Tagged: Evan Longoria

AL April All-Stars

For what it’s worth (it’s not worth as much as most fans think it is), here are my American League All-Stars for the month of April.  

C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Pretty easy choice when you’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent like this guy.  Led the way with a .345 average and a .906 OPS, not numbers that are put up by catchers very often.
Honorable mention: Matt Wieters (BAL), Jorge Posada (NYY)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET)
Another familiar face.  Cabrera mashed the opposition, posting a .372/.450/.655 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) which is good for a monstrous 1.105 OPS.  Sure, Paul Konerko had 5 more home runs, but I can’t ignore the fact that he hit exactly 100 points less.  
Honorable Mention: Paul Konerko (CWS), Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
Cano has a significant edge over the others here, with a .362 average and a .695 slugging percentage.  I wouldn’t call him a regular in terms of all-star discussions, but I can’t say I’m too surprised either given the growth he showed last year.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia (BOS), Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Evan Longoria (TB)
I would’ve loved nothing more than to give this one to Adrian Beltre, but Longoria’s .624 slugging mark compared to Beltre’s .467 was too convincing.  Longoria closed out the month with a .349 average and 7 home runs.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Beltre (BOS), Miguel Tejada (BAL), Alberto Callaspo (KC)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
He somehow finds a way to do it year in and year out.  Jeter finishes April with a .310 average and 4 homers.  Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t make the honorable mention here despite his .311 average because I can’t ignore his paltry 1 home run and 4 RBI.  Maybe its because he’s on the Indians, or maybe its because he’s lacking with runners on base.  He hit just .214 with runners in scoring position.
Honorable Mention: Marco Scutaro (BOS), Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Austin Jackson (DET), Vernon Wells (TOR), Nelson Cruz (TEX)
Lots of good options here.  These fast starts, especially those of Jackson and Wells, have been well documented.  Jackson because he’s a rookie who hit .369 in April and Wells because of his notoriously bloated contract, which looks slightly better after his .325/.391/.640 April.  
Honorable Mention: Carl Crawford (TB), Scott Podsednik (CWS), Franklin Gutierrez (SEA)
Check out the balance of power early on in the American League this season.  Of course these are only my choices, but of the eight starters I’ve selected, the division breakdown is as follows: 
East- 4
Central- 3
West- 1
Including the starters and the honorable mentions, the breakdown is:
East- 12
Central- 7
West- 3
The West only has 4 teams compared to 5 in the other two divisions, so if you multiply their representatives by 5/4 the field is leveled, and they still trail 4 – 3 – 1.2 and 12 – 7 – 3.75.  These results are supported by the standings, which show the Yankees challenging the Rays for the East and the best record in baseball, while all four AL West teams struggle in the early going.  Here are the cumulative winning percentages by team through April:
East- .522
Central- .487
West- .489
The West is able to edge the Central here because while they are pretty pathetic, they have no truly terrible teams.  The four clubs finished April with remarkably similar records- 12-12, 12-12, 11-12, and 11-12.