Which AL players deserve your All-Star votes?
In case you're getting ready to cast your own vote and aren't sure whom to pick, here are a few suggestions:
1B -- Current leader: Miguel Cabrera
Who deserves it: Cabrera, although Jose Abreu has a strong case as well.
It's hard to argue against Cabrera, who is currently hitting .324 with 8 HR and is 2nd in the AL with 44 RBI. But before his injury, Abreu was leading the league with 15 HR and 42 RBI. Despite missing the past week and a half, Abreu is still 3rd in the AL in both categories. Still, with this year's performance combined with two straight MVP awards, it's hard to argue against Cabrera.
2B -- Current leader: Ian Kinsler
Who deserves it: Robinson Cano.
He may have left the spotlight of New York, and he might have struggled a bit in his first month or so in Seattle, but Robinson Cano is still having a hell of a year. He's 2nd in the AL with a .333 average, and his slash line of .333/.377/.428 is a bit better than that of Kinsler (.322/.352/.465).
3B -- Current leader: Josh Donaldson
Who deserves it: Donaldson. He was remarkable last year, and hasn't missed a bit this year. His 4.0 WAR (so far) is more than 3 times that of the next best third baseman. There's no doubt that Donaldson is absolutely the best 3B in the AL right now.
SS -- Current leader: Derek Jeter
Who deserves it: Alexei Ramirez. But really, anyone but Jeter.
Jeter is the sentimental choice, but his slash line (.269/.337/.320) certainly leaves much to be desired. He's not really contributing to the Yankees in any meaningful way, other than providing some pre-game entertainment as teams trot out their retirement gifts. Ramirez, on the other hand, is having an incredible season for the White Sox, offering strong contributions both at the plate and on the base paths. He's hitting .324/.357/.483 with 7 HR, 36 RBI and 9 stolen bases. Jeter has this spot locked down, but he's far from deserving.
C -- Current leader: Matt Wieters
Who deserves it: Derek Norris
The young Athletics catcher is having a hell of a season, outpacing Wieters easily, as well as the rest of the catchers in the AL. He's hitting .314 with 5 HR and 24 RBI in somewhat limited at bats.
OF -- Current leaders: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury
Who deserves it: Trout, Bautista, Michael Brantley
Trout and Bautista are 1-2 among AL outfielders in WAR. They're not bad choices at all. Ellsbury, on the other hand, is most definitely benefiting that he was the big free agent name in the offseason, and he's now in the spotlight of the Bronx. He's not having a bad year at all, the the Red Sox undoubtedly miss his bat in the leadoff position, but he's still not one of the top three outfielders in the American League.
The third spot is up for grabs, with several players in the conversation. Some of those include Alex Gordon, Michael Brantley, Melky Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and others. My pick is Brantley. He's got a slash line of .306/.374/.510, and has 8 stolen bases as well. He's having a great season, but probably won't be rewarded because he's not one of the big names.
DH -- Current leader: David Ortiz
Who deserves it: Nelson Cruz, Victor Martinez or Edwin Encarnacion
Ortiz certainly got some votes thanks in large part to his stellar reputation and also his lights-out performance in the World Series. But is he really the most deserving DH in 2014? Probably not. Nelson Cruz (.300/.369/.632, 1.8 WAR), Victor Martinez (.341/.397/.604, 1.7 WAR) and Edwin Encarnacion (.263/.341/.585, 2.2 WAR) are all putting together other-wordly seasons, and they're all hitting significantly better than Ortiz at this point. It's really a virtual toss-up between the three of them, but I'm personally giving the nod to Martinez, thanks to his league-leading .341 average.
Of course, you are entitled to vote for anyone you like. But if you're truly trying to honor the best current players in the game, this is a good start.