I put careful consideration into what will head the blogs for the offseason, and I have decided on making All Star Teams based on different credentials. It was mentioned among the responses, and to me, it would be the most fun to write. I liked all the ideas, but here is my first All Star Team.
Active Player All Star Team
For the first team, we will start with a bang. Here are the top players in the league today, and how they would look on a team together. Their 2012 stats are in parentheses. Note this is not based exclusively on 2012 performance, but rather who is the best player in general. RHR stands for right-handed reliever, as LHR stands for left-handed reliever.
C: Yadier Molina (22 HR, 76 RBI, .315 AVG, 12 SB)
1B: Albert Pujols (30 HR, 105 RBI, .285 AVG, 8 SB)
2B: Robinson Cano (33 HR, 94 RBI, .313 AVG, 3 SB)
SS: Ian Desmond (25 HR, 73 RBI, .292 AVG, 21 SB)
3B: Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 139 RBI, .330 AVG, 4 SB)
LF: Ryan Braun (41 HR, 112 RBI, .319 AVG, 30 SB)
CF: Mike Trout (30 HR, 83 RBI, .326 AVG, 49 SB)
RF: Josh Hamilton (43 HR, 128 RBI, .285 AVG, 7 SB)
SP: Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
SP: Clayton Kershaw (14-9, 2.53 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
SP: Jered Weaver (20-5, 2.81 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
RHR: Craig Kimbrel (3-1, 1.01 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 42 saves)
LHR: Aroldis Chapman (5-5, 1.51 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 38 saves)
Honorable Mentions: Buster Posey (C), Prince Fielder (1B), Andrew McCutchen (CF), David Price (SP), R.A. Dickey (SP)
There is not a bad player on this team, but there were a few tough decisions. One arose with my very first choice, catcher. It came down to Molina and Posey, but despite Posey's edge in offensive production, Molina has been the top defensive catcher of our generation and is a brick wall behind the plate, while possessing a cannon to throw out 45% of base stealers for his career. Another tough decision was first base, as the battle between Pujols and Fielder, the two big free agents from last year, ended with Pujols winning. Even with his rough year, Pujols remains the top first baseman in baseball. Up until last year, which was by no means mediocre, Pujols has been the most feared hitter in baseball, all while being, like Molina, a brick wall at first base. Second base was easy, as Cano took it without competition. Ian Desmond took shortstop, beating out Derek Jeter because of his offensive breakout season. Despite missing much of July and August, Desmond was able to put up the best numbers of any shortstop, and, as a common theme in this team, played excellent defense. Third base was another easy decision, as Cabrera's triple crown all but assured him the recognition. Ryan Braun quietly put up terrific offensive numbers, and even stole 30 bases. Trout burst onto the scene in 2012, as he was dynamite at the top of the Angels lineup and many think he was robbed of a Gold Glove, myself included. Josh Hamilton's monstrous year, highlighted by a four home run game, earns him the honor for right field. He has been the center of a tough Texas lineup for years, and now looks to make well over $100 million on the free agent market.
For the pitchers, Justin Verlander took the top spot as the best starter in baseball. After an incredible 2011, he kept it right up with a great 2012. Clayton Kershaw has also had back to back great years, earning him the number two spot. Jered Weaver, who as well has been unhittable over the past two years, edged such pitchers as Price, Gio Gonzalez, and Dickey for the third spot. Craig Kimbrel edged Fernando Rodney with his remarkable 2012, and Aroldis Chapman knocked out Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty for the left hander's spot.
Former Pirate, Brave, Expo, and Yankee starter Pascual Perez was killed in a robbery at his Dominican Republic home. He was 55, and was 67-68 with a 3.44 ERA over his 12 year career from 1980-1991.
The MLB players voted on the best player from 2012, and Miguel Cabrera was thus named the MLBPA Player of the Year.
The Red Sox hired John Farrell to be their new manager.
The Marlins hired Mike Redmond to be their new manager.
Free Agent Signings
Red Sox resigned David Ortiz (23 HR, 60 RBI, .318 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 37) to a two year, $26 million deal ($13 million per season).
Rays resigned Joel Peralta (2-6, 3.63 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 2 saves, 2013 age: 37) to a two year, $6 million deal ($3 million per season).
Red Sox sent Mike Aviles (13 HR, 60 RBI, .250 AVG, 14 SB, 2013 age: 32) to the Blue Jays as compensation for hiring manager John Farrell. Aviles and Yan Gomes (4 HR, 13 RBI, .204 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 25-26) were then traded to the Indians for Esmil Rogers (3-3, 4.69 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 2013 age: 27).
In my opinion, the Blue Jays over payed for Esmil Rogers. They sent the Indians Mike Aviles, an inconsistent but solid shortstop, and Yan Gomes, the only Brazilian ever to play major league baseball. Aviles, who surprised everyone in the baseball world with a great 2008 season for the Royals, where the 27-year-old rookie hit ten home runs and batted .325 in just 102 games, has somewhat coasted off that season, but he did set career highs last year with 13 home runs, 60 RBI, and 28 doubles. He looks to fill in for an inconsistent Asdrubal Cabrera. Gomes, a Sao Paulo native, was a rookie last year and batted .204 with four home runs. He can play anywhere on the diamond, but is primarily an infielder. He was terrific in the minor leagues last year, hitting 13 home runs and batting .328 in 79 games for the Las Vegas 51's.
In return, all Toronto was given was Esmil Rogers, a high upside pitcher who has not yet come into his own. The 27-year-old was 3-3 with a 4.69 ERA over 67 appearances last year, and was much better in the second half. After posting a 6.00 ERA over his first 34 appearances, he lowered it to 3.40 for his 33 second half appearances. That could be a sign that the best is yet to come for who I think will be a late bloomer. The Blue Jays could win big with this deal, but for now, it looks like the Indians won the trade.
Yankees claimed Eli Whiteside (0 HR, 2 RBI, .091 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 33) off waivers from the Giants.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage