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2013 MLB All Star Game: Studs and Snubs - AL Edition

This will be J.J. Hardy's first time starting an All Star Game. He was a reserve with the Brewers in 2007. - Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Preview the AL All-Star roster and check out the top picks/flop picks

If you'd like a full bio of the AL starters and reserves, Duck posted a great article last week with all of that information. Meanwhile, the Orioles had an AL-best three starters voted in by the fans, as well as a reserve. The other studs and snubs for the American League All-Star team:

Catcher

Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
Key stat: leads all AL catchers with 3.5 WAR

Salvador Perez - Kansas City Royals
Key stat: strikes out at a lesser rate than other AL catchers (12.4%)

Jason Castro - Houston Astros
Key stat: tops at the position in SLG and ISO for the American League

Question Marks: None. David Schoenfield at ESPN thought that adding Jason Castro after the players voted Perez as backup kept a better player off of the roster, but the Astros had to field somebody. Plus, Castro is having a better season at the plate and leads Perez in WAR.

Snubs: None.

Orioles at this position: Matt Wieters. While it may not feel like Wieters is having an All-Star season, the AL catcher position is pretty thin. Wieters ranks 4th in WAR (just slightly behind Perez) and might be the best of the bunch defensively. His OBP is down near the bottom, however, and he lags in most offensive categories.

First Base

Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles
Key stat: do I have to pick just one? Leading AL first basemen in H, HR, R, RBI, ISO, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and WAR. Yep, sounds like an All-Star to me.

Prince Fielder - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: 4th among AL 1B in wOBA and runs created.

Question Marks: How anyone could make a case for Fielder to start over Davis? The AL fans got this one right. As far as WAR is concerned, Fielder ranks just 10th at the position.

Snubs: Both Mark Trumbo and James Loney are protected from LHP, so it's hard to make a case for any 1B snubs.

Second Base

Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
Key stat: leading MLB 2B in home runs with 21

Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox
Key stat: leads AL 2B with 3.6 WAR, .400 OBP tops all qualified 2B from both leagues. He's among the better defenders at the position, as well.

Jason Kipnis - Cleveland Indians
Key stat: leads AL 2B in runs created, combines good power (13 HR) with speed (20 SB)

Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays
Key stat: .350 OBP is in line with the top guys at this position, 2.1 WAR ranks him 5th

Question Marks: I realize Zobrist can play multiple positions, but did the team need four second baseman? When your roster includes Evan Longoria, Zobrist should not be your lone representative to an All-Star game.

Snubs: Since Zobrist made the team, Omar Infante has to be considered a snub, since he leads Zobrist in WAR and has as many home runs in nearly 100 fewer plate appearances. He's also one of the best defenders at this position in the AL. Howie Kendrick is having a nice season, as well.

Orioles at the position: With Brian Roberts out due to injury, the O's called upon Mssrs. Ryan Flaherty, Alexi Casilla,and Yamaico Navarro to replace him. That didn't go so well, although Flaherty can be an adequate defensive replacement at a number of different positions.

Third Base

Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: 5.9 WAR is best in the MLB.

Manny Machado - Baltimore Orioles
Key stat: defensive whiz leads 3B with a 15.3 UZR and is tops in doubles.

Question Marks: Only two 3B but four 2B when the 3B position is so stacked?

Snubs: Evan Longoria. He's a better hitter than Machado and can hold his own defensively. He's also got a longer history of success. You can make a solid case for Josh Donaldson (since Oakland is leading a division yet has just 1 All-Star), Adrian Beltre, and Kyle Seager. The AL 3B position is absolutely stocked to the point where you can essentially field the best overall team with just these guys.

Shortstop

J.J. Hardy - Baltimore Orioles
Key stat: top power threat at this position with 15 home runs. Also a defensive ace.

Jhonny Peralta - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: leads all AL SS in WAR with 2.4 and SLG with .439

Question Marks: None.

Snubs: Jed Lowrie has the best bat at the SS position, but it's hard to say he's any better than the two already on the team.

Outfield

Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels
Key stat: having another stellar year and leads in a number of offensive categories, including WAR at 5.4 (he's a full 2.0 WAR ahead of the next OF). Crazy that he's the only LAA representative on a team that includes guys like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Jered Weaver.

Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles
Key stat: 10th in ISO for AL OF, 5th in slugging, 2nd in hits (111)

Jose Bautista - Toronto Blue Jays
Key stat: 2nd behind Mike Trout in WAR with 3.4, also second in runs created

Nelson Cruz - Texas Rangers
Key stat: leads the way with 22 home runs

Alex Gordon - Kansas City Royals
Key stat: 6th in WAR at 2.3 and 6th in OBP (.357)

Torii Hunter - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: 5th in hits with 104

Question Marks: Not a great year for OF in the American league, but neither Jones nor Hunter are top 6 OFs. Jones' power makes him a decent bench spot (although his OBP doesn't), but I find it hard to make a case for Hunter to be on this team at all.

