American League All-Star candidates

USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Justin Masterson are each candidates for the American League All-Star team, which will be named on Saturday.


Voting for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game has ended and the results will be announced Saturday, with the rest of the rosters announced shortly after. If you've been following the voting updates that have been released each week for the last month or so, you already know there won't be any Indians named to the American' League's starting lineup (you probably know that even if you haven't paid any attention to the voting so far). In the most recent results, Carlos Santana (4th place among catchers) is the only Indian anywhere in the top five. Every team is guaranteed to have at least one All-Star though, and the Tribe stands a pretty good chance of having two, maybe even three.

The last time the Indians had three All-Stars was 2007, when Victor Martinez, CC Sabathia, and Grady Sizemore were all named to the team. In 2008 Sizemore and Cliff Lee represented Cleveland, in 2009 Martinez was the lone representative, in 2010 Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez was the only one, and in 2012 and 2012 Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez both made the team.

Here's a look at each position and which American League players are likely and/or deserve to make the team:

C


Joe Mauer will be named the starter, which he deserves because he is far and away the best backstop in the AL this season and over the course of recent years. Carlos Santana, Salvador Perez, and Jason Castro are the strongest candidates to be named as backups, likely with two of those three receiving the honor. Santana is the best hitter of those three, but the worst defensive player. I'd rank Castro 4th, but the Astros are going to have someone on the team, so he may get the nod over a somewhat more deserving catcher.

1B


Chris Davis will be named the starter, which he deserves for the monstrous first half he's had, leading MLB in home runs with strong numbers across the board. Edwin Encarnacion and James Loney (!) are having the next best seasons so far, while Prince Fielder has been the best among other candidates if you prefer to include production in recent seasons.

2B


Robinson Cano will be named the starter. I think he's the best 2B in baseball if you're looking at recent years, but if you're just going by 2013 production, I think he ranks 3rd. Dustin Pedroia and Jason Kipnis are both having really good seasons, each of them deserves a spot on the team. Kipnis has been the best hitter at the position, while Pedroia has done well in all facets. Omar Infante, Howie Kendrick, and Ian Kinsler are all having fine years too, but are far back of those top three.

3B


Miguel Cabrera will be named the starter, and deservedly so. He's been the best player in baseball, I think, on a better pace than in 2012, when he won the Triple Crown and AL MVP. Evan Longoria, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson have also been great, though one of them will likely be left on the outside (or at least have to wait til injury replacements are made later next week).

SS


J.J. Hardy will be named the starter. He's probably been the second-best man at the position in 2013, but has as good (or better) a case as anyone as the AL's best shortstop in recent years (strange as that may seem). Jhonny Peralta has been the best at the position this year, with Jed Lowrie and Yunel Escobar as probably the next best candidates, should a third shortstop be named to the team. (Remember the days of Rodriguez, Jeter, Garciaparra, and Tejada? Shortstop in the American League sure has changed!)

OF


Mike Trout and Adam Jones will be named starters, with the third spot up still up for grabs between Jose Bautista, Nick Markakis, and Torii Hunter. Trout absolutely deserves it, as does Bautista. Jones isn't a great choice, while either Markakis or Hunter would be a flat out poor selection. Along with Trout and Bautista, it's Jacoby Ellsbury who deserves to start. There are many other decent candidates as backups (none of them Indians, with Alex Gordon and Brett Gardner as the most deserving.

DH


David Ortiz will be named the starter, deservedly so. No one else who spends most of their time at DH deserves to go, nor are any such players likely to make the team.

SP


Max Scherzer probably has the inside track to start the game, between his gaudy 13-0 record and his own manager (Jim Leyland) getting to decide who gets that spot. He'd be a fine choice, though there's are cases to be made for Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale, and (if you don't care that he hasn't pitched in four weeks) Clay Buchholz as well. All of those guys should make the team, leaving 3 or 4 spots (plus another couple as injury replacements) for some combination of the following guys: Bartolo Colon, Derek Holland, Hisashi Iwakuma, Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Masterson, Bud Norris, Anibal Sanchez, James Shields, and Justin Verlander.

RP


Jesse Crain has been the league's best relief pitcher, probably good enough to be the rare middle reliever who makes the team. Beyond him, no one but closers will have much of a chance. Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera have probably been the best, with Grant Balfour, Greg Holland, and Glen Perkins also in the mix.

Which Indians make it?

I think Jason Kipnis will be named to the team. His winning the American League Player of the Month award for June shows that people have been paying attention and draws more eyeballs to his numbers this season too. If I were betting, I'd say Santana makes the team, because his offense is better than the other backup candidates' at catcher, and I think that's what carries more weight. He could be squeezed out if Perez and Castro are named as their teams' sole representative though. I don't think Masterson will get the nod on Saturday, but if enough pitchers withdraw he to injuries or having pitched on the last day before the break, he could make it as a replacement.

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