And the opponents for the NL squad should be / are….
Catcher – Joe Mauer & Matt Wieters
Both are big stars having big years. Exactly the sort of player the game needs to showcase. Jarod Saltalamacchia is having a breakout campaign and leading all catchers in isolated power but no-one is tuning into the All-Star game to watch him hit.
First Base – Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder & Paul Konerko
Neither Pujols or Fielder are having the sort of seasons their have shown they are capable of in the past, however the status they have built up through those past efforts mean they are still worth their place on an All-Star roster. Konerko is just about as good a player as it’s possible to be without being recognized as a a legitimate star.
Second Base – Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler & Dustin Pedroia
The junior league really is blessed in the second base department at the moment. Pedroia’s injuries seem to be preventing him putting up his usual numbers but all three of these players are clear All-Star level talents. Such is the depth at the position that Ben Zobrist and Jason Kipnis (who I’m a massive fan) will struggle to get a look in over the next few years.
Third Base – Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez & Adrian Beltre
Again the strength in depth of the AL is in evidence as excellent young players like Brett Lawrie and Mike Moustakas are difficult to omit from this list. Rodriguez is obviously not the force he once was but there’s no denying he is still one the sport’s most recognizable and marketable names which counts for something in this situation.
Shortstop – Derek Jeter & Elvis Andrus
The same argument for A-Rod applies here to Jeter. As a Red Sox fan it somewhat pains me to admit it but until a Jurickson Profar or Manny Machado comes into consideration Jeter’s star power will continue to carry the day here.
Left Field – Josh Hamilton
Centre Field – Mike Trout
Right Field – Jose Bautista
Starting Pitcher – Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia & Felix Hernandez
Verlander is the obvious candidate to start the game with the possibility of a Verlander v Strasburg matchup sure to get fans talking. CC and Felix seem to have been outstanding starters year in year out for as long as I can remember although pitchers like Jake Peavy and Chris Sale have earned some recognition this year as well.
Relief Pitcher – Joe Nathan & Ernesto Frieri
Nathan has defied almost all expectations to reestablish himself as an elite end-game pitcher who, in the absence of Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera, is probably the biggest name closer in the AL at the moment. Frieri is just absolutely filthy.