I'm not going to justify my All-Star criteria, but I am going to state them, as I think we all must when we say who we think should garner All-Star accolades. If we don't, then we can wind up arguing on different grounds, talking past each other. If you think present-year stats are all that matter and I think present-year stats are like 15 percent of the equation, then you're going to say "Chris Davis obviously duh what are you even" and I'm going to have to think a little harder and probably put him on as a reserve.
So the criteria: I want stars. Actual stars. Legit stars. Stars are people who have earned that label via years of excellent work. If a player has a good three months, I'm okay with that player being on the team, but I'd like them to be there because I believe that there's something real in the performance, some sort of breakthrough aspect to the fluke. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, though, because in the end, I'm in this thing for entertainment. I don't watch baseball because it's life and death (anymore), I don't watch it to get upset. I watch it to be happy. If we're choosing All-Star teams and there's a 2.5 ERA guy and a 2.8 ERA guy but the latter makes me happier? I'm going with the latter.
Obviously you can take this too far. Pat Neshek makes me happy because he throws the ball so goofy, but I'm not putting him on an All-Star team. "Makes me happy" in this context means "is a really good player." That's what it boils down to, maybe: "is a really good player" vs. "has played really good this year."
Anyway. My American League picks, following the one-player-per-team rule but ignoring any issues of starting pitchers being off-schedule or whatever the hell.
C: Joe Mauer
C: Carlos Santana
Pitchers (I don't like relievers)
I picked my 34 and then checked the teams to make sure I had everyone. That is, I was team-blind in making my picks. The one thing I had to do was put Jose Altuve on for Ben Zobrist because I had no Astros. I didn't have a real reason for preferring Zobrist to Altuve in the first place, though Russell Carleton probably influenced my unconscious.
No Josh Donaldson, but third base is rough. It's a lot easier for a Jed Lowrie to crack American League shortstop (JJ Hardy had a good year with the stick that one time. I guess I should take Jhonny Peralta more seriously) than for anyone to make it as AL third baseman. (Kyle Seager's got beef, too.)
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