First-half of the 2015 Major League Baseball season is in the books. That means it’s that time of year when debate will rage on about who made the All-Star teams and who should have made the All-Star teams.
I like to condense those lists of who should have made the teams into one and make one All-Star roster based on performance compared to the league as a whole. Not only does it make it more fun, but also adds a little extra fuel for debate (as I’m sure my selections at second and third base will drum up).
So without further delay here are those I consider to be the best of the best in all of Major League Baseball in the first-half of 2015.
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Stat Line: (BA/OBP/SLG) .314/.381/.498, 14 HR, 58 RBI, .880 OPS
Why Posey?: When you’re the Major League Baseball leader at your position in average, on-base percentage, RBI’s, slugging percentage, and wins above replacement (WAR) – 4.2 – I think that pretty much wraps up any debate, right?
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Stat Line: .340/.455/.610, 21 HR, 70 RBI, 1.064 OPS
Why Goldschmidt?: It could have been Pujols, Cabrera, or Abreu; but Goldschmidt is challenging for the Triple Crown in the National League. He would be the first NL winner since Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals back in 1937.
Second Base: Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants
Stat Line: .308/.372/.448, 7 HR, 33 RBI, .820 OPS
Why Panik?: Second base is loaded this year; making this a tough decision. A lot of people would have chosen Jason Kipnis, Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve (a Locker favorite) or DJ LeMahieu. I’m going with Panik one reason: 1.) his numbers aren’t contingent upon an unsustainable Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). Gordon (.409 BABIP), Kipnis (.369 BABIP), and LeMahieu (.373 BABIP) will see a dip in production as the season wears on. All are deserving, but Panik’s steady game is appreciated, here.
Third Base: Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Stat Line: .298/.361/.525, 19 HR, 48 RBI, .886 OPS
Why Machado?: Another tough choice considering Josh Donaldson and the season he’s having. Machado, however, has the better averages, is a bigger threat on the bases, and Donaldson’s Home/Road splits hint at a player taking advantage of Rogers Centre’s generous confines.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals
Stat Line: .298/.355/.473, 13 HR, 46 RBI, .828 OPS
Why Peralta?: No Matt Holliday or Matt Adams isn’t an issue for Peralta. He’s picked up the slack admirably. It could be argued that Peralta is one of the more underrated players in all of baseball.
Right Field: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Stat Line: .339/.464/.704, 26 HR, 61 RBI, 1.168 OPS
Why Harper?: I think my previous post before the season challenging Mr. Harper to “Show Us Something” struck a chord. He, like Goldschmidt, is challenging for the Triple Crown and is proving he’s the key to the Nationals success this season.
Left Field: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
Stat Line: ..279/.394/.457, 11 HR, 39 RBI, .852 OPS
Why Gordon?: It’s a shame Gordon got hurt because he is a huge part of what the Royals have there in Kansas City. Between his on-base percentage and his outstanding defense in left, you’d be hard pressed to find a more valuable piece to a teams puzzle than he is. Deserving in every way.
Center Field: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Stat Line: .312/.405/.614, 26 HR, 55 RBI, 1.019 OPS
Why Trout?: Starting to run out of things to say about Trout. Of course if I have to explain why he’s the All-Star Center Fielder of the first-half you’re probably just reaching for something that isn’t there.
SP (Right-Handed): Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
Stat Line: 10-3, 0.96 WHIP, 2.04 ERA, 108 K’s
Why Gray?: I’m allowed to have my personal favorites, right? Considering I was shouting from the rooftops when Gray was snubbed last year all he’s done is continue to confirm my belief that he is one of the best, young pitchers in all of baseball.
SP (Left-Handed): Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
Stat Line: 11-4, 2.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 114 K’s
Why Keuchel?: Have you seen what he’s done in Houston dating back to last season? 23 wins, 2.64 ERA, an ERA+ of 147. It would have been easy for me to put Clayton Kershaw or David Price here and call it an afternoon. That wouldn’t do Keuchel’s performance justice; and I’m all for justice.