A month away from the midsummer classic, today we’ll look at my ballot for the 2009 All-Star teams. We’ll do the American League first, then tackle the NL tonight. The starter will be listed first, followed by the reserves.
The first two are no-brainers, and Napoli gets the edge over Posada due to quantity of playing of time.
With apologies to Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Pena, and Russell Branyan. First base is just a ridiculously loaded group in the AL this year. With the game being played in an NL park, meaning no DH, they can’t carry four first baseman.
You could really make a case for any of these three as the starter, and I wouldn’t argue with you.
Bartlett is second in the AL in wOBA and playing quality defense at shortstop. Jeter will get the starting nod, of course, but you can’t really have a better two months than Bartlett just had.
Inge is flying under the radar, but having a really, really good season. There’s no real argument for anyone besides those three.
The difference in park effects pushed Ichiro ahead of Cruz for a starting job, but either choice would be fine. You could make an argument for Bay ahead of Crawford, but they’re both having fantastic years, and the starting line-up could use another LH hitter in it.
Good luck, National League hitters. Braden is Oakland’s token rep, by the way.
Downs and Thornton deserve some recognition for the outstanding years they’re having, and the pitching staff leans heavily to the right-hand side, so having a couple of shut down lefty relievers is a nice bonus.
Just Missed It Guy: Ben Zobrist. His positional flexibility will let him replace whoever pulls out. He deserves to go to St. Louis, and he probably will.
Final tallies by team:
Four: New York, Toronto
Three: Tampa Bay, Boston, Texas, Detroit
Two: Seattle, Cleveland, Minnesota, Los Angeles
One: Chicago, Oakland, Baltimore, Kansas City
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