Tag Archives: Mike Trout

2014 AL West Preview

1) Texas Rangers

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Over the past two seasons, the Rangers have collected a great group of talented players, but failed to make the ALDS. Last season, the Rangers won 91 games, but did not beat the Indians in game 163 and were eliminated from the playoffs. The biggest deal the Rangers made this offseason was the acquisition of Prince Fielder. Although the Rangers were forced to part ways with Ian Kinsler, one of their best players over the past decade, Prince is a significant upgrade at first base and the Rangers had an excess of middle infielders on their team and in their minor league system. The Rangers have one of the best infields in baseball, offensively and defensively, because they have Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, when he returns from injury, and Prince Fielder. In the outfield, the Rangers signed Shin Soo Choo to a massive deal because they believe they are close to winning a major league championship. The outfield is deep with Leodys Martin, Alex Rios, and Choo. As long as the Rangers’ offense stays moderately healthy, they should record a lot of runs and win a lot of games in the process. Along with a balanced offense, many of the Rangers are quality defensive players, which is necessary in the Texas.

In terms of pitching, the Rangers should have enough talent and depth to win over 90 games this season and win the AL West. The staff will be led by ace Yu Darvish. Darvish proved last season that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball and the best strikeout pitcher in the game. The Rangers need Darvish to stay healthy and pitch at a high level because the ball can fly in the warm climate of Arlington. Behind Darvish, the Rangers have a solid 2-4 with Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, and Martin Perez. Although Ogando and Harrison have been injury prone in the past, they have great talent and will be incredibly important for the Rangers moving forward. Martin Perez could be the X-Factor for the Rangers because he is a former top prospect with a lot of talent. As Perez gains more experience, he should propel to the number two starter in the rotation, if they do not acquire another starter during the deadline, like previous seasons. The fifth spot for the Rangers will be a question mark because Tommy Hanson has achieved great success in the past, but has struggled with his performance and health over the past few seasons. In the bullpen, the Rangers should pitch very well. Although Soria has not closed since his time with the Royals, he has a good arm and has the necessary experience. Before the ball goes to Soria, Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross, Jason Frasor, and Neal Cotts must hold leads in order to win games. Although the Rangers did not make the playoffs last season, they should win enough games and score enough runs to win over 90 games and reclaim the AL West Championship from the Oakland Athletics, who won the division the past two seasons.

Rangers Predicted Record: 92-70

2) Oakland Athletics

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Over the past two seasons, the A’s have made the playoffs and won the division. Although the A’s do not have the most talent or the highest payroll, Bob Melvin does a great job with the team and the team has exceeded expectations. This offseason, the A’s made a few minor moves, but their offense will predominantly remain the same next season. In the infield, the A’s will be starting Branden Moss, Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie, and Josh Donaldson. Last season, Donaldson had a career year and bursted onto the scene because he hit and played great defense. Donaldson needs to repeat his performance as a hitter this season. Moss was impressive for the Athletics because he has a big bat and is a great power hitter. In the outfield, the A’s have Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, and Josh Reddick. Crisp has been great for the A’s the lsat few seasons because he is an experienced hitter and is a quality top of the order hitter. Since Cespedes came to the US, he has been one of the best hitters in the AL because he has great talent and has used his raw power to crush balls out of the ballpark.

Although Oakland has established hitters, their pitching will be a major question mark this season because the pitchers do not have experience and a lot of MLB success. The ace of the staff will be Sonny Gray. Although Sonny has a lot of talent and exceeded in the past, he has not achieved greatness at the major league level and it is unclear if he will be able to lead the staff to the playoffs. Behind Gray, the Athletics have Chavez, Staily, and Milone. The three pitchers have shown flashes of greatness over the past few seasons, but have not been able to break out. The trio will need to pitch deep into games and give the team quality outings if they are going to match their win total from the last few seasons. The pitchers will be able to allow few runs per game because the offense has a lot of talent and power. Also, the team plays in a massive ballpark, which will help their pitchers record extra outs and limit runs. In the bullpen, the A’s should have one of the best units in the league because they have established arms like Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, and Jim Johnson. The trio should be the main pitchers in the bullpen and hold the leads for the teams.

Besides the three at the end of the bullpen, Oakland has Dan Otero, Fernando Abad, and Evan Scribner. If Oakland can receive positive contributions from the other arms, they will have an elite bullpen. Although the A’s have achieved success over the past few seasons with lack of talent, it is difficult to see that they will be able to win enough games in the competitive AL West and American League to make the playoffs as a division winner or a wild card team.

Athletics Predicted Record: 86-76

3) Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim

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In terms of talent and experience, the Angels should have won the division the last two seasons and competed for the pennant and the championship. However, the team has struggled and they have not even been close to making the playoffs. The team has suffered through injuries and funks and has greatly underachieved. This season, the Angels have a lot of talent and should be able to compete for a wild card position in the AL.

