Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My All-Star ballot

Internet problems have delayed my posting the past couple of...hours. But with All-Star balloting closing, here is who I have voted for.

(Edit, that didn't turn out the way I hoped.)

While I'm here I guess I will explain my reasoning behind all of my picks. Stats are from before Tuesday (the 2nd) night's games.


1B - Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins (.314, 12, 63)

I know a lot of people are taking the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis over Morneau, but Youk only has one more homer than Justin, and Morneau leads all AL first basemen in batting average and runs batted in.
Probable starter: Youkilis

2B - Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers (.324, 13, 50, 23 SB)
People can make the argument the Brain Roberts is better than Kinsler right now, but I don't see it that way. Roberts does have better defense but the All-Star game is basically about numbers. Kinsler is first in average, first in home runs, first in RBIs, and first in stolen bases among all AL second basemen.
Probable starter: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

3B - Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (.316, 16, 44)
A couple of weeks ago I would have picked Joe Crede of the Chicago White Sox over A-Rod, but the recent Madonna rumors have sprung me to vote for the Yankees third basemen (just kidding). Of course he's not off to the ridiculous start he had last year, but his numbers are still good enough to earn my vote. First in all AL hot corner representatives in average, home runs (tied), not to mention second in steals.
Probable starter: Rodriguez

SS - Michael Young, Texas Rangers (.287, 7, 44)
Young is always the lone Ranger representative in the All-Star Game, except for this year. Even with some teammates joining him on the team, he is still quietly putting up and excellent season with the team from Arlington. His .287 average is good enough for first among all AL shortstops and is also first in RBIs while second in home runs.
Probable starter: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

C - Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (.323, 3, 34)
While the power numbers aren't there, the second part of the "M&M" duo in Minnesota is still putting up consistent numbers at the catcher position. The .323 average is sixth in the majors and he leads all AL catchers in RBIs. No brainer, Mauer is the man.
Probable starter: Mauer

OF1 - Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers (.321, 16, 49)
As with his teammate Josh Hamilton, the story of Milton Bradley this season has been remarkable. Who would have thought the blow-up king of the MLB would be leading AL outfielders in average? Bradley is also tied for fourth in home runs among AL outfielders and ninth in RBIs.

OF2 - Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (.308, 19, 80)
You can't say enough of what Mr. Hamilton has done in a Rangers uniform. He is a legitimate triple crown threat, within the top 10 of all American League players in batting average, in the top 10 in the majors in home runs, and leads everybody in RBIs. I'd call that an All-Star first half.

OF3 - Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox (.284, 19, 61)
It's a shame this man isn't in the ballot (you have to write him in), because he really is putting up a great season so far for the south siders. He is hitting for average and also has the power numbers to back it up, tied for first in home runs and tied for 3rd in RBIs. While it may take some extra typing to vote for him, definitely do.
Probable starters: Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners

DH - Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles (.277, 14, 47)
It looks like David Ortiz will be the starter here, but he's not even playing. The dark horse here is Huff. When you look at it, Huff has better numbers than Big Papi and the best numbers of all the designated hitters. His .277 BA is good enough for 4th of all DHs and has the most RBIs and second most home runs of all DHs.
Probable starter: Ortiz


1B - Lance Berkman, Houston Astros (.361, 22, 68)

I don't know which one is the easier pick, Berkman, or Chase Utley. Berkman's stats do all the talking, second in the majors in batting average, third in home runs, and tied for second in RBIs. Rumors also say he will take part in the Home Run Derby, which I think he has a good shot to win.
Probable starter: Berkman

2B - Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies (.298, 23, 65)
My first half National League MVP, Utley is certainly following in the footsteps of previous MVP winners Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. While Dan Uggla has been a nice surprise for the Florida Marlins, Utley's numbers are second to none, first among all second basemen in average, home runs, and RBIs.
Probable starter: Utley

3B - Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (.393, 16, 46)
.393. .393!!! That is a ridiculous stat which itself puts Chipper into the All-Star Game. Along with the best batting average in the big leagues, he is second in all NL third basemen in home runs and sixth in RBIs. We'll see if his injury bug holds up just enough so he can start in the Midsummer Classic.
Probable starter: Jones

SS - Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (.298, 20, 41)
Certainly the cream of the crop of all shortstop in the NL, Ramirez has had an excellent season so far for the contending Marlins. While he is sixth among all NL shortstops in average, he has had the 4th most at bats and guys ahead of him like Rafael Furcal, Jack Wilson, and Jeff Keppinger, who all have under 180. He packs a lot of punch, first in SS home runs, and second in RBIs.
Probable starter: Ramirez

C - Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (.298, 14, 45)
This was a hard one, as it is a toss up between Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto and McCann. Either one would do, but McCann's power numbers have me favor him over Soto. Third in all NL catchers in batting average, first in HRs, and third in RBIs.
Probable starter: Soto

OF1 - Carlos Lee, Houston Astros (.287, 18, 64)
As always, Lee is putting up a very good season with the Astros. 13th in average, fourth in home runs, and first in RBIs among all NL outfielders is good enough for an All-Star start. There could be many arguments for guys like Nate McLouth (Pittsburgh Pirates), Pat Burrell (Phillies), and Matt Holliday (Colorado Rockies), but Lee, in my opinion, has put together the better all-around season so far.

OF2 - Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (.278, 20, 58)
A late charge in the ballot race has Braun close to Kosuke Fukudome for the third outfield spot. He deserves that spot. Tied for first in all NL outfielders in homers and second in RBIs. The average is at a respectable spot, but still good enough to earn a starting spot.

OF3 - Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals (.284, 16, 56)
This one was the toughest choice for me. I considered taking McLouth for this spot, but after reviewing the numbers Ludwick was the way to go. His .284 average is higher than Braun's and he has put up some good power numbers, 7th in home runs and 3rd in RBIs among all NL outfielders.
Probable starters: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati Reds

Of course all of these picks are debatable, but that's what the ballots are all about.

Hopefully I have something about NHL free-agency Days 1 and 2 later on tonight.

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