Tagged: Joe Mauer

It’s the All-Star Game, not Homecoming.

Fans of Major League Baseball usually treat the “Mid-Summer Classic” as a way of seeing all of their favorite baseball players, whether they deserve to be there or not. This season appears to be no exception. That is at least for fans of the National League.

I am of the school of thought that the All-Star Game is an honor that should go to players whose stats during the first half of the season make them deserving of such an honor. Recently, the fan vote has been making this game a popularity contest (for the most part). I has been apparent that Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies fans have either been more heard or more biased than the rest of baseball.

I won’t get into an argument about this being a game for the fans vs. having the best team regardless of stats with it deciding home field advantage in the World Series. I will however, argue with some of the most recent leaders in positions for both league.

First Base:
American League– Maybe the most talent-filled position in all of baseball. If you were to tell me that The one two spots would have a difference of about only 300,000 I would say that made sense. However, if you told me that second place belonged to Mark Teixeira of the Yankees I would have to shake my head in shame. Justin Morneau of the Twins, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Paul Konerko of the White Sox, Billy Butler of the Royals and Kevin Youkilis (to name a few) are all more deversant than Tex to have a spot at the All-Star Game.

Leader- Justin Morneau, Twins.
My pick- Justin Morneau, Twins.

National League– Much like with the American League, this might be the position with the most players deserving on a bid. Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is always going to be the leader because he is the best player in the league. However, one can argue that Adrian Gonzalez (Padres), Joey Votto (Reds), and Ryan Howard (Phillies) all have better numbers than Pujols.

Leader- Albert Pujols, Cardinals.
My pick- Joey Votto, Reds.

Second Base:
American League– This might be the biggest runaway race in any position in the bigs. The Yankee’s Robinson Cano is the only player worth mentioning.

Leader- Robinson Cano, Yankees.
My pick- Robinson Cano, Yankees.

National League– Fan favorite Chase Utley of the Phillies is running away with this race in the polls. However, he is not having a season worth of a trip to Anaheim this summer. Martin Prado of the Braves is leading the league in hitting and Brandon Phillips of the Reds is having  an Utley-like year so far. With Utley on the disabled list, the deserving player should get the nod afterall.

Leader- Chase Utley, Phillies.
My pick- Martin Prado, Braves.

Third Base:
American League– Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays is quickly becoming the best player in baseball. The former Rookie of the Year is opening eyes and becoming the new face of baseball. That being said, Adrian Beltre of the Red Sox (No, he didn’t retire, he just played in Seattle for five seasons) is putting up some ridiculous numbers for a team that has desperately needed a rock in the middle of the line up to help Kevin Youkilis. Alex Rodriguez  of the Yankees and Michael Young of the Rangers are up to their usual ways as well.

Leader- Evan Longoria, Rays.
My pick- Adrian Beltre, Red Sox.

National League– This one of the cases I was talking about earlier. The Phillies’ Placido Polanco is putting up some good number but Scott Rolen (Reds), David Wright (Mets), and Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) are all more deserving of the honor to start. Polanco is on the dl so that means that a more deserving player will start.

Leader- Placido Polanco, Phillies.
My pick- David Wright, Mets.

American League– As usual, Derek Jeter of the Yankees has a huge lead. As usual, that should not be the case.

Leader- Derek Jeter, Yankees.
My pick- Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays.

National League– For a while, Jimmy Rollins (Phillies) had been leading at short. The only problem is that he had only played 12 games. The most deserving player is Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies), but he is disabled so it appears that the starter will be Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) once again.

Leader- Hanley Ramirez, Marlins.
My pick- Hanley Ramirez, Marlins.
American League– It is always hard to argue against the reigning MVP. Joe Mauer of the Twins is leading in voting, and deservingly so. The only two catcher’s whose numbers pop out are Victor Martinez (Indians) and Joe Buck (Blue Jays). Martinez is on the dl, so Buck should at least be the back up.
Leader- Joe Mauer, Twins.
My pick- Joe Mauer, Twins.

National League– Last update, the leader was Yadier Molina of the Cardinals. Quite frankly, with a batting average of .240 any other catcher in the league is more deserving than him. Molina shouldn’t be starting for his team, much less the National League. The truth is that Miguel Olivo of the Rockies is by the far the best offensive catcher this season, and no one but him should be starting this game.
Leader- Yadier Molina, Cardinals.
My pick- Miguel Olivo, Rockies.
American League– No arguments here.
Leaders- Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Carl Crawford, Rays.
My pick- Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Carl Crawford, Rays.
National League– Jason Heyward (Braves) was a leader, but he stated he won’t play if picked. Ryan Braun (Brewers) has alright numbers, but he is just there because he is a fan favorite.
Leaders- Ryan Braun, Brewers. Jason Heyward, Braves. Andre Ethier, Dodgers.
My picks- Andre Ethier, Dodgers. Marlon Byrd, Cubs. Jayson Werth, Phillies.

2010 AL Central Predictions

I will conclude my prediction of the American League with the AL Central.

What can you say about the Minnesota Twins and Ron Gardenhire that hasn’t been said yet? Closer Joe Nathan may be out for the year, but you can never count out the Twinkies. The additions of Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy and Jim Thome will improve an already loaded line-up that includes  Denard Span, Delmon Young, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer. They might not have many big names in their pithing staff but you can never count out the Minnesota Twins!
In the past eight months the White Sox improved in all three phases of the game. The additions of Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones as back-ups to Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios are good moves. I also like the move that brought Juan Pierre as a replacement to Scott Podsednik. J.J. Putz will come in to a very sub-par bullpen. Also, a full season with Jake Peavy can only help. I do believe that his numbers will drop as he is a fly-ball pitcher in a hitter’s park.
The Kansas City Royals may potentially have the best rotation on the game. It is obvious what 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke can do, as well as Gil Meche. The wild-cards are Kyle Davies, Brian Bannister, and Luke Hochevar. All three youngsters have shown flashes of greatness. Unfortunately, they have also shown inconstancy. Along with Greinke the bright spots were first-baseman Billy Butler and shut-down closer Joakim Soria. Scotty Podsednik and Rick Ankiel will look to provide help for Butler as far as offense goes. If the Royals learn how to hit and their young pitchers put it together, they will be the CInderella team this season.
In the last season and a half the Cleveland Indians have traded away C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Casey Blake, and Ryan Garko. The Tribe still has Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, but that’s about it.
The Detroit Tigers dumped two of their biggest contributors of the 2009 season. They signed Johnny Damon to replace Curtis Granderson and acquired Max Scherzer to replace Edwin Jackson. Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander will cement themselves a force to be reckoned with as far a 1-2 punches go. Miguel Cabrera will once again put up MVP-type numbers. Magglio Ordonez will bounce back and Jose Valverde will do a great job replacing Fernando Rodney as closer. It will not be enough for the Tigers though.
1. Twins
2. White Sox
3. Royals
4. Tigers
5. Indians