American League All-Star Predictions

As the calendar has turned to June, it means that the second month of the Major League Baseball season is coming to a close. It also means the 2015 MLB All-Star game in Cincinnati is just over one month away.

The month of May gave most of the players who started off the season ridiculously hot a chance to cool down, and those who didn’t have a great start in the month of April a chance to heat up.

Now that fans have the ability to vote for their favorite players to make it to Cincinnati, it’s a good opportunity to give you my early votes for the American League All-Star starters.

Catcher: Stephen Vogt, Oakland

Vogt has been one of the lone bright spots for the Athletics this season. His .322 AVG, 11HR, and 38 RBI lead all AL catchers in all three categories.

Obviously a lot could be said for Salvador Perez, however, I think he and some of the other Royals players could lose votes after all the brawling they were doing during the first month of the season.

Vogt is off to the best start in his career, already eclipsing his 2014 numbers in home runs, RBIs and walks.

First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit

Cabrera is the only AL first baseman to be in the top three in average, home runs and runs batted in. Cabrera is also one of the top players in the league, so I don’t see a way the fans will keep him from starting.

Not only is Cabrera among the leaders in major offensive categories at just his position, but despite cooling off slightly during the month of May, he also leads his Tigers team in hits, average, home runs, RBIs, and on-base percentage.

There is no question that Cabrera will be starting for the AL in Cincy.

Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston

Houston as a collective team has been a surprise, but no one that follows baseball should be surprised that Altuve is on this list.

Altuve’s stat line – .296 avg/ 5 hr/ 25 rbi – isn’t necessarily the greatest, however, you have to look at what he did for Houston, especially through the month of April, as he was a major factor in the Astros hot start to the season. At the end of April, Altuve was hitting .367 with a .400 OBP.

His most consistent contribution this year has been his stolen base numbers. The Houston second baseman leads the American League with 15 stolen bases.

Third Base: Josh Donaldson, Toronto

Like Vogt for Oakland, Donaldson has been one of the few bright spots for a Toronto team that is in the bottom of the bad AL East.

Donaldson really heated up in May, as his 10 home runs in the month led all American League hitters.

His 15 HRs and 39 RBIs lead all AL third basemen and his .312 AVG is second only to Mike Moustakas.

Donaldson’s strong start to the 2015 campaign really makes you question the A’s trading him over the off season.

Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Kansas City

Escobar has decent numbers compared to the rest of the AL shortstops. His average (.276) is 2nd, and he’s tied for 3rd in rbi (17) among AL shortstops.

What gives him an advantage over other AL short stops, as far as votes go, is that he’s probably the most well-know shortstop in that league.

Escobar is also great defensively, another good reason, other than his bat, to put him in the starting line up.

Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

Do I really need to make an argument for Mike Trout?He’s undoubtedly the face of the MLB.

And Trout’s stats speak for themselves.

He ranks 9th in average among AL outfielders at .295, 3rd in OBP at .383, and he’s T-2nd in HRs (12) and H (56). Trout is also second only to Bryce Harper in WAR of all outfielders.

Much like Cabrera, there is no doubt in my mind that Trout will be starting for AL on July 14.

Outfield: Adam Jones, Baltimore

Jones has no doubt been the MVP for Baltimore through the first two months of the season.

He got off to a great start to the year, batting .400 with a .440 OBP through the month of April, though he has cooled off as of late. Jones finished May with a .239 average in the month.

Despite Jones’ drop off offensively, he remains in the Top 10 among AL outfielders in average (.304), hits (56), and RBIs (26). And like Escobar at short, Jones’ defense in the outfield is a huge reason to vote him as a starter.

Outfield: Michael Brantley, Cleveland

Brantley beats out other deserving outfielders like Josh Reddick and Lorenzo Cain due to better average. He has also driven in 10 more runs than Cain.

Brantley is right behind Jones in AVG and hits, and is ahead of the Baltimore center fielder in RBIs by four.

It must be noted though that the far more important story coming out of the Indians locker room is that the entire team had their heads shaved in support of Mike Aviles and his daughter, Adriana, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle

Cruz got off to a hot start to the season and he hasn’t cooled off.

The Mariners DH has a stat line of .337 AVG / 18 HR / 38 RBI, which are ridiculous numbers at this point of the season.

Those numbers, along with his hit total and slugging percentage, all rank him in the Top 5 among all players in the MLB.

People (including me) thought Cruz’s numbers may decline when he left hitter-friendly Camden Yards to go to the spacious Safeco Field, but that has obviously not been the case.

Starting Pitcher: Felix Hernandez, Seattle

It was tough choosing a starter between King Felix and Dallas Keuchel for the American League. Both pitchers have had great seasons thus far.

Hernandez is 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 0.89 WHIP through 70.2 innings pitched. Keuchel has a record of 7-1 with a slightly better ERA (1.76) and a WHIP just 0.02 points worse than Hernandez at 0.91.

The difference maker to me is the amount of strikeouts and hits allowed.

Hernandez has stuck out 71 batters and only given up 48 hits, where as the Houston ace has only struck out 60 while giving up 53 hits in 11 more innings.

King Felix is the most under appreciated player in the MLB right now, hopefully he can start to get the praise he deserves .

 

My National League Predictions will be posted tomorrow so make sure to check back and see who from the NL I think will be starting in the All-Star game.

 

*NOTE: Stats through May 31.

 

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