Rook­ies mak­ing noise, grab­bing All-Star no­tice

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL -

NEW YORK — Time to pick play­ers for the All-Star Game and make those close calls.

New York Yan­kees rookie Aaron Judge and Wash­ing­ton slug­ger Bryce Harper are among the big names who have un­doubt­edly se­cured their spots in Mi­ami on July 11. But there’s a log­jam at the cor­ners in the Na­tional League, and both ros­ters are smaller now that the Mid­sum­mer Clas­sic no longer de­ter­mines where the World Se­ries be­gins.

On­line vot­ing for the starters ended at 11 p.m. Cen­tral on Thurs­day, so let’s take a swing at sort­ing it all out ig­nor- ing fan and player bal­lot­ing. Sim­ply our choices.

Both teams get 32 play­ers, in­clud­ing 12 pitch­ers. That’s down from 34 last year, with at least 13 pitch­ers. But all 30 clubs still must be rep­re­sented, and that’s where it re­ally gets tricky.

For the pur­pose of th­ese se­lec­tions, we elim­i­nated play­ers ex­pected to re­main on the dis­abled list through Sun­day night, when the ros­ters will be re­vealed. That means stars like Mike Trout and Dal­las Keuchel (Ar­kan­sas Ra­zor­backs), who were hav­ing All-Star sea­sons be­fore they got in­jured, were left out be­cause it’s un­clear if they’ll be healthy enough to par­tic­i­pate at Mar­lins Park.

Here we go:


FIRST BASE The stun­ning starter is Toronto switch-hit­ter Justin Smoak, fol­lowed closely by an­other un­ex­pected new­comer: Tampa Bay’s Lo­gan Mor­ri­son. Yon­der Alonso rep­re­sents last-place Oakland.

SEC­OND BASE Lit­tle big man Jose Al­tuve is a huge rea­son Hous­ton has been the best team in base­ball most of the year. His back­ups are Bal­ti­more’s Jonathan Schoop and Seat­tle star Robin­son Cano.

SHORT­STOP Car­los Cor­rea makes it an all Astros dou­ble-play com­bi­na­tion. Smooth-field­ing An­drel­ton Sim­mons of the An­gels is on the bench.

THIRD BASE More surprises here, with Cleve­land up-and-comer Jose Ramirez get­ting the start over Min­nesota bop­per Miguel Sano.

CATCHER Steady back­stop Sal­vador Perez of the Roy­als re­ceives his fifth con­sec­u­tive nod. Young slug­ger Gary Sanchez from the Yan­kees gets his first.

OUT­FIELD Lead­ing off, in­stant power from Ge­orge Springer of the Astros. He starts in cen­ter field, with the tow­er­ing Judge in right and Chicago first-timer Avi­sail Gar­cia shift­ing to left. The re­serves are Bos­ton’s Mookie Betts, Detroit’s Justin Up­ton and Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain.

DES­IG­NATED HIT­TER Corey Dick­er­son of the Rays hits his way to a sur­pris­ing spot in the lineup. Mariners thumper Nel­son Cruz also gets a call.

START­ING PITCH­ERS Chris Sale claims start­ing hon­ors in his de­but sea­son with the Red Sox. The other lefty is Ja­son Var­gas, en­joy­ing quite a come­back with the Roy­als. Deal­ing from the right side are Hous­ton first-timer Lance McCullers Jr., Min­nesota vet­eran Ervin Santana, Texas ace Yu Darvish, reign­ing Rookie of the Year Michael Ful­mer from Detroit, and Cleve­land team­mates Corey Klu­ber and Car­los Car­rasco. Toronto right-han­der Mar­cus Stro­man was a tough omis­sion.

RELIEV­ERS Bos­ton flame-thrower Craig Kim­brel an­chors a bullpen that also fea­tures In­di­ans lefty An­drew Miller, Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna and Hous­ton setup man Chris Deven­ski.


FIRST BASE So many slug­gers to choose from. In the end, Ari­zona’s Paul Gold­schmidt gets the start­ing nod over Cincin­nati’s Joey Votto, Chicago’s An­thony Rizzo and resur­gent Ryan Zim­mer­man from Wash­ing­ton. Seems un­fair to have to deny Rock­ies sav­ior Mark Reynolds, putting up mag­nif­i­cent num­bers and never an All-Star in 10 pre­vi­ous big league sea­sons.

SEC­OND BASE Daniel Mur­phy is one of six Na­tion­als se­lected, most of any team. Pi­rates dy­namo Josh Har­ri­son is the backup.

SHORT­STOP The starter is 2016 Rookie of the Year Corey Sea­ger from the Dodgers. He edges out Reds first-timer Zack Cozart.

THIRD BASE An­other power-packed po­si­tion over­loaded with de­serv­ing can­di­dates. Colorado’s Nolan Are­nado wins the start, barely beat­ing out Wash­ing­ton’s An­thony Ren­don and reign­ing MVP Kris Bryant from the Cubs. Some­how, there’s no room for un­der­rated Jake Lamb of the Di­a­mond­backs or Mil­wau­kee new­comer Travis Shaw.

CATCHER Gi­ants star Buster Posey is a no-brainer. Car­di­nals pro­fes­sor Yadier Molina snags sec­ond string, a ca­reer achieve­ment award at a thin po­si­tion.

OUT­FIELD Bearded won­der Char­lie Black­mon of the Rock­ies plays cen­ter field, flanked by Harper in right and Mar­cell Ozuna from the home­town Mar­lins in left. Mi­ami bop­per Gian­carlo Stan­ton can start at DH in his home ball­park, with New York’s Jay Bruce, At­lanta’s En­der In­cia­rte and Los An­ge­les rookie Cody Bellinger on the bench. Bellinger is play­ing first base th­ese days due to Adrian Gon­za­lez’s in­jury, but he spent plenty of time in left field this sea­son.

START­ING PITCH­ERS Na­tion­als ace Max Scherzer, last year’s NL Cy Young Award win­ner, gets the ball to start. He’s joined by team­mate Gio Gon­za­lez and two other left­ies: Clay­ton Ker­shaw (Dodgers) and Rob­bie Ray (Di­a­mond­backs). The right-han­ders be­sides Scherzer are St. Louis’ Car­los Martinez, Pitts­burgh’s Ivan Nova and Ari­zona’s Zack Greinke. Wash­ing­ton’s Stephen Stras­burg has the star power and the strike­outs, but not the ERA.

RELIEV­ERS Dodgers closer Ken­ley Jansen head­lines a group that in­cludes Colorado new­comer Greg Hol­land, Mil­wau­kee strike­out artist Corey Knebel, Padres lefty Brad Hand and Phillies sidearmer Pat Neshek.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.