be inconsistent and occasionally perform very poorly. The back of the rotation Paulino and Johnson are young starters with little experience. Although they will go through their struggles, the White Sox hope Paulino and Johnson will improve with more experience and exposure and eventually become reliable starters in the rotation.

Like the other parts of their team, the bullpen has a few questions. First, the Sox must find a new closer because they traded Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks this offseason. The White Sox hope Matt Lindstrom can become a consistent closer and achieve success again. Before Robin Ventura will give the ball to Lindstrom, the ball will likely go through Ronald Belisario, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Scott Downs, and Dylan Axelrod. Many of these pitchers are unknowns for the White Sox. If the relievers are able to exceed expectations, the White Sox may be able to win a few more games than expected. The White Sox may not win many games, but they will be fun and exciting to watch because they have a lot of young talented players that will be relied on to play a lot this season.

Predicted White Sox Record: 70-92

5) Minnesota Twins

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At the start of the offseason, the Twins were one of the most active teams and signed a few starting pitchers. The Twins, like the White Sox, are in full rebuilding mode and do not have much talent on their roster, especially on offense. Besides Joe Mauer, the Twins do not have many players that the average fan has heard of in the past.

Some of these players include Josmil Pinto at catcher (Mauer has moved to first base), Pedro Florimon at third base, Alex Presley in center field, and Oswaldo Arcia in right field. Although these players have talent, especially Oswaldo Arcia, none of the players are expected to be All-Stars in the future. The Twins’ two best prospects Michael Sano and Bryan Buxton, the best prospect in baseball, are not expected to play with the Twins this season, but should be stars for the next 2 decades. Like the White Sox, the Twins will probably be auctioning some of their elder players during the trade deadline such as Josh Willingham, Jason Kubel, and possibly Brian Dozier or Trevor Plouffe.

In terms of the Twins’ pitching, their pitching staff should be dramatically improved because they signed a few starters to long term deals, Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. The Twins have an improved staff, but they do not have an ace or a very deep rotation. Nolasco pitched well last season, but he is not a true number one pitcher. Hughes had trouble in New York, but he should be able to improve because he will not allow as many home runs in the spacious Target Field. Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey are quality, experienced pitchers and should pitch a lot of quality innings. At the fifth spot, the Twins have Vance Worley. Worley is a young pitcher with potential and the Twins hope that he will be part of the rotation for another decade. Worley has been injured since being traded from the Phillies, but he will not be asked to pitch an exorbitant amount of innings. The Twins have some nice pieces in the rotation, but will need to pitch well because the offense will not score many runs.

In the bullpen, the Twins have a few good options like Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, and Anthony Swarzak. Although these pieces may not be on the team the entire season because other teams will trade for them at the deadline, they should pitch well and allow the Twins to hold the leads they are able to gain. The Twins’ fans need to have patience because in a few years the team should be good once their prospect gain experience and mature their bodies and game.

Predicted Twins Record: 69-93

All pics and stats from ESPN

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The Best but Cheapest team that money can buy

By: Jon

Although baseball is a great game, many players will choose to play other sports because the players are not paid the big bucks instantly. However, baseball players are able to make the most money over the longest period of time if the player is good. Unlike other major sports, baseball players are able to reel in huge pay checks until they are in their forties. The best bargain in sports is a young superstar baseball prospect. Since some players are significantly underpaid, it enables fans to create fake teams for as cheap as possible. There is such a great contract disparity in baseball that a World Series championship team could be had for under $13.5 million.

THE CHEAP TEAM

Catchers

Carlos Santana (27) and Jonathan Lucroy (27)

Cost: $1.3 million

Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana

Santana and Lucroy are two of the best bargain catchers in MLB. Both players are ranked in the top ten in WAR, HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Although both players are set for major pay raises, they are currently making less than $1.5 million combined for this season. Both players bat in the middle of the order and would be the starting catcher for more than 2/3 of the teams in MLB.

First Baseman

Paul Goldschmidt (25) and Freddie Freeman (23)

Cost: $1.06 million

Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt and Freeman were both All-Stars this season. Although they make under $750,000, they are some of the best first baseman in baseball. While Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate, Freddie Freeman is leading the NL East leading Atlanta Braves to a playoff position and a NL East division title. Goldschmidt and Freeman are ranked in the top six in R, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Although Paul Goldschmidt already signed a new contract that will start next season, Freddie Freeman should sign a long term contract like Paul Goldschmidt.

Second Base

Jason Kipnis (26)

Cost: $509,400

Jason Kipnis
Jason Kipnis

Jason Kipnis played in his first All-Star game this season. Jason Kipnis has experienced a break out season after a solid rookie season last year. Jason Kipnis is thought to be one of the best second baseman in the league because he is ranked in the top five in R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Jason Kipnis is extremely under valued compared to the other second basemen in MLB. Jason Kipnis is part of the new brand of second basemen because he drives in runs and can hit the ball out of the ballpark

Shortstop

Jean Segura (23)

Cost: 492,000

Jean Segura
Jean Segura

The 23 year old shortstop has broken out for the Milwaukee Brewers after being acquired last season in the Zach Greinke deal. Like many of the players on the cheap team, Segura played in his first All-Star game this year for the NL. Jean Segura is ranked top four in almost every statistical category among shortstops. Sgura is ranked top four in R, 3B, HR, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Segura has the rare ability to run and hit for power, which is especially rare for a shortstop. Segura is already a star and should improve over the next few seasons.

