We’re just past 40 games in this 2012 season and we’re gonna take a look at my All-Stars to this point.
Disclaimer:You won’t find any Red Sox on this team
Catcher: American League- Matt Wieters(8/21/.245 BA), National League- Yadier Molina (5/20/.305 BA)
Both Wieters and Molina are doing what was expected of them behind the plate defensively. It’s their offensive exploits we want to admire up to now as both are on pace for career-best years. Particularly Molina, who is hitting .305, with five home runs and 20 RBI’s. Wieters, who has slowed considerably since his fast start, is still the best defensively in the American League. His handling of the Orioles staff can’t be understated.
First Base: American League- Paul Konerko(8/23/.367 BA/.453 OBP), National League- Bryan LaHair (10/21/.315 BA/.413 OBP)
When do we start talking about Paul Konerko as the Jeff Bagwell of modern times? Anyone outside of Chicago notice that he’s got over 400 homers and almost 1,300 RBI’s for his career? That’s on top of his season numbers up to this point in 2012. Bryan LaHair completes the Windy City sweep of first basemen as quarter-season All-Stars.
Second Base: American League- Robinson Cano (4/16/.303 BA/.359 OBP), National League- Jose Altuve (2/13/.310 BA/.360 OBP)
I’ve been a fan of Jose Altuve for a little while now. As the calendar has switched to May, he continues to do things to impress. His numbers to this point don’t appear to be a fluke; while I won’t guarantee long-term success, he’s playing well enough to earn consideration for a spot.
Third Base: American League- Miguel Cabrera (8/34/.307 BA/ .356 OBP), National League- David Wright (4/25/.415 BA/.515 OBP)
David Wright is currently hitting out of his mind. How much the new dimensions at Citi Field have to do with that is up for debate, whatever the case he’s been a hitting machine and seems over the nagging injuries he’s dealt with the past couple years. Miguel Cabrera’s transition back to the hot corner hasn’t slowed his offensive production one bit. I’m guessing Prince has a bit of a hand in that.
Shortstop: American League- Derek Jeter (5/15/.343 BA/ .386 OBP), National League- Rafael Furcal (2/21/.350 BA/ .407 OBP)
You can’t put into words what Jeter is doing this season in 2012. Since he’s made an adjustment to his swing last July he hasn’t looked back. Now the conversation isn’t about whether or not he’ll retire soon, but will he go for 4,000 hits.
Left Field: American League- Josh Hamilton (18/47/.379 BA/ .432 OBP), National League- Ryan Braun (12/30/.333 BA/ .402 OBP)
Josh Hamilton is a machine. I think that sums it up. Ryan Braun has put all the PED/personal issues behind him to bounce back into MVP form in 2012.
Center Field: American League- Adam Jones (14/29/.307 BA/.351 OBP), National League- Matt Kemp (12/28/.359 BA/.446 OBP)
Even with a stint on the disabled list Matt Kemp is regarded as the best center fielder in the game. I look for him to continue his triple crown pace when he returns. In Baltimore, a career start for Adam Jones have most optimistic he’s finally put it together. Watch the strikeout-to-walk total though (33 K’s, 9 BB)
Right Field: American League- Josh Reddick (11/24/.277 BA/ .335 OBP/ .871 OPS), National League- Andre Ethier (9/39/.321 BA/.379 OBP)
Remember back in March when I said I thought the A’s would make a little noise out West if all went right? Well everything is going pretty alright if you ask me, and Josh Reddick has a lot to do with that. He’s playing a great right field for Oakland and realizing some of that offensive potential he showed in Boston. Meanwhile in Los Angeles it might be time Andre Ethier gets some of those MVP votes from Matt Kemp.
Starting Pitchers: American League- David Price (L) 6-3, 2.88 ERA, 52 K’s/Justin Verlander (R) 5-1, 2.18 ERA, 68 K’s, National League- Clayton Kershaw (L) 4-1, 1.90 ERA, 51 K’s/Brandon Beachy (R) 5-1, 1.33 ERA, 39 K’s
Brandon Beachy’s selection here shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been watching. To counter some of those whispers of him being “another Jair Jurrjens” or having a low strikeout total I’ll point out that Fangraphs still has his velocity where it needs to be (92-94 mph range on his fastball), and his motion and intellect are proving this isn’t a flash-in-the-pan-effort.
Closers: American League- Jim Johnson (16/16 saves, .87 ERA, 14 K’s), National League- Craig Kimbrel (13/14 saves, 2.25 ERA, 25 K’s)
I’m eating me words big time on these Baltimore Orioles. Couldn’t be more surprised at the effort turned in by closer Jim Johnson, however, as he’s become as lights out as they come. Craig Kimbrel continues to mow down opposing batters as he has adequately silenced sophomore slump/September hangover talk.