The Angels will be led by their offense. In the lineup, the Angels have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and David Freese. Although Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton have not played well since they arrived in Los Angeles, they should be able to produce quality numbers if they stay healthy for an entire season. While Pujols and Hamilton have underachieved, Trout has positioned himself as the best overall player in the league and will compete for the MVP award. Besides the big three, the Angels will need to rely on role players like Freese, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Raul Ibanez. If the offense reaches its potential, the team should be one of the highest scoring teams in the league because they may have more talent and potential than any other team.

The Angels have a lot of question marks in their pitching staff, which may keep them from the playoffs for another season. The top of the pitching staff will be held by Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. Both are constant and reliable pitchers. The Angels need the duo to have great seasons because the rest of the rotation does not have a lot of experience of success at the major league level. The back of the rotation has Hector Santiago, Garett Richards, and Tyler Skaggs. This offseason, the Angels were able to remake their pitching staff by trading Trumbo for Skagss and Santiago, two young lefty arms. The Angels did not have many options for their rotation so they hope that the young starters can learn on the job and succeed at the highest level. If the Angels make the playoffs, it will be because the back of the rotation did not implode and lose games for the offense.

In the bullpen, the Angels have the potential to have a nice unit. At the back of the bullpen, the Angels have Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri. The two have experienced success over the past few seasons and the team should feel confident if they can hold a lead into the eighth inning. The middle of the bullpen may have a lot of problems because they do not have a lot of innings in the majors, which has been a problem in the past. Although the Angels have the talent to make the playoffs and win the division, they have suffered many injuries in the past and it is likely that they will continue to underachieve and finish third in the division.

Angels Predicted Record: 85-77

4) Seattle Mariners

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The Mariners made the biggest offseason move this offseason when they signed Robinson Cano to a monster deal worth $240 million over 10 years. The Mariners have had a lot of money to spend over the past few seasons, but have been unable to lure a free agent to the team. Over the past few seasons, the Mariners’ offense has been atrocious and mediocre, but they believe they will take a step forward this season. Along with Cano, the lineup has former top prospects like Justin Smoak, Mike Zunino, Kyle Seager, and Dustin Ackley. Although they have a lot of talent and potential, they have been unable to transform their potential into performance, which has held them back as a team. If they can take a step forward, the team, will drastically improve their win total because they do not allow many runs. Last season, the Mariners won only 71 games, but it is likely that the enhanced offense will allow them to win more games.

While the lineup is one of the worst in the AL, the pitching staff may be the best in the league. Although Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijun Walker are on the disabled list, they should be able to return soon and greatly improve the staff. The ace of the staff is Felix Hernandez, who is one of the best pitchers in the league and is building a hall of fame caliber career. Last season, Iwakuma was great and should be able to continue his success and compete for the CY Young, like Hernandez. Walker has been one of the most hyped prospects over the past few season and is ready to display his potential this season. Walker should be a great number 3 while he learns how to pitch at the major league level. Along with Walker, Paxton should be able to succeed at the major league level. Paxton does not have the same talent as Walker, but should be quality middle of the rotation starter in the future.

The rotation needs to excel in order for the Cano deal to be worthwhile and the team to win games. The Mariners totally rebuilt their bullpen this offseason. The new closer will be Fernando Rodney and will be set up by Charlie Ferbush and Tom Wilhelmsen. The bullpen should be consistent and hold the leads that they are given because they have a lot of experience and success in the league.

Predicted Mariners Record: 84-78

5) Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros’ past few seasons have been disastrous and this season should be no different. However, the team does not care about their current record because they are building for the future. The Astros have one of the best farm systems of all time because they have numerous players that should be stars in the future. The Astros should have the number one overall pick which should enable them to add to their depth. The Astros hope that they can be like the Rays and use their young talent to start a dynasty and make a lot of playoffs. However, the Astros are in a bigger market, which will allow them to keep their young stars, unlike other teams that have rebuilt in the past.

On their current team, the offense is led by Jose Altuve, Jesus Guzman, Matt Dominguez, LJ Hoes, Jason Castro, and Dexter Fowler. Although the team does not have a lot of talent, they will be better than last season because Fowler is an improvement and the extra year should help a few of their young players. The team will go through a lot of struggles and losing streaks, but the future of the team is very bright and the fans should stay confident about the future of their team. The team should be excited because they will play with enthusiasm and a few of their players have a lot of talent.

On the pitching staff, the team does not have a lot of talent. The rotation includes Scott Feldman, Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Lucas Harrell, and Dallas Keuchel. Besides Feldman, the pitching staff does not have many innings pitched or experience. Although the pitchers are young, only Jarred Cosart is in the future plans for the Astros because he has a lot of talent and should pitch high in the rotation in the future. Last season, Cosart showed flashes of greatness and shut down some offenses in the major league.

