Omar Infante should not start the 2015 All-Star Game. Say it with me, Royals second baseman Omar Infante (.233/.239/.309) should not be anywhere near the All-Star Game. As the All-Star Game means something in Major League Baseball, the best players should play. Omar Infante is nowhere near the best second baseman in the American League. Yet, as of the last voting update, he was slated to start as second for the AL.
Tonight the MLB All-Star starters will be announced, as voted on by the fans. There’s a good chance Infante will be the starter at second base, as he led Astros 2B Jose Altuve by about 300,000 votes last update. To say the least, I will disagree with at least one, if not more of the All-Star starters. So here are my picks to start the 2015 All-Star Game for the American and National League.
- AL: Stephen Vogt, Athletics. Just 0.1 fWAR behind Blue Jays’ catcher Russell Martin, Vogt leads all qualified American League catchers in AVG, OBP, SLG and wOBA. For the season Vogt is hitting .294/.385/.510 with a .380 wOBA. Vogt is also walking 13.2 percent of his plate appearances, best among all qualified catchers.
- NL: Buster Posey, Giants. Posey is the class of the catcher position in the NL. Posey leads all catchers with a 3.2 fWAR, 1.2 better than the Pirates’ Francisco Cervelli. For the season Posey is hitting .304/.375/.502 with a .377 wOBA. He’s also been great behind the plate with 6 defensive runs saved.
- AL: Albert Pujols, Angels. With Miguel Cabrera sidelined with a calf-strain, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols should start at first for the AL. Pujols is hitting .263/.336/.549 with a .375 wOBA and his 2.3 fWAR is second among AL first baseman to only Cabrera. Pujols is having a resurgent year at the plate, leading all AL first basemen in home runs and deserves an All-Star start.
- NL: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks. While there are a lot of worthy candidates to start at 1B for the NL, Anthony Rizzo, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto, to name a few, Goldschmidt leads them all by over 1.3 fWAR. Goldschmidt is absolutely crushing it this year, hitting .349/.466/.632 with a .453 wOBA leading NL first basemen in all of the aforementioned categories: AVG, OBP, SLG and wOBA.
- AL: Jason Kipnis, Indians. Biases aside, Jason Kipnis absolutely deserves to start the All-Star game. Besides for leading the entire American League in fWAR (4.8), Kipnis is having an incredible bounce back season hitting .342/.421/.506 with a .399 wOBA. He leads all AL second basemen in AVG, OBP and wOBA and is second to Brian Dozier in SLG.
- NL: Joe Panik, Giants. While tied with Marlins 2B Dee Gordon in fWAR with 3.0, Panik leads Gordon in OBP, SLG and wOBA. For the season Panik is hitting .308/.374/.450 with a .342 wOBA. He also isn’t getting as lucky as Gordon, with a BABIP more than 65 points lower than the Marlins’ second baseman.
- AL: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays. Donaldson has been outstanding after being traded from Oakland in the offseason. The Blue Jays third baseman has a 4.3 fWAR, tops among AL third basemen and among the best in the AL. Donaldson is hitting .295/.352/.529 with a .379 wOBA and gets the nod over Orioles 3B Manny Machado due to his superior hitting, 21.0 Off Rtg, compared to Machado’s 16.5.
- NL: Todd Frazier, Reds. Frazier has tough competition at third in the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, but with a higher fWAR and wOBA, Frazier gets the nod. The Reds’ second baseman is hitting .289/.348/.610 with a .407 wOBA, leading all players not named Giancarlo Stanton in home runs.
- AL: Jose Iglesias, Tigers. In a relatively weak AL SS class, Iglesias gets the nod over Xander Bogaerts. While Bogaerts leads Iglesias in fWAR, the Tigers SS has been better in the field, 6.8 UZR compared to 3.6 UZR, and has a higher wOBA and AVG. Iglesias is hitting .320/.372/.382 with a .333 wOBA on the season.
- NL: Brandon Crawford, Giants. Crawford leads all NL shortstops in fWAR and is hitting fairly well at the plate as well – .265/.340/.466 with a .347 wOBA. He gets the nod over the Cardinals Jhonny Peralta.
- AL: Mike Trout, Angels, Lorenzo Cain, Royals, Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. Trout has been sensational as always, second to only Kipnis in fWAR in the AL and hitting .300/.393/.579 with a .408 wOBA this year. Cain is one of the few Royals who would actually deserve a spot, hitting .309/.365/.467 with a .360 wOBA and second to Trout with a 3.6 fWAR. And Bautista is fourth among AL outfielders in WAR, but it’s his power and hitting, he’s hitting .245/.394/.510 with a .388 wOBA and his high walk-rate, 19.4 BB% that catapult him over the Rays Kevin Kiermaier into a starting outfield spot for the AL.
- NL: Bryce Harper, Nationals, Joc Pederson, Dodgers, Andrew McCutchen, Pirates. Harper leads the MLB in fWAR and has been an absolute beast this season, hitting .344/.470/.719 with a .493 wOBA all among the best in the MLB. Pederson’s been outstanding in his rookie season, even with his low average, hitting .236/.375/.509 with a .381 wOBA and 3.8 fWAR. And while McCutchen has had some struggles this year, he’s reverted to his usual self, hitting .297/.390/.491 with a .379 wOBA and a wRC+ behind only Harper, Pederson and the injured Giancarlo Stanton.
- AL: Chris Sale, White Sox. Dallas Keuchel, Chris Archer and Sonny Gray have all been fantastic but I have to give the AL All-Star starting pitcher nod to Sale. Sale’s 2.09 FIP and 3.7 fWAR lead all American League starters and his strikeout numbers are just historic.
- NL: Max Scherzer, Nationals. Two almost no-hitters, three straight complete games…Scherzer easily gets the nod. He leads all NL pitchers in fWAR, while his 1.82 ERA is second only to Zack Greinke and his 1.94 FIP leads the NL.