Ah, yes. It’s finally summer, even up here in the wasteland tundra of Buffalo. Hockey and Basketball are finishing up, and soon it’ll be just baseball for two months. While many think mid-June through August are the most boring sports months, I have three words for you. Home.Run.Derby. Or All-Star Game. The only meaningful one in sports is happening July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego. I love baseball and watch every day, but a lot of people don’t, and for them, the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby give them a chance to relive their youth, idolizing baseball stars across generations. Hell, the 1999 All-Star Game still gives me chills 17 years later.
With that being said, this is my American League All-Star Ballot, as well as who I think should be starting on the mound. Remember, I’m picking whose been good for a while, guys I want to see play, not necessarily the statistical “best” at each position.
DESIGNATED HITTER: David Ortiz, Boston
This is the easiest decision I’ll probably ever make. The man is in his last season, is a legend all around baseball, leads the majors in RBI’s, is 3rd in the AL with 16 homers, is hitting .335, and leads the league in doubles, total bases, slugging %, and OPS. Why the hell is he retiring in the first place?
CATCHER: Sal Perez, Kansas City
Salvador Perez, along with probably Lorenzo Cain, is the heart and soul of the defending champion Royals. Couple that with the completely awful other options in the American League behind the plate, and this was really easy, too. Not as easy as Papi, but damnit you’re close.
FIRST BASE: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
Hosmer is having a monster start to the season, hitting .330 with 35 RBI’s and 10 longballs in the cleanup spot for the Royals. You can never go wrong with a defending champ, and he now has 5 straight multi-hit games, too. Sorry, Miggy, maybe you can come in in the 5th inning.
SECOND BASE: Jose Altuve, Houston
The AL 2nd base race is one of the hottest in this whole discussion, IMO. You have at least 4 guys who deserve to be all stars in Altuve, Pedroia, Cano, and Kinsler(sorry Forsythe and Lowrie). But, Altuve gets the nod from me for a couple reasons: he needs the vote more, as name recognition alone will get the other three plenty of votes, he’s the one best suited to hit leadoff of the four in an all-star game setting, and he has the best combination of average and power out of the four, with a .329 average as well as 9 HR and 31 RBI. Cano has more power, but less average. Pedroia and Kinsler are either even or a little worse than Altuve, making him my pick.
And he can play pool!
THIRD BASE: Manny Machado, Baltimore
This vine never gets old.
Machado is an absolute stud. I think after this season’s performance you can put him in the same category of Trout and Harper as absolute MVP caliber must have players. His combination of defense and offense is crazy. His arm at third is one of the strongest out there, and he’s hitting almost .320 with 14 HR’s. Easy choice for me.
SHORTSTOP: Xander Bogaerts, Boston
The X-man was considered the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system for years, and he’s really showing it now this year. Dude’s a freakin’ star. He’s hitting around .350, driving in runs and playing good defense. Reminds me of A-Rod at that age without the juice. Also has a 26 game hitting streak, which is cool too.
OUTFIELD: Mike Trout, Los Angeles/Anaheim/Waste of time team
It makes me physically sick to my stomach that a player this good is stuck with Albert Pujols’ ghost and not much else. Best player in the league, easy choice.
OUTFIELD: Jackie Bonds-Aaron-Ruth-Bradley Jr., Boston
Jackie fucking baseball baby! Yeah! I remember when he came up and sucked, I wanted him gone from Boston ASAP. Man, I’m glad he’s still there to fuck up the AL. In addition to the 29 game hit streak, and hitting .331 with 9 HR and 31 RBI, his defense in center field has been nothing short of superb. He has incredible speed, bringing with it range and the ability to make plays others can’t. Obviously, playing outfield at Fenway Park is a unique experience and Bradley seems to be picking it up nicely. He deserves this for sure.
OUTFIELD: Mookie Betts, Boston
For me, this was a tough 3 man choice between Betts, Cain, and Reddick. I chose the Mookster because of the power potential out of the leadoff spot, and how hard it is to do that has to be appreciated. I mean, his performance against Baltimore this past week, hitting 5 home runs in two games speaks for itself. But to have 47 RBI’s out of the leadoff spot is crazy. That’s a tribute both to his power and the lower part of the Sox lineup getting on base for him. Because of that, he gets the nod over Cain and Reddick, at least to start.
STARTING PITCHER: Chris Sale, Chicago
The pitching in the American League has been nowhere near the level of the National League, but there has been some good pitching, especially in Chi-town with Sale and Quintana. I give Sale the nod here for his utter dominance; he’s in the top 5 in ERA, strikeouts, BAA, K/BB, H/9, and win %, while leading the league in wins, innings pitched, complete games, and WHIP(the only guy under 1.00 in the AL). Honorable mention goes out to Rich Hill.