With the All-Star break just over a week away, it’s time to look at how the fans and American League/Yankees manager Joe Girardi did at choosing the AL’s best. The lineup is below, starters (chosen by the fans) are in bold, followed by reserves (chosen by Girardi).
Catchers: Joe Mauer, John Buck, Victor Martinez
The fans voted for Mauer, but Buck is the most deserving AL catcher this year. He leads all catchers in RBI and is 2nd among catchers in home runs. Speaking of home runs, the Angels’ Mike Napoli leads all catchers and might have been a better choice than Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is on the disabled list right now.
First Basemen: Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera
Can’t argue with either of these choices. Morneau leads baseball in average and Cabrera is 2nd in RBI. But, it would have been tough to argue against the inclusion of Paul Konerko, whose had one of the best season’s in baseball so far, with 20 home runs and 57 RBI .
Second Basemen: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ty Wigginton
While the fans got it right with Robinson Cano, who has absolutely been baseball’s best second basemen, Joe Girardi’s choice to include Ian Kinsler is an odd one. The Texas 2B spent a significant portion of the first half injured, and took a while to start heating up after he returned from the disabled list.
Third Basemen: Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre, Alex Rodriguez
It was a bit of a lame lot to choose from this year at third base, but both the fans and Girardi got it right. These three are tied for the lead among AL third basemen in home runs, and are the top three in RBI.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Elvis Andrus
Although the fans voted him in, this season DJ has been the American League’s third best shortstop, behind Andrus and Alex Gonzalez. Sorry Yankee fans.
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Ichiro Suzuki, Carl Crawford, Jose Bautista, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells
It’s hard to argue with any of these choices. But it would have been nice to see Alex Rios get selected — perhaps instead of putting Kinsler in as a fourth 2b.
DH: Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz
The fans got it right, and Girardi chose the second best in Ortiz.
Pitchers: Girardi chose 13 pitchers and we won’t discuss all of them, but perhaps the oddest of his All-Star choices was relief pitcher Matt Thornton as the White Sox’s lone representative. Forget the fact that Paul Konerko wasn’t chosen, and you still have a tough case for Thornton. He’s had a pretty good season — low ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.01) — but his 10 holds and 5 saves (and two blown saves) don’t show nearly as many high-pressure outings as you’d expect to see from an All-Star relief pitcher.
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