Sunday, July 6, 2014

All Star Game Preview


National League

Starters: Yadier Molina, Paul Goldschmidt, Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig

Reserves: Jonathon Lucroy, Devin Mesoraco, Freddie Freeman, Daniel Murphy, Dee Gordon, Starlin Castro, Matt Carpenter, Todd Frazier, Charlie Blackmon, Josh Harrison, Hunter Pence, Giancarlo Stanton

Pitchers: Julio Teheran, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Tyson Ross, Madison Bumgarner, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Francisco Rodriguez, Tony Watson, Pat Neshek

Selected, but Ineligible: Jeff Samardzija

34th Man: Justin Morneau, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Rendon, Casey McGehee, Justin Upton

American League

Starters: Salvador Perez, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz

Reserves: Kurt Suzuki, Derek Norris, Jose Abreu, Brandon Moss, Jose Altuve, Alexei Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, Yeonis Cespedes, Michael Brantley, Alex Gordon, Edwin Encarnacion, Victor Martinez

Pitchers: Jon Lester, Dellin Betances, Masahiro Tanaka, David Price, Mark Buehrle, Max Scherzer, Scott Kazmir, Sean Doolittle, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Glen Perkins, Greg Holland

Selected, but Injured: Matt Wieters

34th Man: Dallas Kuechel, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Rick Porcello, Garret Richards

Major League Baseball announced the rosters for the July 15th All Star Game in Minneapolis. 26 players were named to their first All Star games. Derek Jeter was named to his 14th All Star appearance as the AL's starting shortstop in his final season. He will be joined by former teammate Robinson Cano as his double play partner. Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout have battled for MVP the last couple of seasons, and will both be starters. Josh Donaldson was voted in to start third base, and the Athletics sent a league high 6 players to the team(7 if you include Jeff Samardzija). Salvador Perez was elected by the players and will start in place of injured fan selected Matt Wieters. Jose Bautista was named the AL's home run derby captain and will start right field. Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz of the Orioles round out the AL's starters.

In the National League, Yadier Molina was selected to his sixth All Star appearance. This will be Yadi's fifth time as the NL's starting catcher. The central division leading Brewers will send Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez as starters. Cuban superstar Yasiel Puig makes his first appearance in the midsummer classic. Andrew McCutchen rounds out the outfield starters. Troy Tulowitzki idolized Jeter as a kid, and will be the NL's starter this year. Tulo is having a MVP type season on a mediocre Rockies club. Paul Goldschmidt and Chase Utley will be the starters on the right side of the infield.

As most years, there were a few snubs on the All Star teams. One of the most surprising is that AL manager John Farrell left off his own closer, Koji Uehara. Uehara was a huge part in their championship season last year and is having a dominant year this season. Josh Harrison was a strange selection for the NL, since he has been a utilityman for the Pirates this year. Harrison was a manager's pick by Mike Matheny. His versatility may be useful, but there are many other players much more worthy. Justin Upton, Adam LaRoche, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Rendon, Michael Morse, Justin Morneau, Marcell Ozuna, and Matheny's own Matt Adams would of been better picks than Harrison. Morneau still may find his way on the roster somehow, especially since the game is at his former team's park.

There still will be a few replacements to be named to the roster. Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays left Sunday's game with a quad injury. That might open up a spot for someone like Ian Kinsler, Brian Dozier, Kyle Seager, Lonnie Chisenhall, or Albert Pujols. After the 2002 tie game, baseball has put a rule in place prohibiting pitchers who start on the Sunday game prior to the Tuesday All Star Game. This could effect Masahiro Tanaka, Julio Teheran, Madison Bumgarner, and Johnny Cueto, who are all scheduled to start next Sunday. Matheny will have plenty of other deserving candidates to pick from, including Kyle Lohse, Henderson Alvarez, Tim Hudson, and Josh Beckett. Yu Darvish had indicated last week that he prefers to 'go sightseeing' during the All Star break and may be replaced on the roster.

Matheny will still have plenty of good options for his starting pitcher. Most likely he will pick his own starter in Adam Wainwright. If he don't, Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke would be good options. Matheny will also have a good bullpen led by Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. With Tanaka potentially unavailable, Farrell 's most likely choice will be Felix Hernandez.

Some notable first time All Stars are Jose Abreu, Puig, and Cespedes. All three of these players defected from Cuba in recent years. Japanese sensation Tanaka also made the team in his first season in the U.S. The Athletics finally have received some respect at the All Star game, with there most selections since 1976. Cespedes, Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, and Sean Doolittle will all be making their first appearance after playing a big role in their consecutive western division crowns. Dee Gordon of the Dodgers almost didn't make the team this year, but has had a good year as the team's second baseman. Gordon leads the NL with 42 steals. Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek will be making his first All Star appearance in Target Field, a city where he began his career in 2006.

For the Home Run Derby, Bautista and Tulowitzki will be the captains choosing the hitters. Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Cespedes, Puig, Abreu are players who will likely be asked to participate. Someone like Morneau could be invited, considering his Minnesota roots. Should be an exciting home run derby and All Star game this year.

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