It's baseball All-Star Game time again, and for the second consecutive year it's my proud pleasure to vote for the game as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.
This years contest will be played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I saw my first All-Star game on TV in 1970, the year the Reds Pete Rose ran over Ray Fosse of the Indians to win the game for the National League.
The next year the American League broke a long drought of losing All-Star games, beating the Senior Circuit at Detroit's Tiger Stadium.
The thing I remember most about the '71 game was the monster HR the A's Reggie Jackson hit off the light tower that sat atop the right center field roof.
The All-Star game is always a must see for me, and as always, I will root for the A.L. to win the game.
I've always cheered for the A.L., after all, that's were the Detroit Tigers play, and the Tigers are my favorite team.
I'll also watch to see if any of the Tigers player get into the game.
Back in 1970 there were always Tigers players in the game.
Bill Freehan started every game as the A.L. catcher from 1966-72, and Al Kaline, the Hall of Fame right fielder, was always in the game.
OK< enough of my remembarances, here's who I think should be in this years big game.
Catcher...Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
OK, so I'm a homer right from the start.
Avila is, however, the right choice here.
In 57 games Avila leads all A.L. catchers in RBI, with 38, in total bases, with 105, in slugging percentage, .505, and in doubles, with 14.
Avila is also second in batting average, .304, is 4th in HR's with 9.
First Base...Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Hey, it's another Tigers player, yes, but Cabrera is hitting .315, with 13 HR's, and 46 RBI.
The votes are going to go for the Red Sox Adrian Gonzales and the Yankees Mark Teixeira, so my 25 votes to Cabrera won't matter.
As long as he produces the way he does, he's going to be my vote every year.
Second Base...Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
Cano is the easy pick here.
Cano leads all A.L. second sackers in hits, 73, at bats, 255(tied), HR's, 14, RBI with 45, total bases, 132, and in slugging percentage, .518.
Third Base...Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
As with Cano at 2nd base, the stats back up my pick of Beltre.
Beltre leads all third baseman in RBI with 49, at bats, 263, and in hits, with 69.
Shortstop...Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians
Talk about dominating a position.
Cabrera is #1 in everything, at bats, average, slugging percentage, home runs, RBI, total bases, hits, and runs scored.
Now that's a big league All-Star.
Outfield...Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers(Write in)
Granderson is tied for the HR lead with 21 dingers, he leads all OF with 52 RBI, runs scored, 58, and 155 total bases.
Bautista is arguably the best power hitting outfielder in baseball, with a league leading 21 home runs(w/ Granderson), he leads all A.L. OF in batting, .333, in slugging percentage, .686, in on base %, .489, and in walks, with 62, an astounding 20 more than the next outfielder, the Yankees Nick Swisher.
Brennan Boesch is my favorite player in baseball, and he plays for my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers.
I wrote Boesch's name as a write in candidate all 25 times on the MLB.com ballot, and I don't care who complains.
The All-Star game is for us fans, and I know Boesch will never come close to starting, or even making, the team this year.
Boesch is a tremendous young player who has established himself in the 3rd spot in the Tigers lineup, just ahead of Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
As long as he plays big league baseball, and produces the way he has, he will get every vote from me.
In 234 at bats in 63 games Boesch is 4th among all outfielders in both doubles, 16, and runs scored, with 45.
Boesch is 8th among all OF in RBI, with 36, and is 10th in total bases, with 109.
Designated Hitter...Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers
Yes, another Tigers player, so sue me.
Martinez has been everything the Tigers wanted in a #5 hitter behind Cabrera.
Big Papi, David Ortiz is having an awesome year, and Red Sox Nation should be proud, but for what Martinez has done for the 1st place Tigers, my vote goes to V-Mart.
Martinez is second among all DH in batting, hitting .322, is 3rd in slugging , .508, 6th in on base %, and Martinez has 36 doubles, 101 total bases, and his 64 hits rank him 7th.
First Base...Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Votto, the reigning N.L. MVP, is my choice among a bunch of great first baseman in the N. L.
Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Todd Helton all receive some of my 25 votes, it was that tough for me.
Votto leads all N.L. 1st sackers in batting average, .331, hits, 83, walks, with 56, and he's even stolen 6 bases, #1 among all N.L. first baseman.
Second Base...Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers
This is one of those players who always seems to be in his teams nightly hilights.
Weeks leads all N.L. 2nd baseman with 278 at bats, runs scored, 49, hits, 80, doubles, 18, HR's, 13, and in total bases, 141.
Third Base...Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
In voting for Polanco, the numbers are all there, a .304 batting average, 102 total bases, 80 hits, 10 doubles,38 RBI, and 30 runs scored.
Shortstop...Jose Reyes, New York Mets
The National League leader in batting average, .345, Reyes also leads all second baseman in at bats, 284, runs scored, 50, hits, 98(N.L. leader), 20 doubles, 11 triples(N.L. leader), and in total bases, 149.
Outfielders...Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Hunter Pence, Houston Astros
Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins
I love this set of outfielders, all whom are having terrific years.
Matt Kemp is my #1 N.L. outfielder, with 85 hits, 20 home runs, 56 RBI, and a .335 batting average, and 162 total bases.
The Houston Astros are having a miserable season, but it's not because of the play of Hunter Pence.
Pence has a .321 batting average, a .500 slugging percentage, has driven in 50 runs, and a N.L. leading 90 hits.
I'm a Mike Stanton fan.
I first saw this young player while he was here in Jacksonville, playing for the AA Suns, the Marlins affiliate.
On opening Day in 2010 he crushed 2 long home runs, and he was on his way to the big leagues.
Stanton has hit 16 HR's, has 41 RBI, 15 doubles, has scored 37 runs, has a .544 slugging percentage, and 124 total bases in 228 at bats.
When the Marlins are on my TV, and Stanton is hitting, I never change the channel.
So there you have it baseball fans, my selections for baseball's All-Star Game next month.
I know not every pick is the right player, but they are the players that I think deserve recognition for their play this season.
If you noticed my statistical numbers didn't contain one of the newer stats, WAR, or BABIP, etc.
Those stats are meaningless to me, an old school guy who believes in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.
Stats alone don't always tell the whole story anyway, they can't show hustle, or heart, or how a player plays the game.
You young guys can have all the SABR numbers you want, you can create any new stat that fits your idea of what baseball is.
Baseball is a game of pitching, hitting, running, and throwing.
Watch the games, read the game stories, look at the box scores.
The game of baseball has done just fine for over a century with it's simple rules and stats.
I love the great game of baseball, and look forward to the upcoming All-Star Game.
I hope all you baseball fans will continue to show your passion, and love of baseball, regardless weather your an old school guy like me, or a young guy just learning about the greatest game ever invented.