The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is set to go Hollywood with the game being played on July 19 in Los Angeles.
All-Star rosters can often turn into popularity contests, especially with fan voting. The fans deserve some credit as the most recent voting results match up with what the actual starting lineups should look like.
Here is a breakdown of the most deserving players starting with the American League. With each team needing a player on the team, that will limit one team like the MLB-leading New York Yankees from getting as many players on the roster as they deserve.
The tricky part for the American League is what happens with Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani won the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player Award and is currently second in the AL MVP odds according to the MLB lines, coming in at +375. However, will he get the nod as the starting designated hitter ahead of Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros?
Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays: The 23-year-old Kirk went from hitting .242 to .304. When you factor in his 27 walks, his on-base percentage is an impressive .395. He has already set career-highs with 31 runs, 56 hits, 10 doubles, and 17 extra-base hits. He has thrown out eight base runners as well.
He would be joined by another surprise in 2022, Jonah Heim of Texas who has nine doubles, nine homers, and 26 RBIs. It is a safe assumption that few who bet online envisioned either Kirk or Heim as the All-Star catchers in the American League.
Vladimir Guerrero, Toronto Blue Jays: A tough call considering that Anthony Rizzo has more runs, doubles, home runs, and RBIs than Guerrero. However, a .235 average hurts Rizzo’s case to be the starting first baseman. Josh Naylor of Cleveland, Jared Walsh of the Los Angeles Angels, and Baltimore’s Ryan Mountcastle also deserve All-Star consideration.
Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees: There’s not much to separate Torres from the perennial All-Star Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros so we are going with Torres since he has played in 10 more games than Altuve. Of course, if Altuve played in 62 games like Torres, the order might be reversed.
Torres is hitting .263 with 13 home runs and 32 RBIs while Altuve is at .273 with 13 home runs and 24 RBIs. Torres has also committed just three errors in 202 chances compared to six errors by Altuve in 30 fewer opportunities.
There needs to be a spot for Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins, who is hitting .362.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox: Another position where the final nod goes to the busier of the two All-Star candidates. Bogaerts is hitting .335 with 42 runs, 20 doubles, and 31 RBIs in 67 games.
Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox has a .358 average with 27 runs and eight stolen bases in 42 games. Houston rookie Jeremy Pena (.277, nine home runs, six stolen bases) deserves consideration as well.
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians: Is there a way that two third basemen could start for the American League? Ramirez and Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox are both deserving of the nod.
Ramirez leads Devers in on-base percentage and slugging percentage so he is the pick. He is batting .303 with 42 runs, 21 doubles, 16 home runs, 11 stolen bases, and 62 RBIs. Devers has a .328 average, 41 extra-base hits, and 53 runs. A .243 average might keep Kansas City rookie Bobby Witt Jr. out of the game.
Already with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases, there figure to be All-Star appearances in Witt’s future.
Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles: This is not just a case of getting a representative from the Orioles. Hays is on pace for his second straight season with more than 20 home runs and could finish with more than 30 doubles as well.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: Who were you expecting? Considering his injury issues, it is easy to forget that Trout can do it all. He isn’t asked to steal bases after topping the 30-steal mark three times earlier in his career. He is hitting .284, his lowest mark since his rookie season but has 49 runs, 21 home runs, and 43 RBIs.
For excitement purposes and to get a Seattle player on the team, rookie Julio Rodriguez (.272, 21 extra-base hits, 18 stolen bases) should get the All-Star call. A .228 average might hurt the chances for Minnesota’s Byron Buxton while Houston’s George Springer is another worthy candidate.
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees: With 25 home runs and 70 RBIs, he is on pace to approach 60 home runs and top 150 RBIs so who else could get the starting nod?
The MLB betting odds list Judge (-110) as the favorite in the MVP race. Judge is also the top vote-getter in the American League.
Andrew Vaughn of the Chicago White Sox hasn’t been putting up huge power numbers but a .326 average, 12 doubles, seven homers and 31 RBIs get him his first All-Star invitation.
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros: Yes, Alvarez is the selection ahead of reigning American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani.
Alvarez is hitting .312 with 43 runs, 19 home runs, and 49 RBIs. Ohtani joins him with a .260 average, 15 home runs, and 45 RBIs.
Welcome back, Yordan! pic.twitter.com/r8t1odwhYV
— MLB (@MLB) June 22, 2022
With Detroit needing a representative, why not go with a sentimental choice and put Miguel Cabrera on the squad? Boston’s J.D. Martinez .330, 23 doubles, 30 RBIs) is another top candidate.
Shane McClanahan of Tampa Bay (7-3, 1.81 ERA, 113 strikeouts), Toronto’s Alek Manoah (8-2, 2.00 ERA), Seattle’s Logan Gilbert (7-3, 2.28), and Nelson Cortes of the New York Yankees (6-3, 78 strikeouts) bring some new faces to the American League pitching staff.
Veteran Justin Verlander (8-3, 2.30 ERA) would join them. Martin Perez of Texas (5-2, 1.96 ERA) and Oakland’s Paul Blackburn (6-2, 2.26 ERA) could be the representatives for their teams.
The MLB picks currently have McClanahan and Verlander as the betting favorites in the Cy Young race at +350.
Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase (1.53 ERA, 16 saves). He could be joined by Scott Barlow of the Kansas City Royals (2-1, 2.32 ERA), Tampa Bay’s J.P. Feyereisen (4-0, 0.00 ERA in 20 appearances), Clay Holmes of the New York Yankees (4-0, 0.55 ERA, 11 saves),
Brock Burke of Texas (4-1, 0.80 ERA) and Jorge Lopez of Baltimore (0.79 ERA, 11 saves).
Coming on Thursday: Predictions on the National League All-Stars roster.