Your June 7 American League All-Stars
June, 7, 2011
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
Elsa/Getty ImagesAdrian Gonzalez is hitting .339 with 12 home runs and leads the AL with 50 RBIs.We did the NL All-Stars earlier. Here's my AL All-Star nominations as of June 7.
Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers. Wow, the state of American League catching right now is ... well, it's up and coming. Some nice young catchers. I still expect Carlos Santana to hit, and J.P. Arencibia is having a solid rookie season, and Matt Wieters is hitting a little. Avila has been great for two months. Can he keep it up? He's the default starter for now.
Backup: Wieters, Orioles. Joe Mauer, we miss you.
First base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. Sorry, Red Sox fans, Miggy is having a better year than Adrian Gonzalez. Higher on-base percentage, higher slugging percentage. The big difference: Cabrera has a 45/35 BB/SO ratio, while Gonzalez's is just 18/42.
Backup: Paul Konerko, White Sox. Following up a terrific 2010 with another big season: .314 with 13 home runs.
Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees. The hacktastic approach is a little disconcerting (nine walks, 33 whiffs), but we'll give him the slight edge over Howie Kendrick and Ben Zobrist.
Backup: Zobrist, Rays. With apologies to Kendrick, I'm not sure he'll maintain that .370 BABIP, and Zobrist has more power and is an excellent defender.
Third base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. Adrian Beltre, who was so great with Boston in 2010, leads all third basemen with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs, but eight of those home runs have come at home and he has a weak .305 OBP.
Backup: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox.
Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .308 with 12 home runs, 15 doubles, 42 RBIs and 40 runs, but his defense doesn't rate well, giving Ramirez's all-around game the slight nod.
Backup: Cabrera, Indians.
Left field: Umm ... We'll get back to this.
Center field: Curtis Granderson, Yankees. No, Red Sox fans, I have nothing against your team. Jacoby Ellsbury is having a terrific season, but Granderson's OPS is 128 points higher. But since left field is so weak, we'll start Ellsbury there. So ...
Left field: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox.
Backup center fielder: Denard Span, Twins. Leads AL center fielders in OBP and his defense has been superb.
Right field: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. Only 12 AL hitters have an OPS over .900 and nine of them are right fielders, first basemen or DHs. The other three: Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera and another shortstop, Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers.
Backup: Matt Joyce, Rays. I'm not a complete believer yet, but that .348/.405/.610 line with 10 home runs makes him a SweetSpot All-Star as of June 7.
Designated hitter: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox. OK, Red Sox fans can relax now. With apologies to David Ortiz, who is mashing this season.
Pinch-hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox. Instead of going with a backup left fielder, we'll find room for Ortiz anyway. This lineup could use a big bat off the bench and Ortiz is hitting .325/.394/.594, ranking third in the AL in slugging percentage.
Starting pitcher: Jered Weaver, Angels. He was terrific last season, and he's been better than Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander this year (his 2.14 ERA is nearly a run lower than their twin 3.04 marks).
Long relievers: Hernandez, Mariners; Verlander, Tigers; CC Sabathia, Yankees; Dan Haren, Angels; Josh Beckett, Red Sox.
Emergency extra-inning pitchers: Michael Pineda, Mariners; David Price, Rays.
Setup relievers: Alexi Ogando, Rangers; C.J. Wilson, Rangers. Since both are former relievers, they'll make a nice 1-2 tandem to set up our closer. Interesting that so many AL starters are actually more dominant than the best relievers. The depth of starting pitching in the AL is remarkable right now as the list of starters not on this roster is deep and impressive.
Closer: Mariano Rivera, Yankees. Yes, sir.
Again, this gives us a nice 28-man roster to battle those National Leaguers. The AL squad has been affected by injuries to the likes of Mauer and 2010 MVP Josh Hamilton. And nearly half of my All-Stars (13) are from the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays. Here's our starting lineup:
LF Jacoby Ellsbury
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Miguel Cabrera
RF Jose Bautista
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Alex Avila
SS Alexei Ramirez
P Jered Weaver
Yes, you'll notice I switched Cabrera and Gonzalez. It's an All-Star Game, so I can do what I want. Anyway, five left-handed bats to go after Roy Halladay and a string of dominating pitchers ready to come out from the bullpen. Bring it on, NL!