TWW’s 2012 MLB All-Stars: American League Roster
As All-Star rosters for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game are due to be released this weekend, its time for The Waiver Wire to release their first annual All-Star teams. Just like the actual rosters, every team has to be represented in the game, meaning that some of the fringe picks were decided based off who needs to be included in the game in order to meet the standards put in place by the commissioner’s office. Without further ado, here is the National League roster, including starters and reserves. Anything in bold represents league leader. Stats are final as of Saturday, June 30th.
The Starters -
This spot really comes down to Mauer and A.J. Pierzynksi. Pierzynski has more home runs and RBIs, but Mauer has higher on-base and slugging percentages. It will be one or the other, and each are deserving.
1B- Paul Konerko, CHW – 69 games, .337/.415/.561, 14 HR 40 RBI
Though he has cooled down a little bit lately, Konerko is still leading the American League in average and on-base percentage. Given the overall disappointing year by American League first baseman, it would be a shame if Konerko didn’t earn the starting nod.
2B- Robinson Cano, NYY – 76 games, .305/.368/.573, 18 HR 43 RBI
Easy pick here, as Cano leads American League second baseman in pretty much every offensive category.
3B- Adrian Beltre, TEX – 74 games, .325/.358/.524, 13 HR 51 RBI
Really, the pick here is Miguel Cabrera, but I put him as the DH because Beltre is a much better defender. Beltre has been great on offense too, hitting over .300 with a solid power numbers (on pace for about 30 home runs).
SS- Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE – 67 games, .292/.373/.487, 11 HR 38 RBI
I know because of the fan vote, this spot will be Derek Jeter’s, but Cabrera has had the better year overall. Jeter has a higher batting average, but Cabrera has him beating in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, and RBIs. Jeter winning this spot is not a travesty though, as he has also had a great offensive season.
Leading the league or near the lead league in every offensive category. Easy pick.
OF- Mark Trumbo, LAA – 68 games, .314/.365/.620, 19 HR 53 RBI
As of June 20th, one of nine players in all of baseball to have an OPS higher than 1.000. He’s also on pace to hit over .300 and for more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
OF- Adam Jones, BAL – 76 games, .297/.342/.548, 19 HR 41 RBI
Adam Jones truly has been the face of the Baltimore Orioles resurgence. He seems to be in the middle of everything Buck Showalter is looking to accomplish this season. He’s becoming one of the best all-around talents in the Majors, and should be rewarded with a starting assignment.
DH- Miguel Cabrera, DET – 77 games, .309/.367/.537, 16 HR 62 RBI
Miguel Cabrera is one of the best offensive talents this game has ever seen. Its not his fault the Tigers have gotten out to such a slow start. He’s still doing all the things you would expect of him. And, he’s not even been that horrible defensively this season. Something’s gotta give in Detroit.
Its going to come down to Verlander, Chris Sale or David Price for this starting assignment. Unlike the National League, where there’s a clear cut favorite, any of the three are worthy and you can make a good argument for all of them. We’re going with Verlander because he’s hasn’t let up at all from his magical ’11 campaign.
C- A.J. Pierzynski, CHW – 67 games, .285/.332/.517, 14 HR 45 RBI
Pierzynski has been a source of power, something he hasn’t really been at any point in his career. He’s never finished a season with a slugging percentage over .500, and his career-high for homers is 18. He’s had a terrific first half, and that’s why he’ll be the back-up back stop on this year’s team.
1B- Prince Fielder, DET – 77 games, .297/.370/.490, 12 HR 51 RBI
For Fielder, everything about his start to 2012 signals a bit of a down year. And yet, he’s done more than enough to make an All-Star team. That’s how talented this guy really is. The Tigers are hoping his slugging percentage starts rising (his previous career-low was .471, though he did hit 32 homers that year).
2B- Jason Kipnis, CLE – 75 games, .279/.335/.432, 11 HR 45 RBI
Kipnis has been amazing this year. He’s making a claim to be the second best second basemen in all of baseball, and a good one at that. Unfortunately for him, the best all-around second basemen in the Majors is also playing in the American League in Robby Cano. That shouldn’t undersell the things Kipnis is currently doing. He’s fantastic.
3B- Mike Moustakas, KC – 70 games, .272/.340/.487, 13 HR 38 RBI
The Royals offense should be better than it is. Moustakas, after a rough rookie season, is putting together a much better sophomore year. He’s playing stellar defense and hitting at a promising pace for a 23-year old. He and Eric Hosmer have done 180s this year, which is bad news for Hosmer. But, there has been signs of life, so maybe the Royals O will get turned around.
SS- Derek Jeter, NYY – 74 games, .303/.353/.409, 7 HR 25 RBI
There have been years where Jeter makes the team because he’s Derek Jeter. However, he’s earned it this season, being the guiding force at the top of the Yankees line-up.
OF- Mike Trout, LAA – 55 games, .342/.398/.535, 8 HR 32 RBI, leads league with 22 stolen bases
Yes, he’s only played in 55 games. But, unlike Bryce Harper, Mike Trout has been one of the five best players in the Major Leagues since he was called up from the Minors. He may not be the only reason why the Angels have turned it around, but he’s at the front of the line. That, and the ridiculous catch he had to rob poor J.J. Hardy of a home run the other day have cemented his place in Kansas City.
OF- Curtis Granderson, NYY – 76 games, .242/.345/.500, 22 HR 45 RBI
The batting average is low, but his other numbers honestly make him one of the better center fielders in the American League. He gives the AL a lefty bat off the bench with pop and speed and can play all three outfield positions.
