Picking the 2014 American League All-Stars

The All-Star Game isn’t for another 28 days, but with the voting in full swing and enough of the season under our belts, I figure it’s time to weigh in on how I’d fill out the roster if I were Grand Poobah and had the final say on all 34 players. I will note up front that I believe the All-Star Game is an annual affair, and we shouldn’t simply have the same collection of players every year just because those are the “true stars”.

The All-Star Game is best when it serves as both a platform for the game’s greatest players and recognition for those who have earned their way in. I will not be putting players on the roster who have not performed well in 2014, even if they are bonafide stars, with just one exception: people want the chance to honor Derek Jeter on a national stage, and an exhibition game is as good a place to do that as any.

We’ll start with the American League, with the NL to follow tomorrow. As a reminder, the rosters now comprise 34 players, which I’ll be splitting as 21 position players and 13 pitchers, as that has been the final tally for the game most of the last few years. And, yes, we’re honoring the rule requiring every team to be represented. I’ll list each player by the tier of how they got selected, then put the final roster down below. On to the picks.

The Game Would Be A Farce Without Them

These players are the epitome of All-Stars; great players having great seasons. I imagine there will be little disagreement about any of these 14 selections. It’s hard to imagine a reasonable case for excluding any of these players, assuming they stay healthy for the next few weeks anyway. Note: for pitchers, I’ve simply averaged their FIP-based WAR and RA9-based WAR, so the pitcher WAR listed below is a 50/50 hybrid of each.

Name Position WAR
Mike Trout OF 4.3
Alex Gordon OF 3.9
Josh Donaldson 3B 3.3
Jose Bautista OF 3.2
Miguel Cabrera 1B 2.5
Edwin Encarnacion DH 2.2
Robinson Cano 2B 1.7
Derek Jeter SS N/A
—– —– —–
Felix Hernandez SP 3.6
Yu Darvish SP 3.3
Masahiro Tanaka SP 3.3
Max Scherzer SP 2.5
Chris Sale SP 2.3
Koji Uehara RP 1.8
David Price SP 1.5

They’ve Earned It

You wouldn’t have necessarily pegged these guys as All-Stars headed into the season, but their 2014 performance has been so stellar that they have to be there. You might have a different line for how great a performance needs to be to overcome a lack of a track record, but these players should clear most people’s bar and get in based on their performance to date.

Name Position WAR
Michael Brantley OF 2.8
Brian Dozier 2B 2.7
Brandon Moss 1B 2.6
Nelson Cruz OF 2.5
Erick Aybar SS 2.3
Victor Martinez DH 2.2
Salvador Perez C 2.1
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B 2.0
—– —– —–
Dallas Keuchel SP 2.8
Scott Kazmir SP 2.7
Mark Buehrle SP 2.7
Dellin Betances RP 1.5
Greg Holland RP 1.3
Sean Doolittle RP 1.3

The Reserves

With 16 hitters on the roster, that leaves us five open spots to fill, so it’s time to start looking at where the holes are. The players listed below are having good campaigns, but aren’t necessarily slam-dunk picks. You could easily argue for others in these spaces, but these are the guys I chose to round out the roster and make sure the team has enough depth.

Name Position WAR
Adam Jones OF 2.6
Ian Kinsler 2B 2.2
Derek Norris C 1.8
Jose Abreu 1B 1.8
Xander Bogaerts SS 1.7

The Final Roster

Here are my 34 selections, with the starters listed first, and then the reserves below, sorted by position.

Starters Position WAR
Salvador Perez C 2.1
Miguel Cabrera 1B 2.5
Robinson Cano 2B 1.7
Derek Jeter SS N/A
Josh Donaldson 3B 3.3
Alex Gordon LF 3.9
Mike Trout CF 4.3
Jose Bautista RF 3.2
Edwin Encarnacion DH 2.2
Felix Hernandez SP 3.6
—– —– —–
Reserves Position WAR
Derek Norris C 1.8
Brandon Moss 1B 2.6
Jose Abreu 1B 1.8
Brian Dozier 2B 2.7
Erick Aybar SS 2.3
Xander Bogaerts SS 1.7
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B 2.0
Michael Brantley OF 2.8
Adam Jones OF 2.6
Nelson Cruz OF 2.5
Victor Martinez DH 2.2
Yu Darvish SP 3.3
Masahiro Tanaka SP 3.3
Max Scherzer SP 2.5
Chris Sale SP 2.3
Dallas Keuchel SP 2.8
Scott Kazmir SP 2.7
Mark Buehrle SP 2.7
David Price SP 1.5
Koji Uehara RP 1.8
Dellin Betances RP 1.5
Greg Holland RP 1.3
Sean Doolittle SP 1.3

And, finally, the starting line-up.

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Robinson Cano, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Jose Bautista, RF
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
6. Alex Gordon, LF
7. Josh Donaldson, 3B
8. Salvador Perez, C
9. Derek Jeter, SS

Based on both career track record and 2014 performance, this is how I’d fill out the AL All-Star roster. There are a lot of great players who didn’t make the cut, and there are certainly judgment calls here that could have gone another direction, but overall, I think this is a pretty good set of players who would represent the American League quite well.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Sean Doolittle RP*, not SP

Sean Doolittle also BA MF.

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