posted 6/29/12 2:06 PM PST
by Joe Giglio
The rosters for the 2012 All-Star Game will be announced on Sunday. As fans continue to stuff the ballot box with players that aren’t worthy -- Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, etc. -- true baseball fans fear the worst: Undeserving All-Stars being announced in Kansas City on July 9th. Here is a snapshot of how the rosters would look if MLBDepthCharts had a say. Forget fan voting, the Final Vote, and a player popularity contest. The following represents a team of the best players in baseball thus far, rosters built to win one game, and selections based on the current state of the game.
*The following rules were observed during the selection process: 34-man rosters, at least one representative per franchise, and players currently on the DL were excluded.
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota: He’s not overpaid as long as he’s posting a .414 OBP.
1B Paul Konerko, Chicago: Mr. Consistency gets it done in Chicago.
2B Robinson Cano, New York: On pace for over 40 home runs.
3B Adrian Beltre, Texas: Remember when he couldn’t hit in Seattle?
SS Elvis Andrus, Texas: A .381 OBP, speed, and Gold Glove defense make him invaluable.
OF Josh Hamilton, Texas: Despite the recent cold spell, he’s slugging nearly .650.
OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles: He’s not just the front runner for ROY -- he’s the AL MVP.
OF Jose Bautista, Toronto: Has 25 HR despite a BABIP under .200. Think about that.
DH David Ortiz, Boston: Giving Edgar Martinez a run for his money as best DH ever.
SP Justin Verlander, Detroit: He won’t win in the mid-20’s again, but another Cy seems reasonable.
SP Chris Sale, Chicago: His numbers are nearly identical to that Verlander guy.
SP Jake Peavy, Chicago: Biggest number: 104.1 IP. Great when healthy.
SP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles: Gets better every year.
SP C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles: Looking like a $70+ million bargain right now.
SP David Price, Tampa Bay: Could post video game like numbers in another division. 2.95 ERA in the AL East is impressive.
SP Felix Hernandez, Seattle: Matches the M’s bats: Zero-for-zero.
SP Yu Darvish, Texas: Nearly 10 K/9 and an ERA under 3.50 is quite the start for the Japanese star.
SP Jason Hammel, Baltimore: Don’t let the rough outing earlier this week fool you. Hammel has changed his career -- and the Orioles fortune -- by generating ground balls.
RP Jim Johnson, Baltimore: The results are better than the peripherals, but the guy generates outs.
RP Fernando Rodney, Tampa: With Mariano Rivera on the shelf, this might be the guy you call if three outs are needed.
RP Joe Nathan, Texas: 11.23 K/9 has Nathan looking like he’s back to pre-TJ form.
RP Ryan Cook, Oakland: Billy Beane absolutely stole Ryan Cook in the Cahill-for-Parker deal.
RP Ernesto Frieri, Los Angeles: Striking out nearly 15 batters per nine innings. Also, he hasn’t given up a run since being traded to the AL...on May 5th.
C A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago: By far the highest slugging percentage among AL backstops.
1B Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto: His .579 slugging percentage is 79 points higher than Prince Fielder, 129 better than Texeira, 131 over Pujols, and 177 points greater than Adrian Gonzalez. That’s staggering.
2B Jason Kipnis, Cleveland: Could be a 5-win player in his first full season.
3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit: One of the most consistent, robotic hitters of all-time.
3B Mike Moustakas, Kansas City: As Eric Hosmer struggles, Moustakas reminds us of the prospect he was tabbed to be.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland: Highest OPS among all AL shortstops.
OF Adam Jones, Baltimore: 30-100-20 isn’t out of the question for the highest paid Oriole.
OF Austin Jackson, Detroit: Showing the kind of plate discipline (12.3% BB rate) than can make him a star.
OF Josh Reddick, Oakland: The most unlikely 18 HR in all of baseball.
OF Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles: A .976 OPS is very, very impressive.
DH Adam Dunn, Chicago: 24 HR, 17.8% BB rate is what Chicago paid all that money for.
C Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia: He’s literally -- .364/.430/.591 -- putting up Mike Piazza numbers.
1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati: Baseball’s best hitter is leaps and bounds above every other NL first baseman.
2B Jose Altuve, Houston: @HowManyAltuves will explain this selection much better than I could.
3B David Wright, New York: Hitting over .360 and walking more than he strikes out.
SS Jed Lowrie, Houston: Not many shortstops slug .500 these days.
OF Ryan Braun, Milwaukee: Steroid allegations and lineup protection be damned, Braun is an all-time hitter.
OF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh: One of baseball’s true franchise players.
OF Carlos Beltran, St. Louis: The biggest free agent bargain in years.
DH Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado: Would put up Bonds-like power numbers if he could play every game at Coors.
SP Zack Greinke, Milwaukee: Better than 50% of his outs come via ground ball, a third from strikeouts, and only 5.6% of fly balls leave the yard off him. How exactly does anyone score a run off this guy?
SP Stephen Strasburg, Washington: A full list of the starting pitchers since 2000 that have posted a K/9 for a full season better than Strasburg’s current rate of 11.80: Randy Johnson. That’s it.
SP Gio Gonzalez, Washington: Walk rate down, success rate up.
SP R.A. Dickey, New York: What a story, what a pitcher.
SP Matt Cain, San Francisco: Batters feared Cain becoming more of a strikeout pitcher to go along with his work horse mentality. That day has arrived.
SP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati: FIP and xFIP can’t stop this guy.
SP Wade Miley, Arizona: There’s stronger cases for Miley to start the All-Star Game than actually not making the team.
SP Johan Santana: How fast baseball forgot about his greatness. Comeback player of the year candidate.
SP James McDonald, Pittsburgh: He’s finally figured it all out.
SP Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles: 8.56 K/9 and an ERA under 2.75, but you get the idea he really hasn’t gotten going yet.
SP Cole Hamels, Philadelphia: Consistently excellent.
SP Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco: Will be mentioned as a Top 10 pitcher in MLB before next season begins.
RP Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta: The heartbreaking September collapse has made him even better.
RP Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati: The ultimate weapon for Tony La Russa’s bullpen.
RP Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia: An increased HR rate isn’t going to stop him from getting a few big outs for the NL.
C Yadier Molina, St. Louis: Slugging .518 to go along with great defense, leadership.
2B Omar Infante, Miami: The most deserving Marlin. That’s not saying much right now.
3B Chase Headley, San Diego: Might be a brand name outside of Petco.
SS Starlin Castro, Chicago: A pure hitter.
OF Melky Cabrera, San Francisco: Jon Sanchez for Melky is one of the most lopsided deals in years.
OF Matt Holliday, St. Louis: Good for a .375+ OBP and nearly a .500 SLG every year.
OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta: Poised to go 25-25 with defensive and athleticism. Sky is the limit.
OF Martin Prado, Atlanta: According to FanGraphs, he’s been the 3rd most valuable OF in the NL. Positional flexibility is big for All-Star Game.
OF Andre Ethier, Los Angeles: One of the better RF’s in the game.
OF Bryce Harper, Washington: Not many 19-year-old players have ever been this impressive.
Joe Giglio is a sports talk host at WNST in Baltimore, co-host of the Just a Bit Outside podcast on iTUNES, former intramural coordinator at DeSales University, husband, and baseball fanatic willing to argue Jeff Bagwell's Hall of Fame candidacy at a moment's notice. Follow him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports and check out his blog at joegiglio.blogspot.com.