Picking the American League All Star was not as simple as the NL. There’s a plethora of candidates, even more so if I take into account eligibility. For the following piece I only considered players with the primary position of first base as designated by MLB. While many other players may qualify depending games played in 2011 or 2012, I subtracted eligibility in order to maintain the player pool for my fellow writers here at Fake Teams. This helped narrow down my decision.
American League All Star
Paul Konerko -Many people weren't high on Konerko entering the season fortunately for me I was on the other side of the fence. I made the argument prior to the year that Konerko, when comparing draft price and position scarcity, was a better buy than Joey Votto. All Konerko has done is put up the best numbers amongst American League first baseman. Many point to teammate Adam Dunn’s incredible home run and RBI pace, stating that the resurgent Dunn should be declared the first-half fantasy all-star. If we are to utilize standard scoring for Head-to-Head leagues (1 point for singles, 2 for doubles, 3 for triples, 4 for home runs, 1 for runs, 1 for walks, and -1 for strikeouts) Konerko has a +23 points scored over Dunn. If we compare to the two in a standard 5x5 Roto format, Dunn would carry a +3 category score. Normally I’d prefer the player who is affecting more categories; however the separation in batting average, .335 for PK compared to .210 for AD, is so vast that Konerko seems to be the logical choice here as well. I don’t expect Konerko to keep hitting at the same clip all year, the average is a little inflated by a .356 babip, and historically Konerko appears to be a better first-half performer. Still, even if there is a dip in performance I don’t expect it to be by much. His iso is on par with last year and his K% is the lowest it has been since 2003. We may even see an uptick in RBI if those batting in front of him such as Kevin Youkilis can improve their OBP.
National League All Star
Joey Votto -While I still believe Konerko could be the smarter buy depending on who you paired him with, my first base rankings couldn’t have been any more off. Votto leads all first baseman in AVG/OBP/SLG with a slash line of .350/.471/.632. Only three first baseman have an OPS over .900. They are the red hot Paul Goldschmidt(.907), the aforementioned Paul Konerko (.962), and Joey Votto with a career besting 1.103. He also leads the major leagues in doubles (33) and walks (60). He’s been nothing short of sensational blowing away other tier 1 first baseman such as Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, and Prince Fielder. The only knock on Votto has been the lack of steals, and owners are only disappointed if they believed he would be able to swipe near 16 bags again.
Honorable Mention: Paul Goldschmidt and Adam LaRoche