My 2017 All Star Game Choices
Fans of Major League Baseball have been voting for the players they want to see in this year’s All Star Game for the past several months, and this past Sunday the starting lineups (and reserves) for the annual tilt, which this year will be held in Miami on Tuesday, July 11th, were announced. I’ve been waiting to announce my choices for the starters until now so that I could offer a side by side comparison with the fans’ selections. So how did I do? Were my choices similar to the players the fans selected?
In the National League, I agreed with five of the eight selections. In the American League, which has nine positions because its teams use a Designated Hitter, I agreed with eight of the nine choices. I’ll break them down one by one. Unanimous choices will be in black. When the selections deviate, the fans’ choice will also be in black, and my choice will be in red.
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants. This was a slam dunk. Not only does Posey provide consistently excellent defense, but he is having a resurgent season with the bat. At the time I published this post he’s batting a healthy .331.
First Base: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals. Even though I cast my vote for Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, it’s difficult to argue with the fans’ selection. Zimmerman has been banged up for the past two to three seasons and in this comeback year he’s showing that when fully healthy he’s still an excellent ballplayer. Paul Goldschmidt made the team as the backup First Baseman.
Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals. While not the best defensive second baseman in the game, Murphy’s offense more than makes up for whatever plays he can’t make in the field. He’s a pure hitter who makes consistent, hard contact and is very difficult to strike out.
Shortstop: Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds. This is the first time the steadily improving Cozart has been voted to the All Star team, and it is a well deserved selection.
Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies. It’s difficult not to select this slick fielding, line-drive machine with power, so I can understand why the fans voted for him. However, Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals has a higher on base percentage, slugging average and OPS.
Outfield: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals. A feared hitter who plays the game with a vengeance, Harper is among the league leaders in every offensive category. Perhaps even better is that rifle he has for an arm, which keeps many a runner from attempting to take an extra base.
Outfield: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies. A talented outfielder who sports a high batting average and can steal a base, Blackmon’s power numbers have been increasing for the past four years. He appears to be at the top of his game right now.
Outfield: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins. The outfielder celebrated his selection on Sunday by hitting two home runs and knocking in four runs as the Marlins beat the Brewers. Just another day at the office for this winning ballplayer. However, my vote went to rookie Cody Bellinger, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who wasn’t even promoted to the big club until April 25th. Bellinger has played in seventeen fewer games than Ozuna, yet he has more home runs.
Catcher: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals. The four-time Gold Glove Winner was selected to his fifth All Star Team. Always a wizard with the glove, Perez has upped his game by improving on offense.
First Base: Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays. The former “can’t miss” prospect of the Texas Rangers has blossomed into the player many scouts projected. A first time All Star selection, Smoak is putting up the best numbers of his career this season.
Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros. Want to get Cooperstown? If you have a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400 and a slugging average over .500, like Jose Altuve does, you’ve checked off some of the boxes. The five time All Star is among the most exciting players in the game.
Shortstop: Carlos Correa, Houston Astros. The 2015 American League’s Rookie of the Year is a first time All Star whose power numbers have taken a upward spike this year.
Third Base: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians. The polished player America saw in last year’s playoffs is back in the limelight with a steady glove and a potent, powerful bat.
Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees. The 25 year old, 6′ 7″, 280 pound sensation has taken the baseball world by storm with his tape measure home runs. But the Yankee rookie isn’t just a one-dimensional player, he also can flash the leather while covering a lot of ground in the field. He leads major league baseball with 29 home runs, many of which would have gone out of any park, including Yellowstone.
Outfield: Mike Trout, California Angels. It’s a shame that the best player in major league baseball over the past five seasons will miss the All Star Game while he rehabilitates his left thumb, injured in a game on May 28th. How good is Mike Trout? In his five seasons, he has put up inner-circle Hall of Fame statistics in numerous categories, has won two Most Valuable Player Awards, and in the three years he didn’t win it, he came in second in the voting.
Outfield: George Springer, Houston Astros. My vote went to Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox. Both players excel in the field. Betts has the speed numbers, with more stolen bases, while Springer wins the power category, with more home runs. Betts will be the back up.
Designated Hitter: Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays. It’s nice to see the fans vote for a deserving, small-market player. I particularly like his .365 batting average on balls in play.
And there you have it. Enjoy the game, everybody!