Happened to come across ESPN.com's All-Star teams. Needless to say, they're are some significant problems with them, and hey, who doesn't love a bit of ESPN bashing every now and again? I've always enjoyed discussions on who the "real" (that is, deserving) All-Stars should be, so, without ado, here are your real 2009 American League All-Stars. (Bolded first name is starter, following are reserves.)
Feel free to disagree, vehemently!
And it's not even really worth discussion. (ESPN: Mauer).
Not an easy decision, as there are at least five first basemen in the AL worthy of a roster spot. Youkilis is the clear leader here, though, with the highest OPS and wOBA marks, as well as a strong UZR rating of 10.7 this year (career 5.8 at 1B.)
Branyan seems like a sentimental pick, but in reality I didn't have to stretch to include him. He has the second highest OPS and wOBA of all AL 1B, and his play at 1B has actually been right around league average this year (-0.6 UZR/150).
Why Teixeira and Morneau (ESPN's starting pick; they used the fact that he's leading the AL in RBI to make their case) over Fat Cabrera? Both Teixeira and Morneau have better numbers at the plate, and both are better 1B than Cabrera (regardless of his 6.0 UZR/150 rating this year).
The starter is an obvious choice (of course, he had less votes from ESPN than Dustin Pedrioa and his .095 ISO and .758 OPS), as Zobrist is leading the entire American League in OPS and wOBA. It's hard to get a proper reading on his defense since he plays so many positions ... but come on, he's leading the AL in OPS! (And ESPN gave him only a single vote.) (ESPN: Hill)
Longoria is obvious, and he's probably going to be an All-Star for as long as he plays. Inge gets the pick over Scott Rolen because of better power numbers (.245 ISO to Rolen's .161). (ESPN: Longoria)
Listen, this is just stupid. Derek Jeter is only an All-Star reserve at this point because the AL crop is seriously weak. Bartlett is a much, much better defender, has more XBH (in twelve less games than Jeter), a higher ISO, OPS, and wOBA, and is hitting .367. (ESPN: Jeter, and no, he's not "Still the man", as ESPN says.)
Crawford starts because of his good defense and speed score. Trust me, I tried to leave Ichiro off the team, but I can't exactly ignore his .368 average (even if his walk rate is terrible and .125 ISO is bad for a corner outfielder ...)
Note: Johnny Damon can never be an All-Star with that arm. Never. (ESPN: Hunter, Bay, Ichiro—Lind, Jones, and Cruz didn't get a single vote combined.)
Edwin Jackson, you've been too lucky to make this list. (ESPN: Greinke)
It felt good leaving Papelbon off this list (and its because he doesn't deserve it).
Teams with the most number of All-Stars:
Bos: 4 (Youkilis, Bay, Lester, Beckett); SEA: 4 (Branyan, Ichiro, Hernandez, Aardsma); TOR: 4 (Hill, Lind, Halladay, Downs); TB: 4 (Zobrist, Longoria, Bartlett, Crawford); NYY: 3 (Teixeira, Jeter, Rivera); MIN: 3 (Mauer, Morneau, Nathan); CLE: 2 (Martinez, Lee); TEX: 2 (Kinsler, Cruz); DET: 2 (Inge, Verlander); BAL: 1 (Jones); CHW: 1 (Jenks); KC: 1 (Greinke); LAA: 1 (Hunter); OAK: 1 (Bailey).
Next Up: Your 2009 National League All-Stars.