MLB All-Star Game player capsules

Mike Stobe/GETTY IMAGES - R.A. Dickey’s standout season landed the New York Mets ace on the National League all-star team, but San Francisco’s Matt Cain will be the starting pitcher.

American League starters

C Mike Napoli, TEX

The Rangers’ strong first half buoyed Napoli’s weaker all-star case. The first-time all-star’s production at the plate has fallen off from last season’s monster second half and playoffs (he hit .383 over the season’s final two and half months). He has 12 home runs and 30 RBI.

 

1B Prince Fielder, DET

While popular preseason World Series contender pick Detroit may be under-performing, its $214-million acquisition hasn’t been. Fielder has been a dangerous addition to the lineup alongside slugger Miguel Cabrera. His numbers may be slightly below his career rates, but the four-time all-star is still a near-.300 hitter with 15 home runs and 63 RBI. 

 

2B Robinson Cano, NYY

Cano has continued to prove that he is the game’s best second baseman and, perhaps, among its best overall players. The four-time all-star is a career .308 hitter but his power stroke, which has evolved over the past four seasons, is on a near-record-breaking pace. He has 20 home runs in 85 games — the AL record for second basemen is 39.

3B Adrian Beltre, TEX

Already one of the game’s best fielders (a three-time Gold Glove winner), Beltre remains one of the better-hitting third basemen. While Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera may have slightly better numbers, three-time all-star Beltre is no slouch: .326 average, 15 home runs and 54 RBI.

 

SS Derek Jeter, NYY

Just pencil it in every season. For the past seven years, fans have voted the Yankees captain and 38-year-old the AL starting shortstop, and he is deserving. The 13-time all-star — yes, 13-time — is putting together a fine season at the plate and is part of the reason the Yankees have the best record in the AL.

OF Josh Hamilton, TEX

One day, pitchers will learn not to pitch to Hamilton. But in a murderous Rangers lineup, there’s little choice. The MVP candidate shattered a major league record with more than 11 million all-star votes — far more than the previous record of 7.4 million. The five-time all-star leads all batters in RBI (75) and slugging percentage (.635), and is tied for the lead home runs (27).

 

OF Curtis Granderson, NYY

Only one other person (Jose Bautista) has more home runs since the start of last season than Granderson, who has hit 64 in that span and is starting his second straight all-star game. While his batting average may be down, his sweet power stroke continues. He is one of three Yankees all-star starters.

 

OF Jose Bautista, TOR

This slugger’s power numbers border on unreal. Since the 2010 season, he has hit 124 home runs — nearly 30 more than the next-closest person (Albert Pujols). The three-time all-star is tied for the major league lead with 27 home runs, which is scary for two reasons: He hit home runs at a higher rate last season and hit only three this April.

 

DH David Ortiz, BOS

At 38, the gregarious slugger is swinging like he was 28 again. After dropping weight in the offseason, he is having his best season at the plate in five years. But could this be his last season in Boston? He wanted a two-year deal and wasn’t happy about heading toward arbitration instead.

 

SP Justin Verlander, DET

The Tigers’ right-hander is perhaps the game’s best pitcher. Consider his resume: 2006 AL rookie of the year, the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP, and five-time all-star. He’s a workhorse with more than 200 innings in each of the past five seasons and has thrown five complete games already this season — in 18 starts.

AMERICAN LEAGUE RESERVES

Pitchers

Ryan Cook, OAK

Yu Darvish, TEX

Matt Harrison, TEX

Felix Hernandez, SEA

Jim Johnson, BAL

Joe Nathan, TEX

Chris Perez, CLE

David Price, TB

Fernando Rodney, TB

CC Sabathia, NYY

Chris Sale, CWS

Jered Weaver, LAA

C.J. Wilson, LAA

Catchers

Joe Mauer, MIN

Matt Wieters, BAL

Infielders

Elvis Andrus, TEX

Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE

Miguel Cabrera, DET

Ian Kinsley, TEX

Paul Konerko, CWS

Outfielders

Adam Jones, BAL

Mike Trout, LAA

Mark Trumbo, LAA

Designated Hitters

Billy Butler, KC

Adam Dunn, CWS

National League starters

C Buster Posey, SF

After a vicious collision at the plate in May 2011 cost him the rest of that season, the 2010 NL rookie of the year has bounced back strong. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz had a strong case to be the starter with better offensive numbers, but fans gave Posey an NL-record 7.6 million votes to send him to his first all-star game.

