The All-Star Game isn’t for another 35 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 2013, even if they are bonafide stars.
We’ll start with the American League, with the NL to follow in its own post. 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 still healthy for the next few weeks anyway.
Miguel Cabrera, DET, 3B: +3.9 WAR
Mike Trout, ANA, OF: +3.4 WAR
Evan Longoria, TB, 3B: +3.3 WAR
Dustin Pedroia, BOS, 2B: +2.9 WAR
Joe Mauer, MIN, C: +2.7 WAR
Jose Bautista, TOR, OF: +2.5 WAR
David Ortiz, BOS, DH: +1.8 WAR
Robinson Cano, NYY, 2B: +1.6 WAR
Anibal Sanchez, DET, SP: +3.4 WAR
Felix Hernandez, SEA, SP: +3.0 WAR
Clay Buchholz, BOS, SP: +2.9 WAR
Justin Verlander, DET, SP: +2.7 WAR
Yu Darvish, TEX, SP: +2.7 WAR
Mariano Rivera, NYY, RP: +0.9 WAR
They’ve Earned It
You wouldn’t have necessarily pegged these guys as All-Stars headed into the season, but their 2013 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 seven players should clear most people’s bar and get in based on their performance to date.
The Team Representative
These guys are mostly worthy candidates anyway, but they are also the best choice to represent the three franchises that did not have a player listed above.
Chris Sale, CHW, SP: +1.9 WAR
With 14 hitters and 10 pitchers already on the roster, that leaves us 10 spots to fill, so it’s time to start looking at where the holes are. The AL is certainly deeper at some positions — third base being the most obvious — than others, and we need to make sure the final 10 spots are filled with deserving players who also fit into the spots that we have not already filled — primarily, that’s middle infield and outfielders. Here are the 10 guys who both fit the All-Star criteria and fill the current openings.
Brett Gardner, NYY, OF: +2.2 WAR
Coco Crisp, OAK, OF: +2.1 WAR
J.J. Hardy, BAL, SS: +2.0 WAR
Mark Trumbo, ANA, OF: +1.9 WAR
Alex Gordon, KC, OF: +1.6 WAR
Ben Zobrist, TB, UT: +1.5 WAR
Prince Fielder, DET, 1B: +1.1 WAR
The Final Roster
That leaves us with these 34 players. The starters are listed first and are in bold, with the reserves afterwards.
|Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox||2B||293||0.331||0.416||0.457||0.381||138||2.4||1.4||2.9|
|Jose Bautista||Blue Jays||OF||257||0.267||0.370||0.516||0.380||140||4.6||0.9||2.5|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||DH||200||0.314||0.395||0.623||0.425||167||-0.1||-0.2||1.8|
|Clay Buchholz||Red Sox||SP||84.1||9%||25%||0.21||40||59||80||2.9||4.2|
|Chris Sale||White Sox||SP||77.1||6%||24%||0.81||63||76||83||1.9||2.6|
And, finally, the starting line-up.
1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Jose Bautista, RF
6. Chris Davis, 1B
7. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
8. Jhonny Peralta, SS
9. Brett Gardner, LF
Based on both career track record and 2013 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.