MCB All-Star Ballot
By John Parent
As the Mid-Summer Classic draws near, I have long since used up my 25 votes in an attempt to get the most deserving players to Arizona for the All-Star Game. Fortunately, as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, MCB is afforded one additional ballot (albeit an unofficial one).
Below you will find my selections for the all-star starters, plus a few starting pitchers (okay, just one) for good measure. I figured that since this ballot is unofficial, why not go off the board a bit to give some additional press to a few deserving names.
Catcher- Brian McCann (Atl)
McCann leads NL catchers in batting average, home runs, and RBI, while placing third in runs and second in stolen bases. Not only is the biggest name among NL options, but he’s had the best season as well.
First Base- Prince Fielder (Mil)
The NL is stacked at first base and Fielder wasn’t a run away pick here despite his gaudy numbers. While Prince is leading the league in home runs and RBI, he ranks behind Cincinnati’s Joey Votto in batting average, on base percentage, and runs scored. Fielder holds an edge in OPS (1.055 to .955), however, and that’s what earns him the nod.
Second Base- Neil Walker (Pit)
Walker is arguably the best of a lackluster second base group in the Senior Circuit, with only Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks serving as competition. Weeks might be having the better statistical year, but these are two hitters asked to play vastly different roles for their teams. Weeks is asked to get on base ahead of Fielder and Ryan Braun, which has inflated his runs column, while it’s Walker’s job to drive in runs. As a result, Walker’s batting average is a mediocre .260, but his 46 RBI earn him the nod for me. The Pirates deserve some recognition for the start they’ve gotten off to and Walker has been a major part of their success. It might not be the best reasoning, but it’s my ballot, so deal with it.
Third Base- Placido Polanco (Phi)
Talk about an uninspiring group. No one on the NL ballot at third base has hit more than seven home runs of has more than 40 RBI. Chipper Jones is the most impressive in the power numbers, but I’ll take Polly’s high batting average and second-best total of 38 RBI. Score one for a former Tiger I guess.
Shortstop- Troy Tulowitzki (Col)
Yes, Jose Reyes is having a phenomenal season, but after having watched Tulo these past three days I’d be hard pressed to not vote for him here. Reyes is outstanding, but Tulo’s numbers are pretty darn good as well and his defense is the best in the game from where I sit.
Outfield– Matt Kemp (LAD), Ryan Braun (Mil), Jay Bruce (Cin)
Kemp is on pace for a 40-40 season and is probably the early favorite for NL MVP, Braun is leading the NL in runs scored, and Bruce has been a force all year long. Speaking of 40-40 men, how is it possible that Alfonso Soriano has zero steals this year? His 14 long balls look good, but without the speed game, why is he still a lead-off hitter? For that matter, why was he ever one?
Catcher- Alex Avila (Det)
Avila is third among AL catchers with nine home runs, but he’s leading the group in RBI and batting average as the only AL backstop hitting over .300. On top of that, Avila ranks tenth in the league in batting (among all hitters, not just catchers) and seventh in OPS. Oh and he’s done a fine job behind the plate as well. Easiest pick on the board.
First Base- Adrian Gonzalez (Bos)
I would love to pick Miguel Cabrera here, but the numbers just don’t stack up against Gonzalez. I mean, the guy’s hitting .348 and Gonzalez is excelling in all the areas that Cabrera excels as well. I’m not even sure Miggy would be my second choice given the seasons being had by Paul Kornerko, Mark Teixeira, and Adam Lind.
Second Base- Robinson Cano (NYY)
Cano is the easy pick based on stats. Really, no one else is even close.
Third Base- Adrian Beltre (Tex)
Alex Rodriguez might be having a better overall year, maybe Kevin Youkilis is as well. But Beltre’s numbers are very close to both of those guys and he doesn’t play for the media darlings in New York or Boston (not anymore, anyway). I’ll take Beltre for his best-in-the-league defense and pretty-darn-good stick.
Shortstop- Jhonny Peralta (Det)
Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera has had an MVP-type first half by all accounts, but what you might not have noticed is that Perlata is playing almost every bit as well. Peralta is one behind Cabrera in home runs, three back in RBI and is hitting seven points higher. Peralta trails big in runs scored, but that’s more a function of where they hit in the lineup, with Cabrera having spent the bulk of the year in the two-spot, while Peralta has been hitting in the lowere third of Detroit’s lineup. Maybe it’s a homer pick, but I drastically dislike the Indians and seeing Peralta start at shortstop for the AL would run a little extra salt in their wounds after he was run off of the position and run out of town with the Tribe just last year.
Designated Hitter- David Ortiz (Bos)
Why are we voting for a DH when the game is in an NL park and won’t feature one? Beats me. (EDIT: We’re doing this because as Erin of Tigers Amateur Analysis pointed out in the comments, the game will, in fact, feature a DH. I must have missed that one.) Ortiz is the choice, but it’s not as big a landslide as the numbers would suggest. Victor Martinez has been tremendous as well and if not for an injury or two, the pick might have been Travis Hafner.
Outfield- Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos), Jose Bautista (Tor), Curtis Granderson (NYY)
Bautista has hit a major slump, but is still having a dynamite offensive year. Ellsbury has been the catalyst for the vauted Red Sox lineup, getting on base regularly and stealing bases with the best of them, and Granderson has turned in the best first half of his already very good career. Honestly, I’m not even sure who I would ;pick if I had to go four-deep here, maybe Carlos Quentin or Brennan Boesch I guess.
Pitcher- Justin Verlander (Det)
I know I didn’t pick an NL pitcher, but JV deserves some extra publicity. There are a lot of guys having excellent years, but no one has been more dominant than Verlander has. Ron Washington would be wise to name Verlander as the starter for his AL squad next month.
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was founded in 2009 by Cardinals blogger Daniel Shoptaw and has seen its ranks grow to over 300 active and regularly updating sites. Like the BBWAA, the BBA is divided into chapters covering each team in the major leagues, but we also have fantasy baseball and general baseball chapters. Each year, member sites participate in balloting for our Hall of Fame selections, and post-season awards, as well as submitting our picks for the All-Star Game. For more information on the BBA and its member sites, visit the BBA homepage.