Your All Star Starters As of May 31st

So who’s winning and should they be?

American League

Catcher – Russell Martin (1.8 fWAR) is a deserving start at catcher, but Alex Avila (1.6 fWAR) isn’t far behind. Best pick: Martin.

First Base – Mark Teixeira (1.8 fWAR) leads the voting, and while Adrian Gonzalez (2.0) and Miguel Cabrera could be better picks, it’s a pretty even race. Best pick: Gonzalez but only slightly.

Second Base – Robinson Cano (1.4 fWAR) is definitely the popular choice, but Howie Kendrick has been so awesome this season (2.9 fWAR), hitting .322/.388/.520 with great defense. Best pick: Kendrick.

Third Base – Alex Rodriguez (2.1 fWAR) went off to start the year, cooled, and then got back on track. Evan Longoria, however, is almost as good (1.8 fWAR) in 20 fewer games due to their difference in defensive value. Best pick: Longoria.

Shortstop – Derek Jeter (0.5 fWAR) has been the center of much scrutiny, but Yankees fans obviously still love him. Alexei Ramirez (.290/.351/.452, 2.6 fWAR) and Jhonny Peralta (.310/.370/.536, 2.2 fWAR), however, have been better with good defense and better walk rates. Best pick: Ramirez.

Outfielders – Jose Bautista (4.9 fWAR), Curtis Granderson (3.0 fWAR), and Josh Hamilton (0.7) are the people’s choices, and while Bautista is just amazing and Granderson has had his break-out, the people really need to learn the name “Matt Joyce” (.370/.430/.636, 3.1 fWAR). No one else is particularly close (I’m not sure Denard Span is really a +10 defender already). Best picks: Bautista, Granderson, and Joyce.

Designated Hitter – Michael Young (1.5 fWAR) and David Ortiz (1.5 fWAR) are having similarly excellent seasons, and either would be a good pick. It’s too bad Travis Hafner (.345/.409/.549) hasn’t played in more games (32). Best pick: Young is fine.

Starting Pitcher – Jered Weaver and Dan Haren are an awesome duo at the top of the Angels’ rotation. Best pick: Haren seems a teeny bit more legit than Weaver with a 5.2% HR/FB rate instead of 3.8 (league average is around 10%), but I wouldn’t argue either way.

Overall – You’ll probably see a lot of outcry about Jeter getting the spot, and while he’s no longer the best SS in the league, I don’t see a major problem with an icon getting a start as long as Ramirez gets in fairly early. The only other major misses are Kendrick and Joyce, but considering their lack of fame, it’s understandable that they trail at this point.

National League

Catcher – Buster Posey (1.7 fWAR) isn’t a bad choice, but Chris Ianetta is being ignored because his batting average (.235) isn’t very good. The OBP (.379) and SLG (.456) make him the best catcher so far (1.9 fWAR). Best pick: Ianetta, though Miguel Montero and Brian McCann are hot on his heels.

First Base – Albert Pujols (1.1 fWAR) is off to a gruesome start, for him, but I’m okay with fans giving the best player of the last decade a break. Joey Votto, however, is off to another great start (.330/.464/.513, 2.8 fWAR) and should get the nod as he defends his crown. Best pick: Votto.

Second Baseman – Brandon Phillips (.295/.355/.415, 1.8 fWAR) is off to a good start, but he’s no Rickie Weeks (.288/.363/.489, 2.4 fWAR). Best pick: Weeks.

Third Baseman – Placido Polanco (2.0 fWAR) is the best third baseman so far, but if Ryan Roberts (.274/.385/.466) continues to hit, he should be the pick. I’m just not sure he will. Best pick – Polanco for now.

Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki (.250/.325/.480, 1.9 fWAR) really isn’t off to a great start, but Jose Reyes (.335/.382/.493. 2.9 fWAR) is. Best pick: Reyes.

Outfield – Ryan Braun (2.7 fWAR), Matt Holliday (2.4 fWAR), and Lance Berkman (2.3 fWAR) are all fine choices in a crowded outfield situation. It’s scary that the Cardinals also have another solid option in Colby Rasmus (2.4 fWAR), but Drew Stubbs, Matt Kemp, Hunter Pence, and Jay Bruce would also be good choices. Best picks: Braun, Holliday, Berkman, but things can happen soon to change this.

Starting Pitcher – Roy Halladay. Best pick: Roy Halladay.

Overall: Tulo and Pujols aren’t off to great starts, but when you think of All-Stars, they are your guys. It builds up to the “best player”, “most popular player”, and “best first half” debates that have no answer. But the NL looks solid so far.