Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Extra Innings: 2nd week too early to pick All Stars?

Have you entered one of your 25 ballots for the All-Star Game yet?

Major League Baseball’s season may be just 17 days old, but the ballots for the 81st Midsummer Classic were unveiled Tuesday, opening the voting to baseball fans around the world. So, who are you going to vote for?

You could select your candidates in a variety of ways: voting for your favorite team’s starters or picking those players who have performed best so far this season.


The former option is always an easy, albeit inaccurate way of voting. Just because you’re from Milwaukee doesn’t mean Gregg Zaun deserves to be an All-Star. And just because you’ve suffered through years of torment in Chicago doesn’t make Alfonso Soriano worth one of your 25 votes either.

So, I’m going to foolishly hope fans who are voting today will be picking those players who truly deserve it. If so, here’s a look at who they’d be picking:


In the American League, the Yankees’ Jorge Posada and his .278 batting average, three home runs and six RBIs would be your starter. This certainly isn’t out of the question, but there’s no question who is the best catcher in the AL, and it’s not Posada; Joe Mauer is close behind early on, but right now Posada would get the nod.

For the National League, 38-year-old Ivan Rodriguez leads the way with his .450 batting average and 1.113 OPS. His seven RBIs also rank second among NL catchers, despite his playing for the Washington Nationals.

First Baseman

Moving to first base, Miguel Cabrera appears to have bounced back from his alcohol issues and has performed the best so far among AL first basemen. Cabrera has a solid line with a .360 average, three home runs, 14 RBIs and a .620 slugging percentage. Carlos Pena of the Rays comes in a close second, but his .273 average gives Cabrera the nod.

In the senior circuit, it’s a no-brainer: Albert Pujols. The Cardinals’ first baseman leads the NL in home runs at his position with five while driving in 15 runs and slugging .600.

Second Baseman

Former American League MVP Dustin Pedroia is leading the way at second base, batting .346 with a 1.095 OPS, five home runs and 13 RBIs. Backing him up would be Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton, who boasts a 1.107 OPS, five home runs and 11 RBIs, to go along with a .294 batting average.

In the NL, it’s Chase Utley of the Phillies. With a .341 average, six home runs — one off the MLB lead — and a 1.286 OPS, Utley may be on his way to matching Pedroia in terms of MVP awards.

Third Baseman

Picked by many as the favorite for 2010 AL MVP, Evan Longoria is the leading candidate so far for the starting spot at third base. With three home runs and 12 RBIs, Longoria is leading or tied for the lead in both categories. Alex Rodriguez, who is likely to earn the nod when the final votes are tallied, has just one blast and seven RBIs.

Perhaps the biggest surprise yet, Milwaukee second-year third baseman Casey McGehee is the clear favorite so far in the NL. McGehee leads the Brewers with four home runs and has driven in 10 runs while slugging nearly .800.


Another surprise comes in the AL at shortstop with Toronto’s Alex Gonzalez off to a hot start. Gonzalez has four home runs, nine RBIs and a .300 batting average. Backing him up and more likely to get the starting nod is Yankee veteran Derek Jeter, who has belted three homers so far to go along with nine RBIs.

After a down year in 2009, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins appears poised early on to give the team its second All-Star this year. Rollins is hitting at a .391 clip with a 1.255 OPS.


In the AL, it’s nearly guaranteed that Ichiro will earn yet another All-Star nod, but the top performers in the league’s outfields right now are also the top in the AL in general. Nelson Cruz, Vernon Wells and Shin-Soo Choo have all looked like MVPs through the first two weeks.

It’s not quite as clear cut as to who has been best in the NL so far, but rookie phenom Jason Heyward has certainly made a strong case for himself through the first fortnight. Along with Heyward, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and Ryan Braun of Milwaukee could round out a great young outfield for the National League.

Designated Hitter

With the game in Anaheim — not Los Angeles — this year, the designated hitter will come into play. Fortunately for the AL, Kansas City’s outfielder-turned-DH Jose Guillen has discovered new life in his career after switching to hitting full time.

In the other dugout, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Jorge Cantu would all be good candidates for the role and could find their way onto the roster as backups at the corner infield positions.

Starting Pitcher

Obviously, fans don’t get to vote for this category, but through two weeks Matt Garza has stood in a category by himself so far in the AL.

It’s harder to pick the best starter in the NL, but the no-hitter against the Braves gives Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez the edge over his competitors.


Closing out the game for the American League would like be Mariano Rivera based on track record, but through two weeks, Jon Rauch of Minnesota has been surprisingly dominant.

In the National League, Matt Capps of the Nationals would get the nod for his early efforts.

So, while it certainly seems far too early to vote for the All-Star starters, the early numbers across the board would result in a respectable lineup for both teams. Of course, this was all just for fun — in that nerdy, stats-based baseball kind of way — because fans are going to go ahead and vote for their favorite players, regardless of merit.

Let’s just hope David Ortiz doesn’t make the cut.

Jordan is a senior majoring in journalism and political science. Who do you plan to vote for with your 25 entries? Let him know at [email protected].

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