July 2, 2008

MY AL All-Stars

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
This is a pretty easy pick. Mauer leads the AL in hitting. And he leads all catchers with an .856 OPS and 34 RBI. There is not other catcher in the AL that can carry Mauer's jock and he's the easy choice. Honorable Mention: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox

First Base: Justin Morneau, Twins, Twins
Morneau & Youkilis have both had great seasons, but I have to go with Morneau due his run production. He has 63 RBI which is second in the AL. Morneau is also on pace for almost 200 hits. He is having a great season despite having lower power numbers than he'd like. However, he can always turn it on in the second half although he usually is a first-half power hitter. Regardless, he's having a great season thus far. Honorable Mention: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox

Second Base: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Kinsler is one of the more underrated players in baseball. He is first in the majors with 113 hits. He also leads all AL second basemen with 13 home runs, 50 RBI, and OPS. And he is 2nd in average and stolen bases. His glove is definitely not great, but he is such a versatile offensive player that he is a great threat at the top of the order. Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Alex Rodriguez is the most scrutenized player in all of baseball, yet he continuosly puts up spectacular numbers year in and year out. Behind Albert Pujols, I view Rodriguez as the best hitter in the game and this season Rodriguez continues to prove this point. He's hitting .322/.408/.601 with 16 home runs and has 44 RBI. He's on pace for his lowest RBI total since 1997 but I don't think there's even a question that he's the best third baseman so far this season in the AL. Honorable Mention: Evan Longoria, Rays

Shortstop: Michael Young, Rangers
Young leads all AL shortstops with 97 hits, a .285 average, and 43 RBI. He is also second with 7 home runs and a .755 OPS. He is not the hitter he once was, but he's still one of the best in the AL. Besides Young, it really comes down to Derek Jeter and Jhonny Peralta. However, this 31-year-old slugger is still the best pick. He is on pace for 14 home runs with 85 RBI. The AL is not blessed with great middle infielders like the NL, but Young is the best right now. Honorable Mention: Jhonny Peralta, Indians

Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
The Rangers acquired Hamilton in the off-season and I don't think anyone expected him to play this well, at least not this soon. He's quickly emerged as the A.L.'s top slugger this season and he's definitely the most deserving of an All-Star nod. He is on pace for 37 home runs and 155 RBI. His average has taken quite a dip, but he's still the A.L.'s best chance at winning the Triple Crown (this season).

Outfield: Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Quentin (like Hamilton) was also acquired in the off-season, only Quentin was acquired for a next to nothing (respectfully speaking). Although Chris Carter is a good prospect, the Diamondbacks got hosed on the deal as Quentin is another of the A.L.'s top sluggers this season. He has 61 RBI which ranks him second in the AL for outfielders. He is also tied for first with Hamilton and the next outfielder with 19 home runs.

Outfield: Grady Sizemore, Indians
Sizemore is on pace for the most productive season of his career. He is a huge threat at the top of the Indian's lineup and hurts teams with his outstanding baserunning. His average is a little low, but his .878 OPS would be his second best in his career. Sizemore is just 25-years-old but is still one of the best all-around outfielders in the game. Honorable Mention: Jermaine Dye, White Sox

Designated Hitter: Milton Bradley, Rangers
Another player acquired in the off-season, Bradley was brought in through free agency. He had knee problems which frightened teams, but his attitude is probably the only thing that's ever held him back. He's finally producing and is off to a great start. He's been banged up a little this season, but he's still put up great numbers. He leads all AL DH's (who qualify at least) with 49 RBI and a 1.039 OPS and is tied for 1st with 16 home runs. If David Ortiz was healthy, he might have been the most deserving, but with him being injured Bradley is the easy choice. Honorable Mention: David Ortiz, Red Sox

Starting Pitcher: Cliff Lee, Indians
Lee got off to a terrific start this season and is clearly the best pitcher in the AL thus far. He has a ridiculous 11-1 record and a 5.6 K/BB ratio. If the Indians offense was better, he'd probably have another 2-3 wins which is absurd to think of a pitcher having 13-14 wins halfway through the season. Joe Saunders, Roy Halladay, Justin Duchscherer and John Danks have all had great seasons but Lee is clearly the AL's best. Honorable Mention: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays