All-Stars (2017 edition)

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To a large extent my take on who is or isn’t an All-Star is the same as Joe Sheehan’s (subscription newsletter so no link):

The All-Star Game has lost its luster for a half-dozen reasons, but one of them is that far too much of the game is played by workaday anons having the best stretch of their lives, rather than the boldface names who call to mind “All-Star.” So when I’m picking my All-Stars, I’m less concerned with players’ slash lines on June 20, but rather whether they are among the greatest players in the game, the ones MLB should be selling to a captive audience on a Tuesday in July. This is also why I’m comfortable making picks earlier than most writers; the current season stats just don’t matter much to me.

So when I need a token Oriole for my bench, I take Manny Machado (.223/.292/.450, 95 OPS+) over Jonathan Schoop (.292/.344/.542, 133 OPS+) because I would rather watch Manny Machado (plus Baseball Reference has Machado at 1.5 WAR and Schoop at 1.2 WAR; Machado is tied with Trey Mancini for the Orioles lead among batters (Dylan Bundy leads all Orioles with 2.1 WAR)).  But Aaron Judge, who leads the majors in WAR, is one of my AL starting outfielders along with Mike Trout and Mookie Betts (Joe took Trout, Betts, and Springer).  Yonder Alonso is my starting first baseman.  My reserves include a down year of Robinson Cano (.281/.341/.458, 6th on the Mariners in batter WAR) but not a down year of Miguel Cabrera (.266/.368/.435, 8th on the Tigers in batter WAR) and also 2017 flukes Jason VargasErvin Santana, and Avisail Garcia, and that’s just the AL.  (Chris Devenski and Alex Hicks would have made my team too, but roster spots.)  Add Cody Bellinger, Alex Wood, and Eric Thames in the NL.

AL
Alonso 1b         OAK
Altuve 2b          HOU
Donaldson 3b    TOR
Lindor ss           CLE
Perez c             KCR
Cruz dh             SEA
Trout of            LAA
Judge of            NYY
Betts of            BOS

Sale p               BOS

NL
Goldschmidt 1b  ARI
Murphy 2b        WAS
Arenado 3b       COL
Seager ss          LAD
Posey c            SFG
Harper of          WAS
Stanton of         MIA
Ozuna of           MIA

Scherzer p        WAS

AL reserves
c (2): Sanchez, McCann*
if (7): Correa, Machado (token Oriole), Sano, Cano (token Mariner), Bogaerts, Jose Ramirez, Andrelton Simmons
of (5): Dickerson, Springer, Avisail Garcia (token White Sox…Sock?), J.D. Martinez, Upton
p (11): Keuchel, Kimbrel, Betances, Stroman, Archer, Darvish (token Ranger believe it or not), Santana, Andrew Miller, Kluber, Carrasco, Vargas (token Royal)

NL reserves
c (2): Molina, Grandal*
if (7): Rizzo, Bryant, Votto, Justin Turner, Rendon, Freeman (token Brave), Cozart
of (5): Blackmon, Conforto (token Met), Thames (token Brewer–he’s only 8th on the team in WAR, but the top 3 are pitchers, plus Korea will be watching), Myers (token Padre), Bellinger
p (11): Kershaw, Jansen, Holland, Wade Davis, Alex Wood, Greinke, Robbie Ray, Carlos Martinez, Ivan Nova (token Pirate), Neshek (token Phillie—Neshek leads the team in WAR with 1.7!), Archie Bradley, Strasburg

* If I don’t need two catchers, I’ll replace Grandal with Jake Lamb and McCann with Hicks as my reserves.**

** Or if I can add more pitchers, Felipe Rivero and Devenski.  Or Corey Knebel and Devenski.***

*** Or maybe I will take Jonathan Schoop.  133 OPS+!

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