With the All-Star Game coming to San Franciscoâ€™s AT&T Park next week, I thought now would be a good time to weigh in with my AL and NL all-star team picks. The fans actually did a very good job of getting the best players on each squad, but I do disagree with them in some instances.
Victor Martinez, Cleveland Indians
The fans blew it here, picking Ivan Rodriguez. Martinez is the number one catcher in baseball right now, with power, average and production. People have criticized his defense in the past, but heâ€™s improved in that area and should only get better.
Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers
The heart and soul of the Dodgers, Martin has all the tools, including speed on the base paths, something very unique for a catcher. What makes him even more valuable is that he plays almost every day, assuming the iron man role with enthusiasm. A former hockey player, this kid is just fun to watch, because heâ€™s tough, smart and super competitive. Luckily, the fans recognized his greatness just in time to vote him in over the NY Metsâ€™ Paul LoDuca.
Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins
The fans put Boston Red Sox team leader David Ortiz in this spot, but I donâ€™t believe thatâ€™s fair to Morneau, because Ortiz is a DH, not a first baseman. The one who really got the shaft here is the Bosoxâ€™s real first baseman, Kevin Youklis. The fact that Youklis isnâ€™t even on the all-star team at all is a travesty. Morneau is the complete package and is entitled to this starting slot.
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
All hail to the Prince! This kid has proven that he can play with the best and is one of the reasons why the Brewers are in first place. He has a great attitude, loves to learn and fans all over the world need to see him in the all-star spotlight. Albert Pujols better be wary â€“ if Fielder continues to excel, Albert may never start in another All-Star Classic again.
Placido Polanco, Detroit Tigers
Arguably the most complete player during the first half of the season, Placido has stepped up and established himself as a driving force within the offensive juggernaut known as Tiger Baseball. The fans love him; his teammates adore him and heâ€™s doing it in style, both at the plate and in the field. This one is a no-brainer.
Orlando Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Utley is a close second, but Hudson has more tools and means more to his team. The Diamondbacks have surprised a lot of fans this year and are right in the middle of the NL West race. Hudson is one of the reasons.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Heâ€™ll be in the Hall of Fame one day, because heâ€™s the ultimate player â€“ smart, dedicated, respectful and steroid-free. He has survived and thrived in the occasionally circus-like atmosphere of New York, by showing class on and off the field. Sure, he dated Mariah Carey for a while, but other than that heâ€™s played an error-free game. His stats speak for themselves, and although many may argue that the Angelsâ€™ Orlando Cabrera might be more deserving, to this all I can say is â€œOrlando who?â€
Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
This is by far the toughest pick of the bunch. I can hear Mets, Braves, Brewers and Philly fans whining already, but I truly believe that Ramirez is the best all-around shortstop in the NL this season. Sure, Reyes steals more bases, Renteria is solid, J.J. Hardy is a great player and thereâ€™s no doubt that Rollins can hit for both power and production, but Ramirez has more runs, more hits and a better average than all of them. Plus, heâ€™s not as protected in the lineup as some of these other guys.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Heâ€™s having the best season of anyone else in the major leagues, so itâ€™s an easy pick. The fact that thereâ€™s no one at his position having a year even close to the one heâ€™s experiencing makes this selection even easier.
Miguel Cabrera, Florida Marlins
Cabrera will most likely be playing for another team (a contending one) before the season is over, but right now the Big Fish are enjoying his every day production while trying to forget about his ineptitude in the field. Itâ€™s tough to ignore David Wright, but if you look at the numbers objectively Miguel is the Man.
Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The only other candidate in this group that warrants any consideration might be Torii Hunter, but he gets edged out because heâ€™s been streakier than these other guys.
Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies
Aaron Rowand, Philadelphia Phillies
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
The one that may surprise folks here is Rowand, but he is just having too good a season to ignore. Holliday is hitting for average and is a great fielder and Soriano is heating up. He should have an awesome second half. Barry Bonds was voted in by fans here for sentimental reasons and because the game is being played in his hometown.
Dan Haren, Oakland Aâ€™s
This guy just doesnâ€™t like to give up runs. His tiny ERA has elevated him to the top of the heap and has helped establish him as a stopper who opponents should fear and respect.
Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres
I was going to give the nod to Brad Penny, who had a lower ERA until last night when he got bombed and fell out of the running, in my opinion. Besides, Peavy has more strikeouts and Penny started last yearâ€™s All-Star Game. Spread the wealth, I say.
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
My Picks for the 2007 MLB All-Star Game
Copyright © 2010 Ed Attanasio
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