By Thomas Albano
You have mere hours left to get your final votes in for this year’s MLB All-Star Game starting lineups. No home-field advantage in the World Series on the line anymore, keep in mind.
I always do like to give a few votes for all my Yankees and Nationals who are up for nomination, I won’t lie. But, trying to do this from a neutral, journalistic standpoint, and trying to make the best lineup possible, here are the starting lineups I have come up with.
1B – Eric Hosmer (KC) – I was split between him, Jose Abreu and Justin Smoak. Bringing it down to Hosmer and Abreu, while I like how Abreu’s power has helped him contribute more, Hosmer is just a more pure hitter, and more popular for that matter.
2B – Jose Altuve (HOU) – I was a bit torn between him and Starlin Castro. However, with Castro now on the DL, this spot appears to be Altuve’s for the taking, in my opinion.
SS – Xander Bogaerts (BOS) – I was split between Bogaerts, Didi Gregorious, and Jean Segura. However, let’s face it, it’s Bogaerts, who has proven to be one of the best hitters and defensive shortstops this year.
3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE) – No contest.
C – Gary Sanchez (NYY) – No contest.
DH – Nelson Cruz (SEA) – I would say maybe Matt Holliday had a chance, but now Holliday is a member of the Yankees’ squad that is currently beaten down with injuries.
OF – Aaron Judge (NYY), Mookie Betts (BOS), and J.D. Martinez (DET) – No contest.
1B – Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – Arizona is having one heck of a hot year, and Goldschmidt is making his case for NL MVP once again. But, so too is Ryan Zimmerman of Washington. Goldschmidt has my vote here, but you can expect Zimmerman (or Goldschmidt if he loses out here) to be the first NL reserve player named.
2B – Daniel Murphy (WAS) – No contest.
SS – Zack Cozart (CIN) – This one’s tricky. Cozart, Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks, and Corey Seager of the LA Dodgers have all staked some claim for this spot. Owings is having himself a good year (again, as all the Diamondbacks are), and Corey Seager is still one of the best youth in baseball. But, Cozart is a bit underrated here. Cozart is hitting .320 with 33 RBIs and a .966 OPS, and I think he’s earned some right in claiming the position, even if he’s on a sucky team like the Reds. Speaking of which, there must be at least one player per franchsie, so I assume Cozart or Joey Votto are getting it for the Reds.
3B – Nolan Arenado (COL) – This one’s the closest race supposedly, with Arenado and Kris Bryant of the Cubs going neck-to-neck. But to me, I think it’s pretty clear Arenado is having the much better season. Plus, now that Bryant has this ankle injury scare, it isn’t looking good for the Cubbie.
OF – Charlie Blackmon (COL), Bryce Harper (WAS), and Marcell Ozuna (MIA) – Blackmon and Harper are no contest. The only outfielder I would consider is David Peralta of the Diamondbacks, but Ozuna plays more days I think. Also, it’s Miami, so hometown pop. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking “What about Giancarlo Stanton?” Well, if you compare the two, Ozuna has produced similar numbers to Stanton while having a higher batting average. Truth be told, I think Ozuna has had such a big year, that maybe this time around, he deserves the starting slot a little bit more.
Some time after starting lineups are announced, I’ll get back with who I think should be each league’s starting pitcher and reserves!