This Should Be Your 2022 American League All-Star Ballot
MLB All-Star voting has been underway for over a week. The Midsummer Classic is the best talent showcase in professional sports. While the Pro Bowl and NBA All-Star game are glorified scrimmages, MLB players seem to try (at least a little bit) in this contest. Voting closes June 30th, so there is still time for some players to make a push, but let’s look at who currently deserves your support at each position.
American League All-Stars
First Base: Ty France (Seattle Mariners)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Anthony Rizzo are having strong seasons for contending clubs, but France has outperformed both. While his power numbers aren’t quite as good as the other two, he boasts a superior OPS at .880. He also has far less protection, batting in a much weaker Mariners lineup. Seattle sits 26th in runs-per-game, compared to New York at third and Toronto at 11th. This also makes his RBI total at 41, two more than Guerrero and two less than Rizzo, even more impressive. We called his breakout season back in March.
Second Base: Andrés Giménez (Cleveland Guardians)
It comes down to Giménez and Jose Altuve for this spot. They have nearly identical offensive statistics, Altuve 148 OPS+ vs Giménez 145 OPS+, but the Guardians Second Baseman has been much more valuable defensively, according to Baseball-Reference WAR. Plus, Altuve is a dirty rotten cheater.
Third Base: José Ramírez (Cleveland Guardians)
This is another position which comes down to two candidates (and possible MVP candidates by season’s end). Rafael Devers and José Ramírez have been two of the most valuable players in MLB this season, so choosing between them is tough. I had to go with Ramírez because of his absolutely bonkers numbers. He’s OPSing over 1.000 for the season and has a ridiculous 62 RBI through 59 games. He’s been the heart and soul of a surprisingly competitive Guardians team.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
While his buddy on the left side of the Sox infield was edged out, Bogaerts makes the cut for his steady and tremendous play. Carlos Correa and Tim Anderson have both been great, but Bogaerts has played over 20 games — more than either of them, as they’ve missed time due to injuries. Bogaerts’ .332/.397/.491 triple-slash more than merits his inclusion, even if he’s only hit six home runs.
Catcher: Alejandro Kirk (Toronto Blue Jays)
This one is not particularly close like the others. Although Kirk might not look like your typical All-Star, he’s actually slimmed down and playing great ball. He and Jose Trevino are the only AL catchers with more than 100 at-bats and an OPS above .750. The Jays’ backstop has nearly 100 more plate appearances than Trevino and a superior OBP, along with a better slugging percentage. He’s also been very strong defensively.
Designated Hitter: Yordan Álvarez (Houston Astros)
You might be thinking this was a difficult decision between Álvarez and J.D. Martinez. You’d be wrong. The Red Sox slugger might have a higher OBP, but everything else is in Álvarez’s favor. He’s hit nine more home runs, and he’s driven in nearly 20 more runs. Houston’s big-man also possesses an OPS over 30 points higher and has been worth nearly a full win more for his first-place club. His contract is looking more like a bargain by the day.
Outfield: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), Austin Hays (Baltimore Orioles)
My first two picks for the outfield are unassailable. Trout and Judge sit 1-2 among the AL WAR leaders for the outfield by a wide margin (3.6 and 3.4 respectively). The next closest contender is Byron Buxton with 2.1 and then Austin Hays at 2.0. The Orioles’ outfielder is knocked -0.3 for his defense, while Buxton is considered defensively null at 0.0. I can’t justify slotting “Buck” ahead of Hays simply because of defensive WAR, which I regard as a bit suspect. I’ve watched Austin play all year, and he certainly passes the eye test. Hays has been more durable and he deserves recognition for his breakout year. While Buxton’s offensive numbers appear slightly better, .878 OPS vs .824 OPS, he’s played in 12 fewer games and has not been as consistent as “Haysey.” Buxton had a scorching start to the year, but in his last 30 games, he’s OPSing below .750.