On July 14, the best baseball players from the National and American Leagues will face off in the annual MLB All-Star game. The highly anticipated baseball game might still be months away, but these players are performing so well they’re likely to play at the Great American Ball Park.
American League Starters
Jose Altuve (Houston Astros)
Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles)
Nelson Cruz (Seattle Mariners)
Adam Jones (Baltimore Orioles)
Hanley Ramirez (Boston Red Sox)
Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays)
Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers)
Why They’ll Play
After making a big impression in the 2014 All-Star game and maintaining good form in the 2015 season, Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, and Josh Donaldson are all safe bets to run on for the American League’s All-Star team. Manny Machado has performed in the shadow of Miguel Cabrera for years, but at 23 years of age, the young Orioles’ third baseman is hitting his peak just as the Tigers’ veteran is losing a little luster. Machado’s defensive ability and dangerous hitting skills will combine well with the maturity he’s learned through a few years in the big leagues.
Salvador Perez’s presence behind the home plate this year has been so strong that he’ll be hard to pass up, but selectors may be more inclined to opt for the experience of Joe Mauer. It seems like Mauer has been in the game forever, but remember that at just 32 years of age, he is far from past his prime. He’s also better with a bat than Perez, and that versatility should see him retaining his spot for the 2015 game.
Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez’s uncanny ability to launch home runs is also likely to be noticed by selectors. Twenty-one games into the season, he has hit nine homers, and fans will be hoping for more big hits at the All-Star match.
Many baseball fans would claim Robinson Cano is the obvious second base choice, but the Seattle Mariners’ slow start could hurt his chances. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros and Jose Altuve have both been in fine form, and that could be enough to see him edge out Cano for the position.
Elvis Andrus’ addition may surprise people, especially since the Texas Rangers have some of the worst World Series odds in the Major League, but it was only last year that SB Nation suggested he could be the best short stop in the American League. With the right people beside him, he’s likely to excel.
National League Starters
Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)
Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins)
Adrian Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
Aramis Ramirez (Milwaukee Brewers)
Starlin Castro (Chicago Cubs)
Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Why They’ll Play
Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, and Aramis Ramirez all played in the 2014 game, and their form to date has been strong enough to see them recalled for National League duties. Their experience should help bolster a team that’s likely to have youth and enthusiasm on its side.
While Goldschmidt started as designated hitter in 2014, his recent prowess in the outfield is likely to see him starting there. He is versatile enough to play both positions with ease, which is only likely to bolster his selection chances. Starlin Castro has been in outstanding form for the Chicago Cubs, and selectors are likely to reward him with his first All-Star spot. His team’s dominance over the Rockies could see him edging out Troy Tulowitzki this year. Young Howie Kendrick has also been posting statistics good enough to catch the eye of selectors.
Traditionalists may prefer to keep Yadier Molina in the side, but he’s not quite as agile behind the plate as he used to be. Buster Posey has youth on his side and a consistency that should see him beating out the Cardinals’ catcher for a starting spot. Keep an eye on sites like docsports.com and sportsnetwork.com for analysis of every Major League game to see who’s likely to earn a spot at the MLB All-Star game.
Of course, a midseason slump or injury could see one of these in-form players miss out on the match, so make sure to keep track of what’s going on throughout this MLB season.