The Most Deserving AL All-Star Starters

Givanni Damico | June 14th, 2019

The statistics used in this article are accurate as of the morning of June 13th.

Catcher: Gary Sanchez, NYY

With a lead of 450,000 votes, there is little chance that Sanchez will be caught by any of the competition. After a brutal season last year where he hit just .186 with 18 home runs, he has come on strong in 2019, topping his home run total from last year in just 48 games. He is slashing .268/.337/.628 thus far with an OPS of .965. His OPS+ is at 150, 50 higher than league average. Not only has his offense returned, but his defense has been leaps and bounds better than last year. His pitch framing has been fantastic and his blocking ability is decent enough. He is clearly more deserving than any other catcher in the American League.

First Base: Carlos Santana, CL

Currently third in AL All-Star voting, Santana arguably has a better resume than the two people above him. Santana is slashing .286/.406/.530 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs through 66 games. It’s crazy to think that Santana has never been an all-star before, but his batting average is always what fails him. This year, he is hitting for a career-high batting average so far and is one of the few hitters making an impact for the Indians. While Luke Voit has more home runs and RBIs, Santana trumps him in basically every other statistical category. It is the same situation with C.J. Cron, the second-highest vote-getter, who only is ahead of Santana in the RBI category. Come on Cleveland faithful, if you want your boy to represent in Cleveland for the All-Star game, you guys have to start filling out the ballots.

Second Base: DJ LeMahieu, NYY

You can’t just look at power numbers when voting for the All-Star game. Sure, Tommy La Stella has more than double the amount of home runs as LeMahieu, but LeMahieu’s WAR reflects how important he has been to the team. LeMahieu is batting .474 with runners in scoring position with 32 RBIs and an OPS of 1.071. He is absolutely clutch and deserves his nickname “The Machine” which was given to him by Gary Sanchez. La Stella is hitting just .227 with runners in scoring position and an OPS of .640. All-Star voting should take into effect how you have helped your team as well as individual stats. As I said, La Stella only leads LeMahieu in power categories. LeMahieu is hitting .316 to La Stella’s .303. LeMahieu has a WAR of 2.5 to La Stella’s 1.6. There’s no doubt in my mind that La Stella should be an All-Star, but when it comes to starting in the big game, LeMahieu has earned it. LeMahieu is currently third in voting behind La Stella and Jose Altuve. I don’t need to explain why he should be ahead of him. He is 108,000 votes away from first, so the race is far from over.

Third Base: Alex Bregman, HOU

Alex Bregman is 360,000 votes ahead of Gio Urshela who is currently in second. Bregman is definitely the best third baseman in the American League right now. His power numbers improve every year, so I’m scared to see how many home runs he has by this point next year. He is currently slashing .271/.398/.538 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. His WAR is at 3.4 compared to Urshela’s 1.0. One area where Bregman struggles is with runners in scoring position where he only hits .204 with an OPS of .792. If he was a third baseman in the NL, it might be hard for him to crack an all-star spot at all, but since he’s in the AL, he is far ahead of the competition. Bregman isn’t worried about taking walks either. He is getting on base any way possible and letting his teammates drive him in.

Shortstop: Jorge Polanco, MIN

Polanco started off scalding hot and hasn’t really cooled down too much. He’s slashing .339/.398/.973 with 10 home runs, 35 RBIs, and 86 hits so far. He has four more home runs and one less hit than last year in 14 fewer games. His WAR sits at 3.9 and there’s not much to argue against him for All-Star Game starter. While his power totals aren’t as high as some others, he has been the most clutch hitter amongst shortstops and has a higher average than every shortstop in the American League. Tim Anderson, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, and Gleyber Torres are other possible candidates.

Outfield: George Springer, HOU

Despite going down with an injury that has kept Springer out of play since May 24th, he is still tied for fifth in the American League in home runs with 17. As I said earlier, power isn’t everything, but Springer is putting it all together. He’s slashing .308/.389/.643 with an OPS of 1.032. With runners in scoring position, Springer is hitting .320 with 27 RBIs. Keep in mind that all of this production comes from the leadoff spot. If he had been healthy throughout the season and kept similar levels of production, this would be a no-brainer, but in my mind, it still is.

Outfield: Mike Trout, LAA

What else is new? He is the leading vote-getter in the AL and is having a pretty great year once again. Trout is hitting .290 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. His OPS+ is 189, 89 above league average! Trout continues to produce and is still the best player in baseball. He could be having a bad season and he’d still be an all-star, so this is inevitable.

Outfield: Austin Meadows, TBR

This was a relatively tough decision for me between Meadows and Michael Brantley. Brantley’s recent slump (.250 BA in last 14 days, no home runs in 28 days) made this a relatively easy decision. Meadows (and Tyler Glasnow) are making the Pirates look very bad for trading them for Chris Archer who is struggling right now. He’s slashing .326/.404/.591 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. To be fair to Brantley, Meadows has been in a minor slump, hitting just .239 with zero home runs in June, but Meadows still trumps Brantley in most statistical categories. Meadows is fantastic with runners in scoring position, hitting .447 with two home runs and 26 RBIs. Whether you love or hate the Rays, you can’t deny that Meadows deserves to start in the All-Star game in Cleveland.

Designated Hitter: Hunter Pence, TEX

Talk about going back to vintage Hunter Pence! After hitting just .226 in limited time last season with San Francisco, Pence has taken advantage of the opportunity to start for the Rangers. He’s slashing .283/.343/.926 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs. Pence is hitting .310 with 33 RBIs when runners are in scoring position. You could argue that J.D. Martinez is having just as good of a season, but it’s more impressive for an older guy who hasn’t been himself the last few years to suddenly be this power threat while also hitting for a good average. Even if Pence was the same age as Martinez, Pence would still get my vote.

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