The MLB All-Star Game, also known as the Midsummer Classic, takes place Tuesday, July 17, at Petco Park. Fan voting ends Thursday, and seventeen of the baseball staff members here at Last Word On Sports came together to pick the players we feel deserve the starting spots. Some position races were a landslide, whereas others were neck and neck. Although the starting pitchers will be chosen by the managers of each respective league, we have included our picks for that battle as well.
MLB All-Star Game Staff Picks
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals: .293, 12 HR, 36 RBI (13/17 votes)
His offensive metrics alone showcase his All-Star qualities. Whereas the evaluation process for catchers once focused on defense, offensive production now carries more weight than ever. Numerous MLB catchers now have 20+ home run seasons, and Perez will certainly be in that group again this season.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: .296, 16 HR, 45 RBI (9/17 votes)
One of the most prolific hitters of the last ten years, Cabrera is certainly worthy of another All-Star game appearance. This position, however, is the tightest battle in the American League. Eric Hosmer of the Royals is having an equally impressive season, with a .310 average, twelve home runs, and forty-six RBI. The fan votes will determine the starter; the manager decides the backup.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros: .347, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 18 SB (11/17 votes)
At 26 years old, Altuve is the veteran among AL All-Star infielders. The Astros are in for a difficult battle with the Texas Rangers for the AL West crown. Despite a respectable 39-37, record Houston trails the Rangers by 10.0 games. With Altuve at the top of the lineup, the ‘Stros have a good chance to reach the playoffs, and may have the 2016 MVP on their roster. Not to be overshadowed, Robinson Cano is also having an All-Star caliber season with the Seattle Mariners. His .297 average, nineteen home runs, and fifty-three RBI will likely make him the backup second baseman at this year’s All-Star Game.
Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox: .344, 9 HR, 50 RBI, 10 SB (14/17 votes)
The closest to receiving a unanimous vote among the LWOS Baseball writers, Bogaerts is having a fantastic season with Boston. Another 23 year old player further highlights the dominance the young talent brings in the AL East. He may well be on his way to a batting title this season, and will be a key piece to Boston’s success, this season and beyond. Machado got one vote at the shortstop position, and remaining two votes went to Francisco Lindor and his .311 average, ten homer, thirty-nine RBI stat line should garner him the backup job at the Midsummer Classic.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles: .325, 18 HR, 44 RBI (10/17 votes)
Although he has been playing shortstop with Ryan Flaherty on the disabled list, he is still listed as a third baseman on the All-Star Game ballot. He is well on his way to a 30/100 season, and at only 23 years old. Baltimore has found the guy they’ve been looking for to man the hot corner for years to come. Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson did receive six of the seventeen votes thanks his .288 average, seventeen homer, forty-seven RBI season, and will duke it out with Machado for the starting third base job.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels: .313, 16 HR, 52 RBI (11/17 votes)
Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox: .293, 16 HR, 54 RBI (11/17 votes)
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles: .279, 22 HR, 55 RBI (9/17 votes)
The outfield battle in the American League is challenging. Great players miss out on a starting role, and those who play on poor teams, or on teams that do not have large fan bases, miss out entirely. Two other outfielders did receive numerous votes: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (9) and Ian Desmond (6). Expect all five of these players to be at the Midsummer Classic.
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox: .337, 18 HR, 61 RBI (14/17 votes)
Is Big Papi 40? Based on the season he’s having, one might think Ortiz was 25 again. He will win the DH role in a landslide, and rightfully so. Edwin Encarnacion may be having a great year in Toronto (.255 average, nineteen home runs, sixty-six RBI), but Ortiz is going out with a bang. If it wasn’t Papi’s final year and EE had a .300 average as well, the race for the starting job might have been closer. However, Ortiz is enjoying one of the best seasons a 40-year-old has ever had in MLB history.
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox: 13-2, 2.79 ERA, 109 K (8/17 votes)
Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox: 8-5, 2.18 ERA, 84 K (7/17 votes)
One of these two will be on the hill to start the All-Star Game for the American League. It will likely be Sale, but the manager has many great options if he becomes unavailable.
Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals: .342, 12 HR, 41 RBI (11/17 votes)
The tides may have started to turn at the catcher position. For the past decade, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina sat at the pinnacle of this position. Ramos has been in the majors since 2011, but injuries kept him from being an everyday player until 201. This season, he has gone on a tear. Posey is still having a fine year with the San Francisco Giants and will inevitably find himself at the Midsummer Classic.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs: .283, 17 HR, 54 RBI (6/17 votes)
Playing for the Cubs will surely help Rizzo get votes among fans, as good players who also play on good teams usually get the starting jobs. Similarly, Brandon Belt (.306, 10 HR, 38 RBI) of the Giants received four votes. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, also received four votes, despite playing on a struggling team. His .301 average, fourteen home run, fifty-one RBI stat line should get him a spot on the All-Star roster. All three players are certainly worthy, but one may be left out.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals: .349, 12 HR, 48 RBI (13/17 votes)
The National League batting title went to a second basemen last year, and it may again in 2016. Murphy spent the first seven years of his career with the Mets, and is only two home runs away from his career high in a single season. He has also never surpassed eighty RBI in one season, but is currently well on his way to doing.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers: .298, 16 HR, 38 RBI (9/17 votes)
Back in April, it looked like the rookie sensation Trevor Story would run away with the shortstop gig at the All-Star Game. He is still worthy of making an appearance the the midsummer classic, and will likely be the NL Rookie of the Year, but Seager has stepped up big time for the Dodgers. At only 22, he has yet to tap into the majority of his potential.
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies: .296, 21 HR, 63 RBI (13/17 votes)
This position battle is not a battle at all. Nolan is having an amazing season in Colorado and could be the National League leader in home runs at season’s end. Most managers will give up a few average points for their power bats, but Nolan is a forty home run player who also bats .300, a rare combination.
Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets: .287, 18 HR, 45 RBI (7/17 votes)
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: .317, 16 HR, 43 RBI (5/17 votes)
Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins: .320, 16 HR, 44 RBI (9/17 votes)
Ozuna, despite playing on a struggling Miami team, is having an All-Star season and should get a starting job. Cespedes has also caught the attention of all baseball fans, and will also be attending this year’s All-Star Game. The outfielders of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are also having great seasons and should be at the Midsummer Classic as well. Ryan Braun did receive four votes and may get a backup job. Bryce Harper received five votes, but his .249 average doesn’t exactly make him the most worthy player this season.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: 11-2, 1.79 ERA, 145 K (13/17 votes)
Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs: 11-2, 1.74, 107 K (7/17 votes)
The strikeout numbers are the only thing separating these two aces, and one will be the National League starter. A Chicago vs. Chicago match-up would practically write itself, and Sale vs Arrieta would be a gem to watch. The manager will have a tough decision to make between these two, but if one pitches the weekend before the All-Star Game, it would make the choice much easier.
Voting for this year’s All-Star Game ends Thursday. Be sure to fill out your ballots to get your favorite players to the Midsummer Classic. Agree with our picks? Disagree? Feel free to comment and share. We love talking baseball with all of our followers, and hope you all enjoy the 2016 edition of the MLB All-Star Game.