Yesterday, MLB announced the results of the voting for the 86th MLB All Star game, and below are the starters for the American League and National League, along with my thoughts on some of the voting results. The fans vote for the players, but sometimes the best players do not get voted in to start the All Star game. I recall Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter being voted in as the American League starting shortstop when he wasn't the best player at his position. He is certainly not the only player who didn't deserve to start, but he is the player that comes to mind first for me.
Here are the starters for the American League and National League, per MLB.com:
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
3B: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
SS: Alcides Escobar, Royals
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Lorenzo Cain, Royals
OF: Alex Gordon, Royals
DH: Nelson Cruz, Mariners
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
2B: Dee Gordon, Marlins
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds
SS: Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
My All Star game thoughts
From a fantasy point of view, we want to see the best hitter at each position start in the All Star game, so here is what the All Star game rosters would look like if the best hitter, as measured by wRC+, were voted in:
C: Stephen Vogt, Athletics - 145 wRC+
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers - 184 wRC+
2B: Jason Kipnis, Indians - 162 wRC+
3B: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays / Manny Machado, Orioles - 142 wRC+
SS: Jose Iglesias, Tigers 113 wRC+
OF: Mike Trout, Angels - 180 wRC+
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays - 152 wRC+
OF: J.D. Martinez, Tigers - 149 wRC+
DH: Nelson Cruz, Mariners - 158 wRC+
C: Buster Posey, Giants - 149 wRC+
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs - 189 wRC+
2B: Joe Panik, Giants - 134 wRC+
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds - 158 wRC+
SS: Brandon Crawford, Giants - 129 wRC+
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals - 223 wRC+
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates - 147 wRC+
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins - 155 wRC+
As you can see the voters missed out on some excellent individual players in both leagues. Here are a few thoughts on players voted in.
- Salvador Perez was voted in over A's catcher Stephen Vogt even though his wRC+ is 4% below league average right now, while Vogt is 47% above league average.
- Jason Kipnis is having the best year of his career, even though his power and speed totals are down, he is hitting .341 with a .419 OBP and a 4.8 fWAR
- Josh Donaldson has received more love from the national media, but Orioles young third baseman Manny Machado is having just as good a season as Donaldson is through the first three months. They are both hitting in the .290 range, and while Donaldson has one more home run and more RBI and runs scored, Machado's 13 stolen bases make his an excellent all star candidate.
- Royals fans did their job and voted for their favorite players, but Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain don't deserve to be all stars based on their wRC+ to date. Jose Bautista and J.D. Martinez are quietly having solid seasons at the dish.
- The National League voters did a great job in voting in the best hitters at each position, voting in Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper (duh), and Giancarlo Stanton.
- But, two Giants infielders are currently the best hitters at their position right now - Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford. Crawford has become a mini-Tulo at shortstop, as he is hitting .265 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI to lead all fantasy shortstops, although Tulowtizki is over his early season struggles at the plate and should pass him in the power categories in the next month or sooner.
- Panik is also the surprise leader at second base with a 129 wRC+, hitting .301 with 6 home runs, 41 runs scored and 30 RBI hitting in the second spot in the Giants lineup. Gordon has the speed, but has scored only two more runs than Panik, while driving in just 21 runs.
- The NL is stacked at third base with Frazier having another excellent year at the plate, but Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Cubs rookie third baseman Kris Bryant promise to make the third base voting pretty tight in the coming years.
- Matt Holliday won the fan voting but he is not the same power hitter we are used to seeing playing left field in St. Louis. He has been out since early June, but his power stats are down significantly from last season, and he is on pace for his worst power season of his career.