As the MLB calendar rolls through June into the start of the summer, All-Star predictions will dominate the national baseball conversation.
After 42 years, the All-Star game will return to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and fans can expect a star-studded event under the sunny California sky.
The MLB season is two months young, but the Mid-Summer Classic will be here before you know it.
The American League has seen its fair share of offense this season, and pitchers young and old have put on dazzling performances. Aaron Judge has been the most dominant player for the winningest team in baseball, the New York Yankees. J.D. Martinez had an 18-game hit streak earlier this season, and is batting .359. Shane McClanahan, the imposing Tampa Bay left-hander, leads the MLB in strikeouts.
Let’s take a look at the most deserving players for the American League All-Star team.
AL Starting Lineup
- Xander Bogaerts, BOS SS
- Aaron Judge, NYY RF
- Jose Ramirez. CLE 3B
- Yordan Alvarez, HOU DH
- Mike Trout, LAA CF
- Ty France, SEA 1B
- Jose Altuve, HOU 2B
- Alejandro Kirk, TOR C
- Andrew Benintendi, KC LF
Pitcher: Nestor Cortes, NYY RH
Reserves: SS Tim Anderson, OF George Springer, 3B Rafael Devers, DH J.D. Martinez, OF Giancarlo Stanton, 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2B Santiago Espinal, C Salvador Perez, OF Kyle Tucker, 1B Trey Mancini, 2B Luis Arraez
Power Heavy at the Top
The AL is full of bruisers and mashers. What more needs to be said about Judge’s monstrous campaign? He is the most feared entity in all of baseball, has stayed healthy, and is on pace to hit 60+ home runs.
Ramirez might be the game’s deadliest hitter. He is on pace to break Manny Ramirez’s franchise RBI record and sports the third-best OPS in the AL. The Guardians cerebral third baseman has shown no signs of slowing down, and should challenge Judge for the AL MVP.
Houston does not have a problem, opposing pitchers do. Alvarez’s massive production should not be overshadowed. He deserves to start the All-Star game over J.D. Martinez and Shohei Ohtani, who will garner a plethora of fan votes. The Astros big-time power threat has cut down on strikeouts this year, and the team recognized his generational talent by signing him to a six-year, $115 million extension.
First-Timers and Mainstays
Bogaerts is a ballplayer, plain and simple. He has the second-highest OPS among AL shortstops and the highest wRC in the AL. Red Sox fans will be sad to see him go if the team fails to re-sign one of its franchise cornerstones.
Benintendi is quietly doing work down in Kansas City. The Royals left fielder is getting on-base at a huge clip, is a defensive wizard, and will be one of the most sought-out players at the trade deadline. He deserves his first All-Star appearance this year.
Whether you like him or you hate him, Altuve just continues to play well. He has the lowest strikeout rate among AL second basemen and contributes the most runs to the Astros, compared to the average player (wRAA).
Although Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will receive a ton of fan votes, Mariners’ first baseman Ty France is building upon his solid 2021 campaign. He has the most hits (71) and highest batting average (.324) among AL first basemen. Vladdy G should make the team as a back-up – he has launched 13 homers and the Blue Jays are starting to play better baseball.
Starter: Nestor Cortes Jr., NYY LH
Yankee sensation and fan-favorite Cortes will add another storybook moment to his 2022 season when he takes the mound at Dodger Stadium. He boasts a league-leading 1.50 ERA, and his craftiness on the bump has been exceptionally fun to watch.
Gerrit Cole, NYY RH
After getting off to a shaky start for his Cy Young standards, the Yankee ace has recaptured his form. He has the second most strikeouts in the AL (81) and is trending upward.
Alex Manoah, TOR RH
Manoah is one of the most physically-imposing dealers in the league. The Jays win when he pitches and he has been imperial in his young career. I am very high on Manoah.
Justin Verlander, HOU RH
What Verlander has done so far this season, coming off Tommy John Surgery, has been nothing short of spectacular. He leads the AL in innings pitched.
Kevin Gausman, TOR RH
Gausman had his shortest start of the season this week, but it was one blip in an otherwise spectacular season. His 2.8 WAR is off the charts and has the best K/BB ratio in the AL.
Other starters/relievers: LH Shane McClanahan, RH Tarik Skubal, LH Martin Perez, RH Clay Holmes, RH Liam Hendriks, RH Jordan Romano