It’s that time of the year again – time to start considering which players to include in my All-Star Game ballot. Honestly, this is not a good time for me to ponder such things, as I am currently a very disgruntled Nationals fan. But since I only planned to include one Nationals player in my ballot anyway, now is as good a time as any.
This baseball season has showcased a lot of talent, especially from veteran players who continue to be consistent. It’s definitely the year of the hitter, with many players still batting way above .300. So who did I choose on my ballot? Well I’m glad you asked!
First base: Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles is batting .312 with 13 home runs, so I chose him over Prince Fielder. I’m tired of Prince; he’s not exciting to watch anymore.
Second base: The Detroit Tigers’ Omar Infante can play a mean second base. I struggled with this one, because I’ve voted for Robinson Canó in the past and Canó is one of the reasons the Yankees are in first place despite having about 35 players on the Disabled List, but I chose Infante. He probably won’t get the fan vote, but he’ll likely be asked to play as an alternate.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, another Tiger, got my vote because Omar Vizquel was not on the ballot. I could have voted for J.J. Hardy, but I didn’t.
Third base: Oh, this was the toughest one of all! I love Miguel Cabrera and have voted for him for many years in a row. He will get the starting job at third – after all, he won the Triple Crown last year and is still on a tear, batting .384 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs. But there’s this young guy in Baltimore who plays with such drive and has clutch hits in crucial situations – I just couldn’t pass up voting for the Orioles’ Manny Machado! Not only did he play for a short time here for the Frederick Keys (high A), but my husband and I watched him play once for the Delmarva Shorebirds (low A), so I can’t help but feel like I need to vote for the “hometown hero.”
Catcher: Carlos Santana is the only Cleveland Indian who was worthy of my vote (sorry, Asdrubal Cabrera!). He’s batting .290, which, when comparing the stats of all the AL catchers, made me realize that most of them are not batting well this year.
Designated Hitter: This (in my opinion) bogus position goes to David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. I almost voted for the Texas Rangers’ Lance Berkman, but “Big Papi” is still playing well despite being 37 years old. Ortiz is the “poster old-man” for those who believe that having a Designated Hitter can prolong a player’s career. I can’t argue with that one when it comes to Ortiz. He has 408 career home runs (with 7 so far this season) and does an awful lot of charity work in his native Dominican Republic.
Outfielders: In the outfield, I picked the Orioles’ Adam Jones (a “tell it like it is” kind of player who always plays intensely; Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals (who is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska just like my ex-husband but I voted for him anyway); and Coco Crisp of the Oakland A’s. Crisp is only 33 – it seems like he’s been around forever and this season has an impressive nine stolen bases so far.
That’s three Orioles on my AL ballot and no Yankees. I’m happy with that!
First base: I couldn’t find a first baseman that I truly liked and thought was deserving, so I went straight for the guy with the best stats so far. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks is batting .323 with 12 homers and 36 RBIs, so he got my vote even though I haven’t seen him play yet this season (the D-backs don’t play the Nationals until late June, so I’ll get a glimpse of him then).
Second base: I chose Marco Scutaro of the San Francisco Giants because I enjoyed watching him play during last year’s World Series. I really wanted to vote for the Pirates’ Neil Walker, but he has had some injuries and is not playing much this year. Scutaro is currently batting .337, and he can field his position pretty well.
Shortstop: I couldn’t convince myself to vote for the Nationals’ Ian Desmond, so I chose Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies. I know I bad-mouthed him in a previous blog because he’s a Jeter lover, but “Tulo” can hit, run, and play shortstop pretty well. Just keep your mouth shut, Troy!
Third base: Since the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman has committed nine errors so far at third base, he was out of the running for me despite seeming like a totally nice guy. I had to opt for “Kung Fu Panda,” the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval. He’s batting .308 with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs, and like David Ortiz, he’s one of those guys whose smile just lights up a ball park.
Catcher: Posey or Molina? Definitely Yadier Molina! Yes, he has ugly neck tattoos. Yes, he plays for the St. Louis Cardinals (who eliminated the Nationals in last year’s playoffs). And yes, he’s just flat out unattractive. But “Yadi” has a career success rate of 44% getting runners out trying to steal a base, and that’s pretty darn good (my pal, Iván Rodriguez, ended his career with a 46%). Posey is good and all, but Yadier having a better season so far.
Outfield: This was the easiest one. Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates), and Carlos Beltrán (St. Louis Cardinals). I almost didn’t vote for Harper for fear that he’d hurt himself during the All-Star Game, but he deserves to be there. All three players are having good seasons (even the 36-year-old Beltrán, who many thought was “washed out” is hitting consistently and fielding very well.
No Phillies players on my NL ballot – no shocker there!
So there you have it – my All-Star Game ballot, which I like to think was well thought-out. I don’t just vote for the cute ones (have you SEEN McCutchen?) or the skinny ones (hello, Sandoval!); I like to think that I vote for those who play well, play consistently, and play hard. Let’s see if the rest of America agrees with me.