Sorry for the month long hiatus…when you’re working 55-hour weeks, keeping up with a website can be difficult. That said, the MLB is just minutes away from releasing this year’s All-Star rosters, so here’s what those 32-man squads should look like.
Starters (9): C Wilson Ramos (TB), 1B Jose Abreu (CWS), 2B Jose Altuve (HOU), SS Manny Machado (BAL), 3B Jose Ramirez (CLE), OF Mookie Betts (BOS), OF Mike Trout (LAA), OF Aaron Judge (NYY), DH J.D. Martinez (BOS).
These decisions were all fairly easy. First base is a weak position in the American League this year, and the White Sox will likely land their lone representative in Abreu. Machado edges out Francisco Lindor and Jean Segura at the insanely competitive short stop position and the outfield for the AL is about as good as it gets.
Reserves (11): C Evan Gattis (HOU), 1B Justin Smoak (TOR), 2B Jed Lowrie (OAK), SS Francisco Lindor (CLE), 3B Alex Bregman (HOU), 3B Mike Moustakas (KC), OF Nick Castellanos (DET), OF Eddie Rosario (MIN), OF Mitch Haniger (SEA), DH Nelson Cruz (SEA), Fan Vote final spot: SS Jean Segura (SEA).
Smoke isn’t the second-best first basemen in the league, but he gets the Blue Jays their lone representative. Segura and his .330 batting average should be a no brainer, but with the competitiveness at short stop, and Lindor’s insane power numbers this year, he may have to rely on the fan vote to get in with the 32nd spot – or just have to wait until someone removes themselves from the game.
Pitchers (12): SP Blake Snell (TB), SP Justin Verlander (HOU), SP Chris Sale (BOS), SP Luis Severino (NYY), SP Corey Kluber (CLE), SP Charlie Morton (HOU), SP Gerrit Cole (HOU), SP Trevor Bauer (CLE), RP Keone Kela (TEX), RP Blake Treinen (OAK), RP Aroldis Chapman (NYY), RP Edwin Diaz (SEA).
Snell may not be the sexiest name out of this bunch, but he has my nod to start. He’s 12-4 and leads the AL with a 2.09 ERA. He’s also the only starter out of this group who doesn’t play for a team with a run differential of at least +72. Kela makes it as the Rangers lone guy even though Craig Kimbrel (BOS) is definitely more deserving, and Diaz is a no brainer as he prepares to conclude his historic first half.
Starters (8): C J.T. Realmuto (MIA), 1B Freddie Freeman (ATL), 2B Scooter Gennett (CIN), SS Brandon Crawford (SF), 3B Nolan Arenado (COL), OF Matt Kemp (LAD), Odubel Herrera (PHI), OF Nick Markakis (ATL).
Definitely not the list of guys you would have expected to see here coming into the season, but there weren’t too many close calls in deciding this group. Gennett is following up a career year with another monster season and currently leads the league in hitting, Kemp should be the early favorite for comeback player of the year and Markakis, despite playing less than 155 games just once since 2007, winning two gold gloves and being a career .290 hitter, is due for his first All-Star Game. It’s a scrappy team that I like A LOT.
Reserves (12): C Wilson Contreras (CHC), 1B Jesus Aguilar (MIL), 1B Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), 1B Joey Votto (CIN), 2B Javier Baez (CHC), 2B Ozzie Albies (ATL), SS Trevor Story (COL), 3B Eugenio Suarez (CIN), OF Corey Dickerson (PIT), OF Lorenzo Cain (MIL), OF Christian Yelich (MIL), Fan Vote final spot: OF David Peralta (ARI).
WHERE’S BRYCE HARPER??? Home. Even though he’ll probably get voted in, especially since his Nationals are hosting this year’s game, Harper doesn’t deserve to be an all-star this season. Over his last 54 games he’s hitting just .195 with nine home runs and an abysmal 22 RBI. If the roster was picked solely based off production in April, he’d be starting, but it’s not an he hasn’t put together a complete first half.
Pitchers (12): SP Jacob deGrom (NYM), SP Max Scherzer (WSH), SP Aaron Nola (PHI), SP Jon Lester (CHC), SP Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), SP Ross Stripling (LAD), SP Miles Mikolas (ST.L), RP Josh Hader (MIL), RP Brad Hand (SD), RP Brandon Morrow (CHC), RP Sean Doolittle (WSH), RP Kenley Jansen (LAD).
Forget his 5-4 record, as the only pitcher with an ERA under two (1.79), deGrom should be the clear choice to start this game. He’s had a career year but has the misfortune of playing for the Mets. Stripling will get his first nod based off how he has filled in during Kershaw’s absence for the surging Dodgers, and let’s not forget Josh Hader. His 83 strikeouts in 44 2/3 innings have established himself as the most dominant reliever in Major League Baseball right now.