Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw discuss whether or not the fans’ selections for the American League All-Star team were right and who should be starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Mike Napoli of the Rangers was the fan choice, but White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski should be starting in the All-Star Game. Pierzynski is not one of the more popular players in baseball and was actually expected to lose his job coming into this season. However, he is hitting .285 this year with 14 home runs and 45 RBI.
Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays should be starting instead of Prince Fielder. Encarnacion has always had great potential but has been inconsistent in the past. This season, however, he is deserving of a starting spot in Kansas City with a .291 average, 22 home runs, 55 RBI and eight stolen bases.
The fans got this one right, voting in Robinson Cano of the Yankees. He’s batting .310 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI. Not only is he an All-Star but he is clearly the Yankees’ MVP.
The fans chose Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, which is a good pick because he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Miguel Cabrera, however, is the best third baseman in the American League with a .314 average, 16 home runs and 62 RBI.
Derek Jeter is having a good season, but Elvis Andrus of the Rangers is the best shortstop in the American League right now. He is not a power hitter with just one home run but he’s batting .307 with 32 RBI and 16 stolen bases. The fans should have voted in Andrus instead of Jeter.
Of the three outfielders voted in, only one was the right pick by the fans. It wasn’t a surprise that Josh Hamilton was selected, and he is the right choice. He’s on pace for more than 50 home runs and 140 RBI this season.
Angels rookie Mike Trout should be starting in place of Curtis Granderson. Trout is batting .339 with nine home runs, 33 RBI and 22 stolen bases, and keep in mind that he started this season in the minor leagues.
Adam Jones of the Orioles should have been selected in place of Jose Bautista. Jones has a .302 average, 19 home runs, 42 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He has a bright future and is likely one of the next big stars in baseball.
David Ortiz was the right pick by the fans. He continues to put up big numbers with a .302 average, 21 home runs and 54 RBI this season. This is Ortiz’s eighth All-Star selection.
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Rob Shaw and Julie Alexandria discuss five veterans aging gracefully:
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
With a .342 average and five home runs, Derek Jeter has far exceeded expectations this season, as he is now surpassed 3,150 hits for his career. Now it may be time to sell high on the Yankees legend. Despite the early power showing, Jeter has just one extra base hit since May 6. He is starting to look like the singles machine that boasted just a .370 slugging percentage in 2010. Furthermore, the stolen bases are way down with just three swipes this season. Jeter has been great so far, but there are some serious questions about the sustainability of this hot start from the 37-year-old shortstop.
David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox
Though he seems to be getting bitter with age, claiming he doesn’t get respect in Boston, David Ortiz is as dangerous as ever with the stick in his hand. Ortiz is on pace for 40 home runs and 120 RBI while batting .305. Ever since everyone predicted his decline in 2009, Ortiz has bounced back and is once again one of the best designated hitters in baseball.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
Sadly this is the swan song for Chipper Jones, who will one day find himself inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A bruised left calf had forced Jones out of the lineup for the time being, but when he is healthy this season, he has blasted five home runs with 24 RBI and a .307 average. Jones is unlikely to have much more than 400 at bats this season, but if you are willing to change your roster on a daily basis, you can end up with an oldie, but goodie.
Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees
The Phillies thought Raul Ibanez was done after a less than stellar 2011 season. The Yankees took an inexpensive gamble on the New York City native and so far the 39-year-old designated hitter has blasted nine home runs with 27 RBI. Yankees Stadium seems perfect for the left-hander, as he already has seven home runs at home. Additionally, the solid Yankees lineup has led to many run-producing opportunities and so far Ibanez has capitalized.
Derek Lowe, SP, Indians
It’s very rare for a pitcher to have success with more walks than strikeouts, but lo and behold, Derek Lowe is having a bounce back season with the Indians. Lowe had allowed just seven runs over his last six starts before getting pummeled this weekend. Even still, the ERA is a solid 3.25. Again, the strikeouts are a concern, and it makes you wonder how long this could last.
Are They Hall of Famers?
Johnny Damon– Labeled clutch, a winner, and one of the top leadoff hitters of his generation, it is surprising to learn that Johnny Damon has only made two All-Star appearances over his 17-year career. That tells us that Damon was never the dominant left-fielder of his generation, and will likely put an end to his bid for a spot in the Hall of Fame. However, the door is not closed yet.
Damon is just 357 hits shy of 3,000 for his career and he does not appear to be slowing down that much either. Other personal milestones that will shortly be reached are 1600 hits and 400 steals. If Damon can hand around for another three seasons, his longevity as well as his World Series heroics may result in a Hall of Fame plaque.
Todd Helton– A .324 career average screams Hall of Fame worthy. However, for the first time Hall of Fame voters will have to take into account the Coors Field impact. Helton is a .355 career hitter at home compared to just .292 on the road. Also, when it comes to power 209 home runs were swatted at home, compared to 133 on the road.
So Helton is a dominant first baseman when playing at home, but more of a Mark Grace type hitter when on the road. Considering he failed to reach any of the common Hall of Fame milestones such as 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, I do not see Helton as a Hall of Famer.
David Ortiz– As a long-time designated hitter, David Ortiz would need at least 500 home runs in order to gain admission to the Hall of Fame. Considering he is currently 134 home runs shy of that total and has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, Ortiz will likely have to settle as a Red Sox legend, but not a Hall of Famer.
On the Path:
Roy Halladay– The dominant pitcher of his era, Halladay has won two Cy Young awards and won 20 or more games on three occasions. With 178 wins compared to just 89 losses, Halladay will probably need just another season or two of dominance to win over the Hall of Fame voters.
CC Sabathia– A very durable ace for the Yankees, Sabathia has the best chance of 300 wins with 165 already under his belt. He will need another four or five 15-18 win seasons to guarantee a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Justin Verlander– So far so good for this young hurler. Verlander has been durable and dominant. He has put together a couple of no-hitters, won an AL Rookie of the Year, and made three All-Star teams. The problem with Verlander is that he is so young, so he’ll need to stay healthy and effective for another 6-8 years.
Carl Crawford– A move to Boston should only help his chances. Crawford has a Gold Glove, four All-Star appearances, more than 1500 hits and 400 steals, which is incredible for someone just 29 years old. As long as he stays healthy, Crawford has every chance of making the Hall of Fame as one of the most consistent hitters of his generation.
Jose Reyes– Despite all of the injuries zapping Jose Reyes over the years, the 28-year old shortstop compares well to Carl Crawford. He has made three All-Star games and will have every chance of making many more.
If he can hit around .300 for a good five to six years while hitting at the top of the lineup with 100-plus runs and 40-plus steals, Reyes will boast some very impressive numbers by the time he reaches his mid-30s. It’s a gamble on his durability, but I see Reyes making the Hall of Fame.
Miguel Cabrera– Though he has yet to win an MVP, Miguel Cabrera has been a dominant player through his first eight seasons. He will need at least four or five more in order to be considered for the Hall of Fame, but the good news is that at just 28-years old, Cabrera could end up playing another ten seasons assuming he stays healthy.