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Constructing the American League All-Star roster

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Thanks to Mike Trout missing the festivities due to injury, Avisail Garcia should get the nod to start in Trout’s place.

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

I don't envy being in Terry Francona's position right now. His Cleveland Indians roster has largely underachieved to start 2017 and is in a tussle with the Minnesota Twins for first place. Injuries to star players haven't helped, and while trying to figure out how to gain some separation in the divisional race, Francona now has to figure out soon who gets the honor of being called an All-Star.

Lucky for Francona fans will help decide the position starters. As of Monday, the American League starters were the following:

First Base: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City

Second Base: Jose Altuve, Houston

Shortstop: Carlos Correa, Houston

Third Base: Miguel Sano, Minnesota

Outfield: Aaron Judge, New York

Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles (Injured, will not play)

Outfield: George Springer, Houston

Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle

While that takes care of nine players, Francona still has to figure out who the other 23 players will be.

For fun, I thought to put myself in Francona's shoes and fill out the entire American League All-Star roster following this format:

  • 32 player roster
  • Have to take a player from every team
  • Carry three catchers
  • Carry at least six starting pitchers

Grant Brisbee wrote about the pending National League All-Star roster and selected players based not only on how they have performed for the first three months but also their career. I do respect that opinion because it's an exhibition game and fans deserve to see the best players. However, I do like the randomness of seeing new faces, and they too should be honored for their achievement, albeit in a small sample size.

Below is my full American League All-Star roster with thoughts.

Starters

American League Starters

Position Player Team
Position Player Team
C Gary Sanchez NY Yankees
1B Yonder Alonso Oakland
2B Jose Altuve Houston
SS Carlos Correra Houston
3B Miguel Sano Minnesota
OF Aaron Judge NY Yankees
OF George Springer Houston
OF Avisail Garcia Chicago
DH/OF Cory Drickerson Tampa

Yup, I'm pulling the homer card putting Avisail Garcia in the starting lineup. With Mike Trout out, I think it's Aaron Judge, George Springer, and X, with "X" being one of these three: Avi, Mookie Betts, Lorenzo Cain. Both Betts and Cain easily are better than Avi defensively which should come to no surprise. What's working in Avi's favor is his bat as he possesses better splits than Betts and Cain, and his 131 wRC+ is 16 points higher than Cain, 21 points better than Betts. If I have to pick between offense or defense to watch in the All-Star game, I vote for the offense. Thus, Avi gets the nod.

The Kansas City faithful are doing, again, a terrific job of getting Eric Hosmer on the All-Star team even though there are far more deserving first baseman. I gave the nod to Yonder Alonso over Justin Smoak because of his slightly higher wOBA and wRC+, though I do have Smoak on the team as a reserve.

Reserves

American League Reserves

Position Player Team
Position Player Team
C Alex Avila Detroit
C Salvador Perez Kansas City
1B Justin Smoak Toronto
SS Andrelton Simmons LA Angels
SS Xander Bogaerts Boston
2B Jonathon Schoop Baltimore
OF Nelson Cruz Seattle
OF Mookie Betts Boston
3B Jose Ramirez Cleveland
OF Lorenzo Cain Kansas City

I had a difficult time finding representatives for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. With a comfortable lead, it appears Nelson Cruz will be selected, and he can play an inning or two in the outfield if necessary. The only Ranger position player I considered adding was Joey Gallo, but I decided against it going with a pitcher to represent them.

One notable omission is no Francisco Lindor. Needing a player from each team was a factor, and I believe Andrelton Simmons has played well enough to replace Mike Trout repping the Angels.

Pitchers

American League Pitchers

Position Player Team
Position Player Team
SP Chris Sale Boston
SP Chris Archer Tampa
SP Michael Fulmer Detroit
SP Yu Darvish Texas
SP Lance McCullers Houston
SP Luis Severino NY Yankees
RP Craig Kimbrell Boston
RP Andrew Miller Cleveland
RP Roberto Osuna Toronto
RP Tommy Kahnle Chicago
RP Dellin Betances NY Yankees
RP Chris Devenski Houston
RP Blake Parker LA Angels

Chris Sale is going to start the All-Star game which was one of the easier decisions to make. For the other starters, I do feel Chris Archer, Michael Fulmer, Luis Severino and Lance McCullers are very deserving. Yu Darvish is the lone Ranger and gets a seat.

When it comes to the bullpen, I pulled out the homer card again picking Tommy Kahnle over Houston's Will Harris. If you want to fight me having Harris on the roster, I can be convinced to replace Dellin Betances with him. No, I didn't consider saves into my bullpen decision-making because many closers do not have great seasons.

Constructing the full roster was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. Obviously, my choices are probably going to be a lot different than the actual AL roster as players skip out of the festivities, but I feel my choices recognize the best first half performances.