Snubs: Jacoby Ellsbury. He's got solid numbers in a number of categories, leads the AL in SB (36), and is tied for 2nd among AL OF for WAR. You could make a case for Brett Gardner, Desmond Jennings, and Austin Jackson as well.

Other Orioles at the position: Bautista beat out Nick Markakis for the starting spot, and rightly so. Nicky is also a solid hits guy, but he's got little power and plays just okay defense. Nate McLouth is 2nd in the AL in SB with 24 and actually pushed himself into the top 15 for WAR, but neither he nor Markakis warranted a selection (even in a down year).

Designated Hitter

David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox
Key stat: unmatched power numbers pushes him to a "position"-leading 3.0 WAR

Edwin Encarnacion - Toronto Blue Jays
Key stat: 2nd behind Ortiz in most offensive stats, including wOBA, ISO, SLG

Question Marks: None.

Snubs: None.

Orioles at the position: Not a great year for the Oriole DH spot. It's been filled by a variety of guys on a platoon basis. Nobody from the likes of Danny Valencia, Steve Pearce, Chris Dickerson, and Nolan Reimold would even be considered.

Starting Pitchers

Clay Buchholz - Boston Red Sox
Key stat: led in ERA and FIP before getting injured. Was also at 2.9 WAR, which would have him at 6th currently. Won't pitch due to injury.

Bartolo Colon - Oakland Athletics
Key stat: best BB/9 in the AL. Allowing very few homers as well. Likely pitching Sunday, so as it stands, the A's won't have any representation at the ASG unless there is an injury fill-in.

Yu Darvish - Texas Rangers
Key stat: K/9 of 11.84 is frighteningly good for a starter. He's likely out due to a back injury, however.

Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners
Key stat: not throwing as hard as he used to, but still managing 3rd in the AL with 3.4 WAR. ERA and FIP are identical.

Hisashi Iwakuma - Seattle Mariners
Key stat: excellent control puts him 2nd in BB/9.

Justin Masterson - Cleveland Indians
Key stat: generates a whopping 57.5% ground balls.

Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox
Key stat: tied with Hernandez for 3rd in WAR with 3.4

Max Scherzer - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: leading the way with 4.0 WAR, second in K/9 with 10.63 (combining that with solid control)

Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers
Key stat: not a great season by his standards, but he's still 6th in WAR with 2.9

Question Marks: Verlander was a case of Jim Leyland picking his own guy, but he's still good and has a great track record. Iwakuma, on the other hand, is riding some solid luck. He's got an exceptionally low BABIP and the highest strand rate among qualified AL starters (a tenth of a percent higher than Chris Tillman). He also allows a huge number of homers, considering he pitches many games at Safeco.

Snubs: Derek Holland, James Shields. Holland may not be as flashy as his teammate Darvish, but he might be the better pitcher this season and there are some numbers to back that up. James Shields was a victim of the AL getting reliever-happy with their pitching selections.

Orioles at this position: If Wei-Yin Chen had stayed healthy, there's a chance he may have pushed (and it's the slightest of chances) for a spot. He doesn't allow many homers and generated 1.3 WAR in about half the innings that most regular starters got in the first half. The remaining 12 guys the O's have thrown out there this season have done little to notice, although both Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez have been solid on many occasions.

Relief Pitchers

Brett Cecil - Toronto Blue Jays
Key stat: 1.43 ERA, 50 strikeouts in 44 innings

Jesse Crain - Chicago White Sox
Key stat: leading all MLB relievers with 2.0 WAR (and he's not a closer)

Joe Nathan - Texas Rangers
Key stat: his 30 saves are tops in the AL (well, tied....with a certain Oriole pitcher)

Glen Perkins - Minnesota Twins
Key stat: 6th in WAR among AL relievers, 12.4 K/9

Mariano Rivera - New York Yankees
Key stat: 2nd in saves with 29

Steve Delabar - Toronto Blue Jays
Key stat: 5th among AL relievers with a 1.74 ERA

Question Marks: Why so many short relievers? With the fan vote player, the AL pitching staff will be stocked with 6 setup/closers, which doesn't make much sense. Brett Cecil and Jesse Crain have limited previous success to warrant their selection. Cecil nearly got DFA'd before the season started. Crain at least leads the league in WAR from a reliever, but Cecil has no stat that really pops out. Steve Delabar won the fan vote for the final spot, but he too has no eye-popping statistics.

Snubs: Greg Holland. With that many relievers, you may as well select one of the best. Rivera and Nathan make sense since they're saves leaders and have had solid careers, but Holland should have at least been the third guy. He's second in WAR, strikes out 15.4 per 9 innings, and has an ERA/FIP of 1.80/1.32 to go along with 22 saves.

Orioles at the position: Jim Johnson may have pushed for a spot before a string of awful outings. He's tied for the lead in saves with 30. Darren O'Day could make a case as well, but he's not as high up in WAR and does not possess an elite FIP. Tommy Hunter has a ton of innings for a bullpen guy (50.1) and he's been good, but allows too many homers.

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