2009 AL All-Star Ballot

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.

Catcher: Joe Mauer (MIN), Victor Martinez (CLE), Mike Napoli (LAA)

The first two are no-brainers, and Napoli gets the edge over Posada due to quantity of playing of time.

First Base: Kevin Youkilis (BOS), Justin Morneau (MIN), Mark Teixeira (New York)

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.

Second Base: Ian Kinsler (TEX), Dustin Pedroia (BOS), Aaron Hill (TOR)

You could really make a case for any of these three as the starter, and I wouldn’t argue with you.

Shortstop: Jason Bartlett (TB), Derek Jeter (NY), Marco Scutaro (TOR)

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.

Third Base: Evan Longoria (TB), Alex Rodriguez (NY), Brandon Inge (DET)

Inge is flying under the radar, but having a really, really good season. There’s no real argument for anyone besides those three.

Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki (SEA), Torii Hunter (LAA), Carl Crawford (TB), Nelson Cruz (TEX), Adam Jones (BAL), Jason Bay (BOS)

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.

Starting Pitchers: Zack Greinke (KC), Justin Verlander (DET), Roy Halladay (TOR), Cliff Lee (CLE), Felix Hernandez (SEA), Edwin Jackson (DET), Dallas Braden (OAK)

Good luck, National League hitters. Braden is Oakland’s token rep, by the way.

Relief Pitchers: Frank Francisco (TEX), Mariano Rivera (NY), Scott Downs (TOR), Matt Thornton (CHI)

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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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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