Early Sunday night MLB announced the 2014 Midsummer Classic All Star Rosters. As expected there were many deserving players left out of each starting lineup while there were several clear-cut great players elected to each team. This post will dissect the eight starting position players plus the designated hitter of the 2014 American League All Star team.
If it were not for the mandated one player representative, Jose Altuve would not have a chance of making the team. In a way we can thank the progressive logic in that everyone is a winner for trying. But after growing up in Texas for my first 21 years, I do not agree with this. At all.
Regardless of my stance on how Altuve got to be on the squad, he will be going to Minnesota. MLB announced tonight that Altuve will be the Houston Astros lone representative and is, as expected, to be a bench player. Hopefully John Farrell will have the class this year to let Jose play. Last year Jason Castro represented the Astros. However, then-Detroit Tigers skipper Jim Leyland decided Castro did not deserve to play in the game. Castro was the only A.L. position player that did not make an appearance.
I am going to attempt to take an unbiased approach here for a minute. Glancing through the roster are there any big problems? YES. (Your answer should be yes.)
How on Earth can a player that is injured — on the DL for the remainder of the season — be a starting player at the All-Star Game? Last summer I thought that it was absurd to included Yasiel Puig in ASG talks when he was called up at the beginning of June during the 2013 season. Matt Wieters enjoyed a great start to the 2014 season. In 26 games logging 104 ABs he posted a .308/.339/.500 line as a catcher. Across a sample that includes 70 or more games this would be a clear cut player for the ASG. But Wieters has hardly played in 2014.
I agree with Miguel Cabrera at first, Nelson Cruz at DH, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, and Jose Bautista in the outfield. But at second base there are two players who have been a lot better than Robinson Cano in 2014. Josh Donaldson is an error prone third baseman and there is a very adequate replacement that plays the position for the Texas Rangers. And among the shortstops of the American League, the legend and captain of the Yankees, Derek Jeter is far from all-star form in 2014.
The offseason trade of Ian Kinsler is still a head-scratcher for me. He currently leads AL second basemen in WAR with a figure of 3.8. Jose Altuve is 2nd with 2.9 while Cano is 4th at a 2.8 mark. Perhaps that is not really an important statistic? In all honesty, if I were not an Astros fan, I would have voted for either Kinsler or Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins. Kinsler hits for average, is tough to strike out, provides fantastic defense and can hit for power.
Jose Altuve had two exemplary months this season. In May he batted over .350 while in June he beat out the infield hits and poked the ball across the diamond to an average well above .400 for the month. Since I am an Astros fan, here’s my bias of how he ranks along with Kinsler and Cano
Altuve: Hits: 1st, Singles: 1st, Doubles T-2nd, 3rd fewest in strikeouts, 1st in stolen bases, 1st in batting average
Kinsler: Hits: 4th, Singles: 11th, Doubles T-2nd, 14th fewest in strikeouts, 18th in stolen bases, 10th in batting average
Cano: Hits: 6th, Singles: 3rd, Doubles 18th, Not In Top 20, Not in Top 20, 4th in batting average
Adrian Beltre is probably the best third basemen in the American League. His status on the 4th place Texas Rangers probably hurt his chances. Meanwhile Josh Donaldson was elected to the squad with ease despite qualifying 10/11 among third basemen in fielding percentage. Overall Beltre sports a wRC+ of 145 which paces the rest of the AL with an impressive slash line of .335/.382/.522.
Derek Jeter is a living legend. But that is not a reason, in my opinion, to just simply give him the starting job in the 2014 All Star Game. But that is what America has decided to do. In terms of WAR Jeter is ranked 11th of 12 qualified AL Shortstops in 2014. Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar, and Alexei Ramirez have enjoyed impressive seasons thus far to rank in the top 3 among AL SS in terms of WAR. Jeter’s wRC+ is 79 which is trailed by only Brad Miller of the Seattle Mariners. Overall I respect Jeter and what he has accomplished in his career. But these reflections on his career are about his career, not this season.
The 75th annual MLB All-Star Game will take place at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Coverage of the event will be broadcasted on Fox beginning at 6 pm while the game itself will commence around 7:00 PM central.