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AL All-Star Voting: Who Would Start vs. Who Should Start

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Fan voting for All Star games can often leave out more-deserving players for bigger names.

AL All-Star Voting: Who Would Start vs. Who Should Start

I'm a sucker for All Star games.  I don't know why, but year after year I watch glorified pick-up games that are overhyped and in the grand scheme of things, pretty insignificant.  The one thing that aggravates me about these contests is the way the teams are put together.  Fans are charged with the task of voting for the players who should start in these games, which means that you are left with some skewed results like the 1957 All Star Game where Cincinnati Reds fans stuffed the ballot boxes. 

With the Midsummer Classic just about two weeks away, I wanted to look at how the fans were doing at choosing the starters for the AL and NL.  For the most part, they identified the best players at the position, but some players have been overlooked in favor of more name brand players.  Here's a look at who would be starting if All Star Voting ended today paired with who should be starting at each position.

Catcher: Who would start - Russell Martin, New York Yankees.  Who should start - Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers.

Russell Martin started the season hot as the sun, hitting home runs and making the Yankees look like geniuses for picking him up cheap.  But he has since come down to earth in a big way.  He's hitting a measly .230 and has missed over 20 games due to injuries.  Meanwhile, Alex Avila is having a breakout year for the Tigers this year, and nobody seems to have noticed.  The 24-year-old catcher is batting .303 with 10 HR and 43 RBI for Detroit and has provided them with a reliable presence behind the plate and in the lineup for Detroit.  Although Martin isn't a worthy starter, it's better than Joe Mauer being voted in.

First Base: Who would start - Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox.  Who should start - Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox.

No complaints here.  Gonzalez hasn't just been one of the best first basemen in baseball, he's been one of the best players in all of baseball this season.  He leads the majors in batting (.361) and RBI (71) and has played stellar defense for Boston at first.  He has been better than advertised and has made the transition to the AL look incredibly easy.  You can't really make an argument for anyone else in the AL.  I think even Yankees fans would agree that Gonzalez has been better than Mark Teixeira this season.

Second Base: Who would start - Robinson Cano, New York Yankees.  Who should start - Robinson Cano, New York Yankees.

The fans got this one right too.  Cano isn't having the season he had last year, but he has been one of the more consistent Yankees this season.  His average has dipped, but his power numbers and RBI have stayed steady.  With the poor seasons that Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler are having, he doesn't really have much competition for this spot.  Cano reigns supreme at second.

Third Base: Who would start - Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees.  Who should start - Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees.

This is another position where the usual suspects are having less than stellar seasons.  Evan Longoria's injuries have hurt his season.  Kevin Youkilis, now a third baseman because of Gonzalez, isn't hitting like we are used to seeing him hit (although he is coming on of late).  A-Rod has had the most consistent first half of any of the third basemen.  He is hitting .300 with 13 HR and 51 RBI.  Compared to everyone else in the AL, this is All Star worthy.  

Shortstop: Who would start - Derek Jeter, New York Yankees.  Who should start - Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians.

I'm starting to detect a trend.  Derek Jeter is an institution at the All Star Game, but he is more of a name than a player at this stage of his career.  His chase for 3,000 hits has gobbled up most headlines, but now he is injured and unproductive.  Jeter is hitting .260 (10th among shortstops) with 68 hits (8th among shortstops) 2 HR (Tied for 12th among shortstops) and 20 RBI (12th among shortstops).  Asdrubal Cabrera, however, is dazzling fans in Cleveland.  He is batting .295 (3rd) this year with 13 HR (1st) and 46 RBI (1st).  A case could also be made for Jhonny Peralta, but Cabrera should be recognized for what he has done this season.

Outfield: Who would start - Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees, Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers.  Who should start - Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury.

I am not a huge fan of the lack of positions in the outfield as it pertains to All Star voting.  I like having everything laid out by positions for some reason.  Maybe it's OCD, but I just don't like seeing three center fielders or three left fielders patrolling the outfield.  It's not aesthetically pleasing.  

But if we're going to go with a lack of positions for voting, let's at least vote the best players in.  The first two are fine by me.  Bautista is having a better season than last year, and Granderson has exploded this year for the Yankees with his power numbers and in the field.  However, Josh Hamilton shouldn't even be sniffing this starting position.  He's a great story, but he hasn't played nearly enough this season to warrant a starting spot.  Let's reward the guys who have played well for the whole first half, like Jacoby Ellsbury.  He is having the kind of season many thought he would have last year had he not been hurt, hitting for average (.303) power (9 HR) and stealing bases like a mad man (25).  Ellsbury deserves the nod over Hamilton, but so do many AL outfielders (Melky Cabrera, BJ Upton, Matt Joyce, just to name a few).

Designated Hitter: Who would start - David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox.  Who should start - David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox.

Big Papi is having a nice bounce-back year for Boston and is one of the reasons they were able to get over that 2-10 start to their season.  He got over the early-season struggles of seasons' past and has played well for the Red Sox all year long.  He is hitting for average (.311) for power (17 HR) driving in runs (48 RBI) and getting on base (.391 OBP).  You could make a case for someone like Michael Young, but Papi is my guy for this spot.

Check back tomorrow for my review of the National League voting.  And it's also not too late to vote!  Visit MLB.com to vote in who you think is worthy!

Let Charged.fm get you tickets to this year's MLB All Star Game!  

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