My NL All-Star lineup was posted yesterday and here is my American League starting lineup.
Catcher: Alex Avila has really jumped onto the scene this year and he is my pick for catcher. His AL Leading 2.6 WAR amongst catchers is 0.8 wins higher than the second place Matt Wieters.Avila has an impressive triple-slash line of .304/.375/.542 and the highest wOBA (.394) and ISO (.238) amongstAL catchers. He also has a very solid 10 homeruns and 45 RBI.
First Base: Many believed this guy to be a strong candidate for the AL MVP at the beginning of the year and he is not disappointing. Adrian Gonzalez has posted a terrific 4.5 WAR which ranks second in the entire American League and is 1.2 wins higher than the second best first baseman. He has a major league leading .361 AVG which is .020 points higher than the second best. He has a .415 OBP, .611 SLG, 16 homeruns, and a major league leading 71 RBI to go with.
Second Base: This pick was very close for me, between Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, and Howie Kendrick but I am going with Kendrick on this one. While Zobrist leads all American League second baseman in WAR (4.0), Kendrick is only 0.4 wins behind. Kendrick has the highest AVG (.304), wOBA (.373), and wRC+ (138) amongstAL second baseman and the second highest OBP (.362) and SLG (.479) His triple-slash line is better across the board compared to Zobrist.
Third Base: This was an easy pick for me as Alex Rodriguez is performing very well this season. He has a 4.0 WAR which leads the majors amongst third baseman and is 1.4 wins higher than the second best. He has a triple-slash line of .304/.382/.515 and a wOBA of .393.He has an ISO of .211 and 13 homeruns and I think he is a clear-cut choice to be the American League starting third baseman.
Shortstop: This pick could go a few different ways as there are a good three or four guys deserving of the start but for me, Asdrubal Cabrera has the slight edge and is myAL starting shortstop. Cabrera leadsAL shortstops in WAR (3.0), hits (93), homeruns (13) and tied for first in RBI (46). He has an impressive triple-slash line of .292/.342/.495 and he has also provided good speed on the base baths with 12 stolen bases.
Left Field: While he is not a true left fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury is my starting left fielder as he has been one of the best outfielders in the American League this year. Ellsbury has a 3.5 WAR which ranks 4th amongstAL outfielders. He has shown a great combination of speed and power as he has 9 homeruns and 25 stolen bases which leads the entire major leagues. He has a triple-slash line of .299/.361/.455 and has provided great fielding as well.
Center Field: Curtis Granderson has really bounced back this year and I am giving him the nod in center field for the American League. He has a 4.2 WAR which ranks first amongstAL center fielders and is third in the entire American League. He has shown great power as he has 21 homeruns, a .301 ISO, and a .579 SLG which all leadAL center fielders. His .405 wOBA is the highest amongstAL centerfielders and he has a very solid 13 stolen bases as well.
Right Field: Jose Bautista could easily be the first half MVP and it’s not even a competition on choosing him as theAL starting right fielder. He leads the majors in WAR (5.2), wOBA (.475), ISO (.336), OBP (.469), SLG (.664), and homeruns (24). He is having a monster season.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz has easily been the best DH and he has also been one of the better players in general. He has a 2.6 WAR which leads all designated hitters. He has a great triple-slash line of .311/.391/.581 as well as a very good .419 wOBA. His 17 homeruns and .270 ISO also leads all designated hitters.
Starting Pitcher: This was probably one of my hardest picks as I was deciding between Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander but my final choice is Weaver. He leads allAL starting pitchers in WAR with 3.9. He has the lowest ERA in all of baseball (1.97) and the lowest FIP (2.46) in the American League. He is second in theAL in IP (123.1) and has given up the second fewest number of homeruns (5). While Verlander is very deserving of starting the All-Star game for theAL as well, I think Weaver has the very slight edge.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Avila, Alex Rodriguez, All-Star Game, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ben Zobrist, Curtis Granderson, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Howie Kendrick, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jared Weaver, Jose Bautista, Justin Verlander, Matt Wieters