September 20, 2014

Selecting the 2009 All-Star squads

July 2, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

Kevin Wheeler offers his take on how the All-Star rosters should shape up this year…


Every year I go through this exercise of selecting the All-Star rosters knowing full-well that things never go the way they should go. I’ve noted the starting lineups based on the latest updates on the fan voting. Even though some of the starters could change once the voting closes here today I think they’ll all still be All-Stars so things won’t change much…

If I were selecting the teams, here’s how I’d do it:

American League

Starters:
C. Joe Mauer, MIN
1B. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B. Ian Kinsler, TEX
3B. Evan Longoria, TB
SS. Derek Jeter, NYY
OF. Jason Bay, BOS
OF. Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
OF. Josh Hamilton, TEX

That group isn’t terrible, with the exception of Hamilton. Maybe he’ll end up not playing because of the injury problems he’s had and thus allow for someone more deserving to be added. More on that later…

Bench:
C. Victor Martinez, CLE – No brainer as 2nd best backstop
1B. Mark Teixeira, NYY – Hard to argue the numbers
2B. Aaron Hill, TOR – Breakout season, has to be on the squad
3B. Michael Young, TEX – Took him over Brandon Inge, barely
SS. Jason Bartlett, TB – Sick numbers for a guy who previously hadn’t hit like this
OF. Carl Crawford, TB – Having a strong year, better than Jacoby Ellsbury
OF. Torii Hunter, LAA – No brainer
OF. Adam Jones, BAL – Emerging star with numbers to go with upside
1B. Miguel Cabrera, DET – One of the AL’s elite hitters
1B. Russell Branyan, SEA – Breakout season, bonus points because he can play 3B too
UT. Ben Zobrist, TB – Best story in MLB this year and can play anywhere on the field
OF. Adam Lind, TOR – Has turned into a nice middle of the order presence

If Hamilton can’t go, which he shouldn’t, then I’d give Jermaine Dye his spot on the roster and slide Torii Hunter into the starting lineup.

Pitchers:
SP. Zack Greinke, KC – He gets the start for me, best in the AL so far
SP. Roy Halladay, TOR – As good as it gets
SP. Felix Hernandez, SEA – Getting better all the time
SP. Edwin Jackson, DET – Finally putting all the gifts he has to work consistently
SP. Dallas Braden, OAK – Only A’s rep, no AL starter has more quality starts
SP. Justin Verlander, DET – Inconsistent but also the most dominant in AL when he’s on
SP. Josh Beckett, BOS – Not his best season but still better than most
SP. C.C. Sabathia, NYY – Numbers getting better every month
RP. David Aardsma, SEA – Performances matches up with any RP in the AL so far
RP. Bobby Jenks, CHW – Lone CHW representative
RP. Jonathan Papelbon, BOS – One of the best
RP. Mariano Rivera, NYY – Still as good as it gets
RP. Joe Nathan, MIN – Most underrated superstar reliever in the game

National League

Starters:
C. Yadier Molina, STL
1B. Albert Pujols, STL
2B. Chase Utley, PHI
3B. David Wright, NYM
SS. Hanley Ramirez, FLA
OF. Raul Ibanez, PHI – injured and might not play
OF. Ryan Braun, MIL
OF. Carlos Beltran, NYM – injured and will not play

Bench:
C. Brian McCann, ATL – Best hitting catcher in the AL backs up best glove man
1B. Adrian Gonzalez, SD – Ridiculous production in a pitcher’s park
2B. Freddy Sanchez, PIT – Lone PIT rep, having strong bounce FA season
3B. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS – Streaky at the plate but good numbers and good glove
SS. Miguel Tejada, HOU – Power is gone but still hitting and defense better than expected
OF. Matt Kemp, LAD – Great young player continuing to get better
OF. Justin Upton, ARZ – Having the best breakout season of any young player in MLB
OF. Brad Hawpe, COL – Absolutely pounding the baseball, lone COL rep
UT. Pablo Sandoval, SF – Kung-Fu Panda plays 3 positions and hits from both sides
1B. Prince Fielder, MIL – Having a great season, keeps Ryan Howard out of the game
3B. Mark Reynolds, ARZ – Strikes out a ton but is 5th in MLB in HR and has good OPS
OF. Hunter Pence, HOU – Really having a nice season, needs to be in this game

If Ibanez is out of the lineup because of his injury I’d slide Justin Upton into his starting spot and create a bench spot for Adam Dunn. With Beltran definitely being out I’d slide Matt Kemp into the starting lineup and add Michael Bourn to the bench.

Pitchers:
SP. Dan Haren, ARZ – He gets the start for me, barely edging out Lincecum
SP. Tim Lincecum, SF – ’08 Cy Young winner making case for another one
SP. Chad Billingsley, LAD – As tough as pitchers come these days
SP. Josh Johnson, FLA – Another dominant power righty
SP. Ted Lilly, CHC – Cubs only rep after they had 7 All-Stars last year
SP. Jair Jurrjens, ATL – Chose him over Javier Vazquez as only ATL rep
SP. Johnny Cueto, CIN – Great numbers for pitching in such a hitter-friendly park
SP. Yovani Gallardo, MIL – Helping the Brewers remain in playoff hunt as #1 SP
RP. Francisco Cordero, CIN – Having another excellent season
RP. Jonathan Broxton, LAD – Numbers are scary good
RP. Ryan Franklin, STL – Has a sub-1.00 ERA as I write this with 18 saves
RP. Heath Bell, SD – Leads the league in saves with tiny little ERA
RP. Francisco Rodriguez, NYM – Another great season, earning his new contract

There are still things I hate about the All-Star Game – like the whole “this time it counts” b.s. and the Little League-like “every team must be represented” rule – but the discussion about who deserves to play in the game always interests me.

What do you think? Where am I wrong? Feel free to throw in your own thoughts…

Kevin Wheeler is the host of Sports Open Line (M-F 7-9 PM ET) on News Radio 1120, KMOX in St. Louis (www.kmox.com) and he is a baseball instructor with All-Star Performance (www.all-starperformance.net) and the St. Louis Gamers (www.stlgamers.net). You can reach him via e-mail at thebaseballgods@gmail.com

Comments

3 Responses to “Selecting the 2009 All-Star squads”
  1. Dale Howell says:

    Not quite sure how you can rationalize Juergess and Cueto over Cain statistically expecially since both Cincy (Cordero) and Atlanta (McCann) have other players on your roster…

  2. Tom Stone says:

    I agree with Dale about Cain. And I also think Morneau has to make the AL squad.

  3. Kevin Wheeler says:

    Tom – don’t disagree on Morneau, could have him on there instead of Branyan or Cabrera but I went with the guys having similar seasons who happen to play in less HR friendly home parks who have similar numbers to Morneau. Could be swayed away from that thought.

    Dale – Cueto is CLEARLY better than both. Pitches in a bandbox for home games, has a significantly better WHIP than both Cain and Jurrjens and K numbers are similar for all three. Cain vs. Jurrjens could be argued – and I could be swayed there. Had a brain cramp & forgot McCann was on the team for ATL so a correction would include Cain over Jurrjens…

    Thanks for reading.

    KW

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