Monday, April 25, 2016

The Way-Too-Early All-Stars

It's that time of year again, baseball fans--time to vote for the MLB All-Star Game!

Don't worry, you didn't bump your head back in April and miss all of spring with a concussion. May is still a week away.

But wait, isn't the All-Star Game in July? And wasn't Opening Day, like, yesterday?

Not quite, but it sure feels that way. The season is only three weeks old, and everyone still seems to be getting their legs under them. We've only just begun.

And yet, MLB wants us to start picking who should start the All-Star Game in San Diego, even though the stats are pretty much useless at this point. There's not much to glean from a handful of starts or three weeks of at-bats, as the sample size is just too small. We haven't seen close to enough baseball to know who's legit and who's not. We've only had a taste.

Besides, what's the rush? The game is 11 weeks from Tuesday, which means many teams have about 70 games to go until the Midsummer Classic. A lot can change between now and then, including perceptions of possible All-Stars.

But say the voting closed tomorrow and we had to choose today. Who would you pick?

If you were filling out your ballot based on who's played the best so far, it might look something like this:
Get used to that friendly face, baseball fans (Chron.com)
American League

An All-Star each of the past three years, so this makes sense.

Chris Davis is a bigger name, but White has been a hair better.

Could win MVP this year.

Tough to say no to Josh Donaldson, but Machado's hit for just as much power while batting close to .400.

In a relatively weak crop of shortstops, Correa's shadow looms large. He missed out last year, but this should be his first nod of many.

I wasn't sure off the top of my head if Trumbo had been an All-Star before, as it's been awhile since he was actually good. Turns out he was--once--in 2012, when he had that ferocious first half before face-planting in the second.

Rasmus has never made an All-Star team, which is certainly disappointing considering he received Rookie of the Year consideration in 2009 and hit 23 home runs with a 132 OPS+ the following year at age 23. Five years ago, Rasmus looked like a future star. Perhaps that future is finally here?

A boring pick, but the right one. Joey Bats has been an All-Star every year this decade, which I don't think anyone else can say (at least for position players).

It's Big Papi's final season. Even if he wasn't crushing the ball, you're not going to not vote for him, unless you're a Yankees fan, in which case you have no soul and are voting for Alex Rodriguez instead.
I have no idea who that is (kdding--Denver Post)
National League

C Wellington Castillo
I'm pretty sure he has more homers than all the other NL catchers combined (not really, but it's close).

He can keep flirting with the Mendoza line all year as long as he keeps putting up those big-time power numbers.

He's picking up right where Daniel Murphy left off. Apparently playing second base for the Mets in the past six months causes players' power production to go through the roof.

Nolan Arenado's better, but the laws of baseball dictate that any and all Rockies hitters be harshly penalized for playing half their games in Coors Field. That's why Larry Walker's not in the Hall of Fame, and it's also why no Colorado player has won an MVP in almost 20 years..

Never heard of him.

They used to say the All-Star Game was made for Willie Mays. It was also made for Bryce Harper.

He's back, baby (but hopefully not back on the 'roids).

Two months ago he was unsigned despite having the best year of his career in 2015. Did everyone just sort of forget about him? I think everyone forgot about him. Who were we just talking about?

Some of these guys will be deserving All-Star starters, but some will be best suited as reserves or left off the team altogether. I don't think anyone would rather see Castillo start in place of Buster Posey or White taking Chris Davis's place at first. So please walk, don't run, to the ballot boxes. Trust me, you have plenty of time.

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