I filled out an All-Star ballot yesterday (actually several All-Star ballots) and, without shame and with total objectivity, picked a bunch of Cardinals.
At catcher, I selected Yadier Molina over Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies. Ruiz has Yadi by a mile in batting average, and they’re virtually even in power numbers. But Molina is a better defensive player than Ruiz. So I voted for Molina.
At first base, as a homer vote, I wrote in Allen Craig. Joey Votto of the Reds will be and should be voted in as the starter, but I wanted it known that Craig should be on the team. I’m not going to buy Adam LaRoche, Paul Goldschmidt or Freddie Freeman as being better than Craig. More durable this season, yes, but if you’re trying to win a game that counts, do you want one of those guys or a guy who hit three home runs in the World Series? Craig should be on the team.
My second baseman was Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips over Houston’s Jose Altuve by a nose. Altuve has the best batting average of NL second basemen, but Phillips has the power numbers and the defense, so I’ll go with him.
I took Rafael Furcal at shortstop over Jed Lowrie of Houston. Furcal has played great defense, and has been a big-time player for a world champion. Lowrie is having his first good season, and should be on the team. But, Furcal should start.
Third base looks like a homer pick for me with David Freese over David Wright of the Mets. Wright is hitting in the .360 range. Freese has six more homers playing in a more homer-friendly park, and the RBIs are even. Once again, in a game that counts, I know Freese has the ability to step up at crunch time. I like Wright a lot, but I like Freese a little better.
In the outfield, I have Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Melky Cabrera. That gives me a guy that can play each position, gives me some nice lineup flexibility and honors the guys having the best years out there. Ryan Braun should make the team, too, as the DH, but there’s something that each of my guys do better that get them into the lineup.
Speaking of the lineup, in honor of Bob Ramsey, here goes. Furcal-SS, Beltran-RF, Votto-1B, Braun-DH, Gonzalez-LF, Freese-3B, Molina-C, Phillips-2B, Cabrera-CF.
By the way, my American League ballot had A.J. Pierzynski of Chicago catching, his teammate Paul Konerko at first, the Yankee middle infield of Robinson Cano at second base and Derek Jeter at shortstop, Texas’ Adrian Beltre at third, and an outfield of Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Adam Jones of Baltimore and write-in Mike Trout of the Angels. I selected Boston’s David Ortiz as my designated hitter.
In several of my ballots, I clicked on Chris Duncan’s brother Shelley, who should get the nod to participate with his dad as pitching coach for the NL.
The rosters will be unveiled Sunday. I’ll be interested to see if the player and fan vote is correct, or if they went against me.