The Astros have a cheap bullpen with many pitchers who are hoping to revive their career like Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Anthony Bass, Kevin Chapman, and Jerome Williams. The pitchers throw hard, which gives them a chance to succeed and overwhelm opposing hitters. The Astros will likely lose over 100 games this season, but they hope that they can improve their record from last season and allow their players to grow. The Astros will consider this season a success if their young players gain experience, improve, and succeed at the major league and minor league level.

Predicted Astros Record: 59-103

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Pics and Stats from ESPN.com

The Futures Game

By: Evan

All-Star break is baseball’s showcase, a mid-season celebration of the game’s top talent.  The Homerun Derby is fun and the All-Star game displays great players at every position.  Yet the All-Star game is the second most important game of the festivities, often marred by nostalgia, with some players past their prime usually featured prominently.  For my money, the vastly underrated Futures Game is the one to watch. The Futures game does not attract widespread attention because the players are not household names yet.  But in reality, the Futures game previews the best young talent in the game, the players whose jerseys will be selling soon. Look at the members from the 2011 US Futures’ team roster; Matt Harvey, an All-Star and potential Cy Young winner, Shelby Miller, a contender for NL Rookie of the Year, Matt Moore, an All-Star, Manny Machado, an All-Star and Gold glover in the making, Paul Goldschmidt, an All-Star and contender for NL MVP, Bryce Harper, a two-time All-Star and the then injured Mike Trout, the best five-tool player in the league right now. Not only are these Futures Game alums young, all 25 or under, they are dominating and will continue to get better.

Just some of the 2011 Futures Game alums

Now, looking to this year’s game, who are the rising stars of the game?

5.) Taijuan Walker SP Seattle Mariners

Taijuan Walker

Taijuan, or Tai Walker looks to be the next great Seattle ace, just like Randy Johnson and Felix Hernandez. Tai has great stuff, boasting a mid 90s fastball with a devastating change-up that makes his fastball look even faster. He is using the minor leagues to develop his slider as well as a curveball to compliment his two dominant pitches. Tai is tall and long, standing at 6’4 with arm action that can trick hitters who are looking for fastballs. The Mariners have been known for their tremendous farm system and their development of pitchers and Taijuan looks to be next in line. While Tai has all the ability, he still needs experience at the AAA level and with the Mariners falling further and further back in the AL West, Tai probably won’t make his debut until 2014.

4.) Xander Bogaerts SS/3B Boston Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts reminds me of another 20 year old, Manny Machado. The two are extremely similar, in height, weight and ability as both are natural shortstops who are now playing third-base. Xander has the power to hit 20-25 home runs per year and potentially drive in over 100 runs. While Manny is a better defender, Xander will use his time in the minor leagues to improve his defense and display his overall talent. Boston is also known for its great farm system as they have developed another terrific third baseman in Hanley Ramirez.  If Boston wants to remain as the AL East leader by the playoffs, Xander should be called up by August or September.

3.) Jorge Soler OF Chicago Cubs

Jorge Soler

Cub fans have been the proverbial butt of every losing joke known to man. But don’t worry Cub fans, at least you get to chant “Hip-Hip Jorge.” Jorge Soler is a dangerous outfielder with power and a cannon for an arm. He has to potential to be a regular 30-30 or 40-40 player with his speed, but he needs to improve his ability to make contact so he can get on base at a higher percentage. He reminds me of a smaller version of fellow Cuban, Yasiel Puig, an extremely talented but raw prospect with a sky-high ceiling. The Cubbies have locked up Soler with a 9 year 30 million dollar deal that could make him one of the most price efficient players in the league. The Cubs are not in contention to win anything and Soler still needs time to develop and learn so his debut may not come until late into the 2014 season or the start of 2015 season.

2.) Miguel Sano 3B Minnesota Twins

Miguel Sano

The Twins have the best farm system in baseball and Sano is going to crucial in the Twins’ rebuilding process. Sano reminds me of another Jose Bautista, a player with ridiculous power and an overwhelming presence at the plate. Sano desperately needs to hone in on his defensive play and become a smarter base-runner but all of the tools are there. The Twins are known to slowly develop players who eventually become stars, David Ortiz (although how could they use Ortiz to bunt men over into scoring position???), Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Sano’s future is very bright and the Twins will rebound in coming years.

1.) Byron Buxton OF Minnesota Twins

Byron Buxton

Remember the name Byron Buxton because he is THE future of baseball. He has earned Mike Trout and even Willie Mays comparisons. Buxton has it all, all five tools that enable him to be the most complete prospect in baseball. Scouts are amazed by his maturity and dedication along with his talent. The #2 overall pick in 2012 MLB draft just needs time to hone in on the smaller facets of his game that need improvement, such as learning how to play all three outfield positions and improve his batter’s eye. Buxton will probably stay in the minors until 2015, but when he comes up he will be phenomenal.

First picture from Huffpost.com Every other picture 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