Picking the rest of the AL All-Stars

The fan voting is complete and the starting lineups for the American and National Leagues are set with four Kansas City Royals leading the way for the AL. Catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielders Lorezno Cain and Alex Gordon get the nod from the Royals. They will be joined by first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, though he is injured and will not play, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angles, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros gets the start at second and leading vote-getter Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays rounds out the starting lineup at third base.

Now, the tough decisions of the players and manager Ned Yost take place. There are plenty of worthy candidates deserving of an all-star selection. But not everyone can make it. With many players ultimately going to get snubbed, I take a look at the most deserving all-stars and who will most likely play in Cincinnati on July 14.

There will be 11 position player reserves and a potential 12th with the final fan-vote. With that being said, the players vote in nine guys, one at each position so I too will follow the rules. They also vote five starting pitchers and three relievers. The rest of the team is selected by Yost, who picks five pitchers and two position players. We will go position by position picking the most deserving players while also picking someone from each team.

At catcher there are two very worthy candidates in Stephen Vogt of the Oakland Athletics and Russell Martin of the Blue Jays. Vogt is hitting .290 with 13 home runs in a breakout season thus far. On a bad A’s team, him and Sonny Gray have been the lone bright spots. Martin has a slash line of .256/.345/.476 with 12 home runs. His handling of the pitcher staff, however, is second to none. I give the nod to Vogt who had been exceptional for Oakland. Another worthy candidate is New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann who started slow but has picked it up lately.

There are three or four worthy candidates to get the first base vote. Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Prince Fielder are all having great years and all deserve to go to Cincinnati. Luckily, with the injury to Cabrera a spot opened up and I believe all three will make the team. Fielder is listed as a designated hitter on the players ballot so that will allow all three to make the team.

Second base is another tricky position with three players worthy of getting the player vote. Jason Kipnis is having the best season of any second baseman is the AL. However, his slow start in April might hurt him in the player vote. Do not be surprised if Ian Kinsler or Dustin Pedroia get the player vote of Kipnis. Brian Dozier is another player very worthy of making the team but there might not be room if Kinsler or Pedroia get the player vote. I think Kipnis will make it regardless.

Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles and Mike Moustakas of the Royals are two worthy candidates to make it at third base. However, with four Royals already on the team, Machado should get the nod. He is having an MVP-type season so far.

Shortstop is a bit tricky. There are no real standouts to make the team. I’ll give the pick to Xander Bogaerts, who has been exceptional for a struggling Boston Red Sox team, especially with Pedroia hurt. Another name to watch is Tigers’ Jose Iglesias.

There are five or six guys who can get the outfield position. However, Adam Jones, Jose Bautista and Yoenis Cespedes will get the player vote. Brett Gardner and J.D. Martinez are both very worthy candidates. I believe Gardner will get Yost’s selection. The other one to fill out the Yost’s picks will be either McCann or Martin.

The final vote will be interesting to see. There are five guys deserving of a shot and four of them will get snubbed. Dozier, Martinez, Jose Abreu, Carlos Correa and yes, you guessed it, Alex Rodriguez would make a very fun and interesting final vote. All five are deserving, even if Correa has only played 25 games. He is probably one of the best shortstops already.

The pitching side is a little easier. Chris Archer (Rays), Sonny Gray (Athletics), Dallas Keuchel (Astros), David Price (Tigers) and Chris Sale (White Sox) have all had tremendous seasons, posting under 3.00 ERAs. Felix Hernandez will join Cruz as the Mariners rep and Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber will round out the starters.

Dominating pitchers headline the bullpen selections. The Royals probably have three guys worthy but Wade Davis will get the shot. He will be joined by Zach Brittion (Orioles), Dellin Betances (Yankees), Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins) and Huston Street (Angles).

There will be an interesting debate as always when the selections are made. The rosters will be announced Monday at 7 pm. I gave you my take on who is worthy and who deserves to get to take a trip to Cincinnati. We will find out tonight how many and which of these players make it and which get snubbed.

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