Now that fan voting is finished Quincy Williams II Jersey , it’s a good time to take a hard look at All-Star Game selections.
Let’s touch on this topic first: Shohei Ohtani is incredibly talented and fascinating to watch, but the Los Angeles Angels‘ two-way Japanese star simply hasn’t been on the field enough to earn a spot. Not at pitcher OR designated hitter.
Ohtani just returned to the lineup from an elbow injury that’s knocked him off the mound for now. He’s only made nine major league pitching starts, and the Angels have limited his at-bats all season due to concerns about the rookie’s workload.
So while it would definitely be fun to see him in baseball’s summer showcase, there are several more deserving American League sluggers at DH. It wouldn’t be fair to deny one of them in favor of Ohtani. And he’s unavailable to pitch at this point.
Let him win his invitation next season with a fully healthy and productive first half. Or the year after that. Or whenever it happens.
Buzzkill, I know.
But even without Ohtani, there’s plenty to watch for leading up to the first All-Star Game in the nation’s capital since the Senators hosted at RFK Stadium in 1969.
Start with Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis. With more than 2,150 career hits, he’s poised to make an All-Star team for the first time in his 13th big league season.
Matt Kemp, Miles Mikolas and Mike Foltynewicz are enjoying feel-good comebacks.
Robinson Cano, the MVP of last year’s game, will sit this one out while serving a drug suspension.
Injuries may keep familiar stars such as Clayton Kershaw Ryquell Armstead Jersey , Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager from returning, but in their place should be exciting newcomers like Aaron Nola, Ozzie Albies, Alex Bregman and Eddie Rosario.
The American League has won five times in a row and is 17-3-1 in the last 21 years.
”I want to win. I always want to win. It’s not playing for home-field advantage anymore in the World Series, but all these guys are competitors and they want to win for their respective league,” said National League manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There’s a logjam at shortstop in the AL, and the NL bullpen is loaded.
That sort of thing is where it gets complicated: Each roster has 32 spots, with 12 going to pitchers. Every club must be represented, too.
Online voting for the starters at each position ended at midnight Thursday, and the teams will be revealed Sunday night.
”I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a great experience,” said Houston’s AJ Hinch Gardner Minshew II Jersey , who will manage the AL squad. ”It’s as casual a game as you’ll play with the biggest names on the stage, and all the attention that comes with it. It’s a big deal.”
Disregarding fan and player balloting, here are our picks:
FIRST BASE – Jose Abreu of the White Sox gets the start, barely nudging out Toronto switch-hitter Justin Smoak.
SECOND BASE – AL MVP Jose Altuve from the World Series champion Astros is backed up by 34-year-old Oakland veteran Jed Lowrie, whose first All-Star nod is probably long overdue.
SHORTSTOP – Cleveland whiz Francisco Lindor is in the lineup. Top trade target Manny Machado from lowly Baltimore, and Jean Segura from Seattle are on the bench. Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons of the Angels is really tough to leave out.
THIRD BASE – Jose Ramirez gives the Indians both starters on the left side of the infield. Bregman backs up at the hot corner, from Houston.
CATCHER – Wilson Ramos is a big reason the Rays are holding their own. Perennial pick Salvador Perez represents the struggling Royals despite his subpar season.
OUTFIELD – Angels star Mike Trout plays center, with Boston’s Mookie Betts in left and Yankees masher Aaron Judge in right. Reserves include Rosario from the Twins, Mitch Haniger from the Mariners, and Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers.
DESIGNATED HITTER – J.D. Martinez has been worth every penny during his first season in Boston. Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo and New York hulk Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s NL MVP, both still play the outfield sometimes Christian Wilkins Jersey , which helps. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz is a very difficult omission.
STARTING PITCHERS – Luis Severino is in line to become the first Yankees pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Roger Clemens in 2001. Other right-handers include Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton from Houston, plus Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer from Cleveland. The left-handers are Boston ace Chris Sale and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell. Seattle lefty James Paxton is our top pick to replace Verlander, who doesn’t plan to pitch in the All-Star Game because he’s scheduled to start two days before.
RELIEVERS – Four filthy closers in the bullpen: Yankees lefty Aroldis Chapman, plus right-handers Craig Kimbrel (Boston), Edwin Diaz (Seattle) and Blake Treinen (Oakland).
FIRST BASE – Braves cornerstone Freddie Freeman starts over Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, who overcame a miserable May with a monster June.
SECOND BASE – The unexpected starter at a competitive position is Scooter Gennett from the Reds. Right behind him are flashy Javier Baez from the Cubs and 21-year-old igniter Ozzie Albies from the surprising Braves.
SHORTSTOP – San Francisco pro Brandon Crawford is backed up by Colorado bopper Trevor Story.
THIRD BASE – No FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets placed left guard James Carpenter on the injured reserve list Wednesday with a shoulder injury, ending the season for one of the team’s most reliable players.Carpenter had started in 58 straight games since signing with the Jets as a free agent in 2015 until missing New York’s 27-13 loss to New England last Sunday.“It’s big,” coach Todd Bowles said. “He’s one of our captains, one of the toughest guys we have on the team. It’s tough for him because he doesn’t get injured as much, at least not while he was here. The next guy has got to step up and play.”Center Spencer Long Michael Deiter Jersey , who was struggling with a finger injury that was causing him to misfire on some shotgun snaps, moved from center to left guard last week against the Patriots. Jonotthan Harrison took over in Long’s spot, and it appears that could be the plan moving forward. Bowles mentioned that backups Dakota Dozier and Brent Qvale could also factor into the mix.“We’re rotating the centers and the guards in case something happens,” Bowles said, “but (Long) had the ability to play there last week, so we’ll look at him again this week along with the two other guys.”The 29-year-old Carpenter was a first-round pick by Seattle out of Alabama in 2011. He played his first four seasons with the Seahawks, including winning a Super Bowl in 2014. He signed a four-year, $19.1 million contract with the Jets in March 2015, and is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason.The Jets also announced they promoted offensive lineman Ben Braden from the practice squad. Braden was signed by New York as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan last year, when he spent the entire season on the practice squad. He made the Jets’ initial roster out of training camp this year and was inactive for the season opener, but was later cut and then re-signed to the practice squad.Running back Mark Thompson was signed to the practice squad. He was signed by Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in the spring out of Florida.