Yesterday, we revealed our first-quarter National League All Star selections for each position. As promised, today we give you our American League picks. Let’s get right to it.
C – Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
It was a close call between Mauer and Indians catcher Carlos Santana. Both have had terrific starts to this point, but Mauer’s has been the most complete and impressive. Though he has hit just two home runs compared to Santana’s seven, he leads his position with a .333 batting average with 53 hits, which includes 17 doubles. Mauer has driven in 13 runs and scored 25 times, and according to sabermetric statistics has created 31.4 runs for the Twins already. He is the class of all catchers with a 1.9 WAR (wins above replacement player). and as the most valuable player in the American League behind the dish, he deserves the starting nod.
1B – Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
A fairly easy selection here. Davis exploded out of the gate with a streak of home runs and RBIs, and though his production has slowed a little (it had to), his first-quarter production remains one of the best stories of the season. Davis is batting .318 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs. No other AL first baseman comes close to matching those kinds of numbers.
2B – Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Second base is a relatively thin position in the American League, so Cano certainly stands out. He’s hitting .296 and has 13 home runs and 32 RBIs. His effort has helped propel the Yankees, who were expected by many to flounder with so many of its stars on the disabled list, to an early yet impressive division lead. Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox got serious consideration. He’s batting a ridiculous .341, but he is well protected in a fully healthy Boston lineup. Cano is being pitched around and still continues to put up big time numbers.
3B – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
I wanted so bad to name the Orioles’ Manny Machado as the starter at third, but Cabrera’s three-home run night Sunday made that impossible to do. If you thought Pedroia’s batting average was ridiculous, Miggy’s robust a robust .387 batting average is the best in all of baseball, as is his 1.125 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage). Last year’s triple-crown winner has belted 11 homers and driven in 47 runs, and looks to be challenging for that rare achievement for a second consecutive year.
SS – Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics
Yet another two-horse race, I had to choose between Lowrie and the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. Their numbers are pretty similar, but Lowrie has a slight edge in hits (51 to 48), doubles (15-10), RBIs (21 to 18) and runs created (28.7 to 26.4). The fact that Detroit would already be represented by Miguel Cabrera also helped ease the guilt of deciding in Lowrie’s favor.
OF – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
Top batting average at his position (.343). Second highest on-base percentage of all AL outfielders (.382). Six home runs, 29 RBIs and a position-leading 1.7 WAR. He’s a phenomenal player, and well deserving of showcasing that fact to the world on the Midsummer Classic stage.
OF – Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
Jones and Gordon are like choices 1(a) and 1(b) for the top AL outfielder at this point in the season. Jones is hitting .319 with six homers of his own to go along with 30 RBIs. He’s a rising star that does nothing but steadily improve at all facets of the game. Expect Jones to be an All-Star Game mainstay for years to come.
OF – Vernon Wells, New York Yankees
How Wells has resurrected his career in 2013 boggles the mind. He was basically left for dead by the Angels before being scooped up by a New York club desperate for fill-in players to keep things afloat during the injury-riddled months of April and May. The way he has played through the first quarter reminds us all why he was considered worthy of a $100 million-plus contract. He is batting .288 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs for the first-place Yankees, and is deserving of this one last tip of the cap as his career twilights.
SP – Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
You can’t argue with results, and Matt Moore has gotten nothing but favorable ones thus far. The young Rays starter is 8-0 through nine starts. His 2.29 ERA and 1.09 WHIP don’t lead the league, but no other AL pitcher has been able to match Moore’s success. Moore burst onto the scene last season, showing tremendous poise after being called up to aid Tampa Bay’s playoff run. At 24 years old, Moore has already seen it all, save the World Series and the All Star Game. We suspect he will be able to cross one of those off his baseball bucket list come mid-July.