OF- Jose Bautista, TOR – 77 games, .238/.356/.550, 26 HR 61 RBI
Joey Bats isn’t hitting for the high average he had last year, but considering the brutal start he got off to, this has to be an encouraging sign for Blue Jays fans. He can still mash with the best of them. He wasn’t originally our Toronto representative, but the injury to Brandon Morrow thrusts Bautista into the game, and takes a spot away from either Alex Rios or Alejandro de Aza.
DH- David Ortiz, BOS – 76 games, .307/.396/.621, 21 HR 53 RBI
Ortiz has been nothing short of amazing for Boston this year. With the team having so much turmoil and injury, Big Papi has been the stabilizing force in the offense, which has been needed since Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia are off to slow starts and Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are on the DL.
SP- Chris Sale, CHW – 14 starts (1 relief appearance), 9-2, 2.27 ERA, 94 Ks, 24 walks, 0.97 WHIP
Sale has been impressive when he’s been in the rotation. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, and there is a real good chance that he, and not Verlander, will be the starting pitcher in the ASG. For mine and Vinny Ginardi’s sake, we’re actually hoping that he doesn’t. If he and R.A. Dickey start against each other, we’re obligated to go. I’m not ready to take that kind of hit to my bank account.
SP- David Price, TB – 16 starts, 11-4, 2.92 ERA, 97 Ks, 35 walks, 1.22 WHIP
Despite the high WHIP, Price has been the work force ace for the Rays. He’s arguably the best lefty in the American League, if not the MLB.
SP- C.J. Wilson, LAA – 16 starts, 9-4, 2.36 ERA, 81 Ks, 41 walks, 1.15 WHIP
I’ve mentioned that Mike Trout is a huge reason for the Angels recent surge. Wilson and Jered Weaver are the big reasons on the other side of the ball. Wilson has always been prone to walks, but he’s managed to keep people from scoring, which is all you ask of your starting pitchers.
SP- Jake Peavy, CHW – 15 starts, 6-4, 2.84 ERA, 90 Ks, 24 walks, 0.99 WHIP
Has Peavy righted his career ship? After years of various injuries limiting his effectiveness and ability to stay on the field, the former Cy Young award winner appears to be back on the All-Star track. Stunningly, this would be only his third All-Star selection.
SP- Jered Weaver, LAA – 13 starts, 8-1, 2.31 ERA, 66 Ks, 18 walks, 0.92 WHIP
After missing a couple starts due to injury, Weaver came back as if he never missed a beat at all. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the American League over the last three years, and he should coast into his third consecutive All-Star appearance.
SP- Jason Hammel, BAL – 15 starts, 8-3, 3.29 ERA, 89 Ks, 32 walks, 1.19 WHIP
The trade that brought Hammel to Baltimore from Colorado is looking like an absolute steal right now. He got roughed up in his last start, which ballooned his ERA over 3. He’s been much better than his numbers indicate, and he is the unquestioned, unexpected ace of the Orioles staff.
SP- Felix Hernandez, SEA – 16 starts, 6-5, 3.09 ERA, 114 Ks, 32 walks, 1.22 WHIP
Even in an un-king-like season, Hernandez has done more than enough to make another All-Star appearance. His complete game shutout victory over the Red Sox last week really cemented his place on this squad. That, and there is nobody else on the Mariners worthy of selection.
SP- Brandon McCarthy, OAK – 12 starts, 6-3, 2.54 ERA, 52 Ks, 19 walks, 1.21 WHIP
Injuries will be the only thing that keeps McCarthy off this All-Star team. If he’s healthy to go, he should be making his first appearance in his up-and-down career.
RP- Jim Johnson, BAL – 34 games, 1-0, 1.30 ERA, 23 saves, 22 Ks, 9 walks, 0.78 WHIP
That’s right, three Pittsburgh Pirates and three Baltimore Orioles will be present in Kansas City this season. Johnson is not a power pitcher, an oddity for closers, but he’s the most reliable in the American League.
RP- Chris Perez, CLE – 31 games, 0-1, 2.76 ERA, 23 saves, 30 Ks, 7 walks, 1.02 WHIP
Perez was a bit of a surprise selection last year, but has come back this year and dominated the competition. He’s one of the best closers currently in the game, and this could be another selection in a long string of appearances in the Mid Summer Classic.
RP- Fernando Rodney, TB – 36 games, 2-1, 1.04 ERA, 22 saves, 35 Ks, 5 walks, 0.75 WHIP (leads league with 32 games finished)
Uhm, how did this happen? Fernando Rodney has gone from mercurial set-up man to lock-down closer in a matter of weeks. He’s been huge for the Rays in an uncertain bullpen, and has absolutely earned an appearance this year.
RP- Jonathon Broxton, KC – 30 games, 1-1, 2.05 ERA, 20 saves, 23 Ks, 12 walks, 1.34 WHIP
If anything, Broxton has re-established some of his trade value coming up at the deadline. However, the numbers that should scare any team that is looking to add him: the walks and the WHIP. Neither of those numbers really do anything to say his current rate of success is sustainable.
RP- Scott Downs, LAA – 29 games, 1-0, 0.35 ERA, 6 saves, 18 Ks, 6 walks, 1.04 WHIP
Scott Downs just doesn’t let runners score. He used to be almost exclusively a LOOGY, but he’s more than that now. With so much uncertainty at the end of games in MLB bullpens these days, Downs has proven to be a monster for the Angels and one they can count on day in and day out.
RP- Ryan Cook, OAK – 34 games, 2-2, 1.59 ERA, 6 saves, 37 Ks, 21 walks, 0.97 WHIP
The walk numbers are high, but so are the strikeouts. He also doesn’t surrender many hits at all, so you can live with the wildness at times. His value is sky rocketing, and he’ll make trading Grant Balfour at some point this season much more bearable for A’s fans.