It’s almost July, which means All-Star voting is in full swing and the debate about whether fans should have power over the teams remains a hot topic. If the All-Star Game is worth home-field advantage in the World Series, then the best players should play. My vote will be based on mostly the 2016 season, but also the 2015 season. Having the All-Star Game in July makes it tough, because 250 plate appearances or 90 innings pitched is only half of a full season.
Here are my votes:
Catcher: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
He has been a durable and strong defensive catcher, but now he’s hitting. He has a 135 wRC+ and has played in 61 of 68 games. There’s nobody close to him this season in the American League.
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
He’s still adding on to his Hall of Fame career with a 144 wRC+ and has the second highest wRC+ in the league since 2015.
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
I don’t know how he does it, but he has increased his slugging to .545 and his walk rate to 11.1 percent in 2016 while still being a decent baserunner and defender. He has been a top hitter in baseball this year at 153 wRC+ and has the sixth-highest fWAR in the league since 2015.
Third Base: Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
He had yet another MVP-caliber season in 2015 and is backing that up in 2016 with a 152 wRC+ and the fourth-best fWAR in the league. It will be tough for him to win consecutive MVPs, but voters love counting stats and he will have them.
Shortstop: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
He has over 100 more innings at short than third base this year, and he has the third-highest fWAR in the league and a 158 wRC+. A true superstar at age 23.
Outfield: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Michael Saunders made this tough, because he has a 166 wRC+ compared to Betts’ 124, but the Red Sox outfielder had a great 2015 season and plays an excellent right field.
Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Leads all outfielders in fWAR and has the highest fWAR among all MLB players since 2015. On pace for yet another MVP-caliber season — an easy choice.
Outfield: Jackie Bradley Jr, Boston Red Sox
After a hot second half of 2015, he has carried it over to 2016 with a 153 wRC+ and 2.9 fWAR.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
He has a career-high and league-high wRC+ of 189, all in his final year at age 40. He should get quite the reception at his final All-Star Game.
SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
OF Michael Saunders, Toronto Blue Jays
2B Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
2B Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers
1B Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals
SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
OF Ian Desmond, Texas Rangers
3B Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
3B Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
C Brian McCann, New York Yankees
OF George Springer, Houston Astros
DH Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays
DH Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles
Starting Pitcher: Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox
He has the highest fWAR and FIP and second-best RA/9-WAR. Since 2015, he has the third-best RA/9 behind Dallas Keuchel and David Price and fourth-best fWAR behind Chris Sale, Keuchel, and Price. You can’t go wrong with Quintana or Sale as the starter, but Quintana has the better peripherals and run prevention this year along with better run prevention last season and nearly identical peripherals.
Other All Star pitchers:
SP Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
SP Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
SP Rich Hill, Oakland Athletics
SP Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
SP Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays
SP Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox
SP Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers
RP Will Harris, Houston Astros
RP Andrew Miller, New York Yankees
RP Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals
RP Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals
RP Dellin Betances, New York Yankees
RP Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles