Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball's All-Star balloting
ended at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday and like the good baseball fan that I am, I
got my picks in right before the deadline.
It's been mentioned before, but how much easier is it being able to make your
picks online rather than having to punch those silly ballots you get at the
ballpark? Perhaps it's just me, but they always seemed to be a pain in the
Luckily, thanks to technology, you don't have to waste your time doing
that now and you can just turn on your computer or your phone and bang it
out like that.
I've even gotten my 6-year-old son into the act this year. although his picks
seemed to lean heavily in the direction of the New York Yankees and Mets. So if
you were wondering who it was who voted Josh Thole in as a starter, it was my
By the way, Tyler, your love for David Wright is killing everyone else in the
This year, since I was feeling wacky, I filled out two ballots. One based
solely on merit and, two, to give a shout out to my fantasy team, which, by the
way, if you saw the standings, really has no business even being associated
with any type of All-Star Game.
Let's put it this way, Steve Schwarz I am not this season.
Anyway, the first ballot I filled out - we will call it the merit one - and
the only one that matters for these purposes, went something like this:
1B PAUL KONERKO, CHICAGO: Konerko got off to a sizzling start and although he
has tailed off some, he's still among league leaders in both average (.332)
and on-base percentage (.410). Not to mention he's only committed one error
this season. He's also a prime candidate for AL MVP through the first half for
the AL Central-leading White Sox.
2B ROBINSON CANO, N.Y. YANKEES: Cano has struggled with RISP (.181) this
season, but his play over the past few weeks has clearly cemented his status as
one of best players in baseball. No other AL second baseman is even within 100
points of his .580 slugging percentage and he ranks eighth in the AL with 18
home runs. Plus he'll serve as captain for the AL Home Run Derby team.
SS ASDRUBAL CABRERA, CLEVELAND: Cabrera is not going to start this game with
New York's Derek Jeter leading the voting by well over a million votes.
Cabrera, though, has developed into the best all-around shortstop in the game.
In addition to his tremendous defense, Cabrera is hitting .291 with 10 home
runs, 37 RBI and 37 runs scored.
3B ADRIAN BELTRE, TEXAS: You probably could have gone with the Detroit Tigers'
Miguel Cabrera here and nobody would have batted an eye, but Beltre gets the
nod, primarily because of his glove. That's not to say he hasn't produced at
the plate, where he is actually outhitting Cabrera by nearly 20 points. His
defense, though, is what separates him.
OF JOSH HAMILTON, TEXAS: He may have cooled off after an unbelievable start,
but he is still a Triple Crown threat, provided he stays healthy. And that, of
course, is no given. With his pending free agency, Hamilton will be a huge
story in the second half.
OF MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS: At age 20, Trout isn't on the ballot and
won't be named a starter, but he should be. It's no surprise that his arrival
coincided with the Angels' turnaround. And, oh, by the way, he's currently
leading the AL in hitting at .345. Plus, he's not too shabby in the field
either. His flat-out robbery of Baltimore's J.J. Hardy on Wednesday may be the
best catch I have ever seen.
OF ADAM JONES, BALTIMORE: The Orioles knew just how special Jones was when
they signed him to a long-term extension earlier in the year. He's more than
lived up to that contract and is a big reason why the Orioles will still be
relevant this season at the All-Star break.
C A.J. PIERZYNSKI, CHICAGO: The durable Pierzynski is having a career season
from a power standpoint and should be rewarded. Recently voted baseball's most-
hated player, Pierzynski is also a lock to catch 1,000 innings for the 11th
consecutive season, a streak unmatched by any active catcher
DH DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON - How can you name an All-Star Game DH in the AL and not
have it be Ortiz, who this year is having one of his best seasons in some time,
hitting .308 with 21 home runs, 53 RBI and 56 runs scored.
SP - CHRIS SALE, CHICAGO: The converted reliever has become the unquestioned
leader of the White Sox staff. He hasn't lost since May 12 and leads the AL in
ERA (2.27). The popular opinion seems to be that Detroit's Justin Verlander
will get the nod, but why? Sale's team is ahead of Verlander's in the
standings, plus he's a fresh face. Sale deserves the spot.
1B JOEY VOTTO, CINCINNATI: Easiest choice of anyone. Votto has been the best
player in baseball this season and a big reason why the Reds are tops in the
NL Central. His 1.109 OPS is off the charts and unlike the AL, there is not
another first baseman in the NL who's even in the same stratosphere as Votto.
2B BRANDON PHILLIPS, CINCINNATI: A lot of people are leaning toward Houston's
Jose Altuve and he is having a terrific season, but his numbers fall short
when compared to Phillips, who has doubled him in production.
SS IAN DESMOND, WASHINGTON: There really isn't an overwhelming choice at
shortstop in the NL. Starlin Castro's attitude bugs me, Jose Reyes hasn't been
great and despite some terrific power numbers, Jed Lowrie is only hitting .262.
So I went with Ian Desmond. The Nats have been one of the most consistent teams
in the league this season and should be rewarded in Kansas City. Desmond has
been the one constant in a Washington lineup who has endured a lot of injuries,
hitting .276 with 13 home runs and eight stolen bases.
3B DAVID WRIGHT - Most people expected the Mets to lose over 100 games this
season, but here we are nearing the All-Star break and they are in the hunt in
the NL East. If you look at that lineup, you have no idea how that is, until
you get to Wright, who ranks second in all of baseball in both batting average
(.361) and OPS (1.028). His 96 hits, 50 runs and 49 RBI also lead all NL third
OF CARLOS BELTRAN: Beltran may have had the toughest job of anyone this year
in trying to fill the enormous shoes left by Albert Pujols. Well, he's
outplayed the three-time NL MVP, and the best compliment you can pay him is
that you haven't even noticed Pujols is gone from St. Louis.
OF MELKY CABRERA, SAN FRANCISCO: Maybe last season's breakout season with the
Kansas City Royals wasn't a fluke, as Cabrera leads the NL in hits this season
and should return to Kauffman Stadium as an All-Star.
OF ANDREW MCCUTCHEN, PITTSBURGH: Perhaps the most underrated player in
baseball, McCutchen is one of the biggest reasons why the Pirates are not only
threatening to finish over .500 for the first time since 1992, but are right
in the thick of the NL Central. He leads the team in almost every offensive
category and is probably second only to Votto as the NL MVP of the first half.
C CARLOS RUIZ, PHILADELPHIA: It's been an awful season in Philadelphia, but
one of the few bright spots has been Ruiz, who is by far having the best
offensive season of his career. Heading into this weekend, he leads all of
baseball with a .362 batting average, is third in on-base percentage (.429)
and seventh in slugging (.588).
DH RYAN BRAUN Braun is probably going to be voted into the game, but for our
purposes we'll give him a DH spot. After an offseason that saw his steroid
suspension overturned, the league's reigning MVP is on pace to have an even
better season from a production standpoint than he did last season. But I
still believe he took performance-enhancing drugs.
SP - R.A. DICKEY, N.Y. METS: Aside from a recent hiccup against the New York
Yankees, the knuckleballer has been the best pitcher in baseball this season.
The same guy who once served up six home runs in an inning, Dickey is tied for
the major league lead with 11 wins. There are others you could choose in the
NL. Washington's Stephen Strasburg, San Francisco's Matt Cain or even the
Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. But this event is for the fans, and has there been a
better story in baseball through the first half than Dickey and his
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