1B Joey Votto, CIN

There may be no better hitter in the game right now than Votto. He leads the majors or is among the top few in many offensive categories. Perhaps most impressive is his .471 on-base percentage. And he is a doubles and walks machine. The 2010 NL MVP is a leading midseason candidate to earn the award again.

2B Dan Uggla, ATL

You’ll find his name second-to-last among NL second basemen in batting average but that’s not what you get with Uggla. He’s a free-swinging slugger: 45 RBI and 12 home runs (tops among the league’s second basemen). And there are few things that fans love more than home runs.

3B Pablo Sandoval, SF

His selection by fans as the starting third baseman drew the ire of some, notably Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who felt, rightfully so, that David Wright had a much stronger case. Sandoval, hitting .307 with eight home runs, even missed 30 games this season with injury, but Giants fan mobilized.

SS Rafael Furcal, STL

Traded from the Dodgers last July, the 34-year-old shortstop contributed to St. Louis’s World Series title run and has continued to be a constant force. He leads the majors in RBI (36) from the leadoff spot, and is making his first all-star appearance since 2009 (third overall).

OF Carlos Beltran, STL

How do you replace three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols, one of the best hitters of this generation? With Beltran, who, at 35, continues to produce. The seven-time all-star is tied for third in the majors with 65 RBI and has been a vital addition to the NL’s highest-scoring offense.

OF Melky Cabrera, SF

The major-league leader in hits is on an absurd pace to notch 232 hits this season — which would be the sixth-most hits ever recorded in a season. After the Yankees traded him to the Braves in 2009, Cabrera added weight and tanked. He turned his career around with the Royals and has found renewed focus with the Giants.

OF Ryan Braun, MIL

Forget the 2011 MVP award that some later felt was tainted by his 50-game suspension because of a positive drug test, which was overturned. Braun can hit: an NL-leading 24 home runs, a .306 average and 61 RBI. The five-time all-star replaces injured Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

DH Carlos Gonzalez, COL

In an otherwise dismal first half for the Rockies, Gonzalez remains one of the brightest young hitters in baseball. Even when you factor in his hitter-friendly home confines, the 26-year-old is among the NL’s top 10 in OPS+ (on-base plus slugging percentage adjusted for the player’s stadium). It seems strange that this is only his first all-star game.

SP Matt Cain, SF

Cain has become one of the game’s best starters, tossing the 22nd perfect game in major league history in June, and is among the league leaders in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and least walks and hits per inning. Mets starter R.A. Dickey seemed like the obvious choice to start the game but difficulty catching his knuckle ball may have cost him. 

NATIONAL LEAGUE RESERVES

Pitchers

Aroldis Chapman, CIN

R.A. Dickey, NYM

Gio Gonzalez, WSH

Cole Hamels, PHI

Joel Hanrahan, PIT

Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Craig Kimbrel, ATL

Lance Lynn, STL

Wade Miley, ARI

Jonathan Papelbon, PHI

Stephen Strasburg, WSH

Huston Street, SD

Catchers

Yadier Molina, STL

Carlos Ruiz, PHI

Infielders

Jose Altuve, HOU

Michael Bourn, ATL

Starlin Castro, CHC

Ian Desmond, WSH

David Freese, STL

Chipper Jones, ATL

Bryan LaHair, CHC

David Wright, NYM

Outfielders

Michael Bourn, ATL

Ryan Braun, MIL

Jay Bruce, CIN

Carlos Gonzalez, COL

Bryce Harper, WSH

Matt Holliday, STL

Matt Kemp, LAD

Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

— James Wagner

 
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