Third Base

Manny Machado (21)

Cost: $495,000

Manny Machado
Manny Machado

Manny Machado has burst onto the scene as one of the best defensive and offensive baseball player in the league. Although Manny Machado was on pace to break the record for most doubles in a season, he has slowed down, but has still been one of the best players in the league. Although third base is the deepest position in MLB, he has been one of the best because he has so much talent. Machado is top ten in every statistical category among third baseman and third in WAR. Machado has led the Orioles to a possible playoff position.

Outfield

Mike Trout (21), Starling Marte (24), Domonic Brown (25), Wil Myers (22), and Giancarlo Stanton (23)

Cost: $2.537 million

Mike Trout
Mike Trout

The outfield is probably the best part of the cheap team’s offensive attack. Mike Trout is the most underpaid player in MLB. He is the best all around player in the majors, but is only making $510,000. Compared to his peers, Trout should be paid 50 times his actual salary, based upon his play. The group also includes sluggers Domonic Brown and Giancarlo Stanton. When healthy, Brown and Stanton are two of the best power hitters in the game. Stanton probably has the most power of any player in the league, although he is only 23 and is paid less than $600,000. Starling Marte and Wil Myers are two of the brightest young players in the league. Over the last month, Myers has been on fire, 4 home runs and a .352 average. Although Marte could not sustain his early season success, he has been great for the MLB leading Pittsburgh Pirates. Marte has been a great defensive player and one of the fastest players in the league.

Starting Pitching

Matt Harvey (24), Jose Fernandez (20), Patrick Corbin (24), Mike Minor (25), and Shelby Miller (22)

Cost: $2.47775 million

Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey

The starting pitching for this team is easily the best part of this fantasy team. All five starters have an ERA under 3 while having salaries that combine to be less than $2.5 million. Among the five starters, Matt Harvey is the best pitcher. Matt Harvey has been great this season and has been the second best pitcher, behind Clayton Kershaw. Besides for having the most strikeouts among NL starters, Harvey has the second lowest WHIP and ERA in MLB while garnering the third highest WAR among starters. However, Harvey is not the only great young pitcher on this team. Jose Fernandez has pitched great for the Marlins during his rookie season. Fernandez and Shelby Miller have more strikeouts than innings while maintaining an ERA under 3 and a WHIP just above 1. Like Fernandez and Miller, Minor has an ERA under 3 and a WHIP just above 1, but does not have the strikeout totals like Fernandez. Another great pitcher on the team is Patrick Corbin. Although Corbin is not a strikeout pitcher like Minor, he is extremely effective, compiling an ERA below 2.3, WHIP under 1, and 12 wins. This team would lose very few games because of their pitching.

Relief Pitching

Craig Kimbrel (25), Mark Melancon (28), Rex Brothers (25), Tanner Scheppers (26), Aaron Loup (25), Luis Avilan (24), Greg Holland (27), and Drew Smyly (24)

Craig Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel

Cost: $4.18355 million

Relief pitching is one of the most important parts of a team and this bullpen will be great. Besides for having some of the best relievers in the league, every relief pitcher will have an ERA under 2. Along with having great ERAs, most of these pitchers have great strikeout numbers. Craig Kimbrel has been the best closer over the last two years. Craig has the most saves among NL relief pitchers. Kimbrel has 22 more strikeouts than innings pitch, an ERA under 1.35, and a WHIP under 0.95. Mark Melancon has been one of the best relievers in the league, although he had to switch his relief positions. Mark has the lowest ERA, 0.88, among relievers, who has pitched over 38 games. Along with a  great ERA, Mark does not allow batters to reach base, 0.86 WHIP. Rex Brothers and Luis Avilan are great relievers and each have an ERA under 1.25. Also, they are both left handed pitchers, which is important for any bullpen. Similar to Avilan and Brothers, Scheppers, Loup and Smyly have ERAs under 1.9 and WHIPs under 1.2. Similar to Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland is a great reliever and has the ability to strikeout any hitter. Holland’s stats are great, 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 24 more strikeouts than innings pitched. Batters will have a lot of problems scoring against this great pitching staff.

Total Cost: $13.0547 million

The total cost of this great team is less than half the cost of Alex Rodriguez and about the same as a player like Edwin Jackson/Dan Haren/ Josh Johnson. The pitcher with the lowest ERA is Edwin Jackson with an ERA of 4.65.

MOST EXPENSIVE TEAM

Catcher

Joe Mauer

$23 million

Joe mauer
Joe mauer

First Base

Mark Teixeira

$23.125 million

Mark Teixeira
Mark Teixeira

Second Base

Robinson Cano

$15 million

Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano

Third Base

Alex Rodriguez

$29 million

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez

Shortstop

Derek Jeter

$17 million

Derek jeter
Derek jeter

Outfield

Vernon Wells, Carl Crawford, and Alfonso Soriano

$24 million, $21 million, $19 million

Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells

Starting Pitchers

Cliff Lee, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, and Zach Greinke

$25 million, $24.644 million, $24.285 million, $22.25 million, $21 million

Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee

Closer

Jonathan Papelbon

$13 million

Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon

Total Cost: $301.304 million

This astronomical number is only for 15. Thus, the average for eah player is 20 million, which is more than the whole team that I highlighted above. It is crazy how fast players can earn money in the MLB if they are talented. This “magnificent” has had a great year so far.

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com

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