Bernie on the Scene: My AL All-Star Team Selections

Bernie on the Scene: My AL All-Star Team Selections

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

Today, I begin a three-part series leading up to the All Star Game.

I'm sharing my All Star selections for the American League, the National League positions players and the pitching staffs for both clubs.

In each case, I will try to highlight the fantasy value of each of my personal selections.

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below:

There are 32 rosters spots on an All Star team. Twenty are position players, 12 are pitchers.

I'm not automatically including a player from every team. I'm picking the team I think gives me the best chance to win the baseball game.

I am going to include the great Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher, so I can expand my position player roster. The American League should do the same thing. But they won't.

All statistics are as of the start of play Saturday, June 19, 2021.

Stats include batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage/on base plus slugging.

American League Position All Stars

First Base:

Vladimir Guerrero: Blue Jays

.336/.438/.664/.1.102 with 22 homers and 56 RBI. He has 2 stolen bases

The massive weight loss has resulted in a massive season at the plate. The guy is having a Most Valuable Player year, and I think he can keep it up.

I think he will add great power to my lineup.

Runner Up: 

Jared Walsh: Angels

.279/.334/.547/.891 with 16 homers and 48 RBI. He has two stolen bases.

Walsh is having a great year and deserves a spot on

Today, I begin a three-part series leading up to the All Star Game.

I'm sharing my All Star selections for the American League, the National League positions players and the pitching staffs for both clubs.

In each case, I will try to highlight the fantasy value of each of my personal selections.

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section below:

There are 32 rosters spots on an All Star team. Twenty are position players, 12 are pitchers.

I'm not automatically including a player from every team. I'm picking the team I think gives me the best chance to win the baseball game.

I am going to include the great Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher, so I can expand my position player roster. The American League should do the same thing. But they won't.

All statistics are as of the start of play Saturday, June 19, 2021.

Stats include batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage/on base plus slugging.

American League Position All Stars

First Base:

Vladimir Guerrero: Blue Jays

.336/.438/.664/.1.102 with 22 homers and 56 RBI. He has 2 stolen bases

The massive weight loss has resulted in a massive season at the plate. The guy is having a Most Valuable Player year, and I think he can keep it up.

I think he will add great power to my lineup.

Runner Up: 

Jared Walsh: Angels

.279/.334/.547/.891 with 16 homers and 48 RBI. He has two stolen bases.

Walsh is having a great year and deserves a spot on the club. But so does Jose Abreu. And if I had room, Trey Mancini belongs as well. 

Walsh has been a pleasant surprise, and he has driven Albert Pujols up the freeway to the Dodgers.

Second Base:

Marcus Semien: Blue Jays

.286/.354/.516/.871 with 16 homers and 39 RBI. He has nine stolen bases.

This was one of the tough calls for me. However, Semien has performed as advertised while changing positions from shortstop to second base.

Hitting at the top of a potent batting order for Toronto, Semien offers the American League a bat that can set the table for the rest of the lineup. He may even begin the game with a home run, provided he gets the top spot in the batting order.

Runner Up: 

Whit Merrifield: Royals

.271/.322/.401/.724 with five home runs and 38 RBI. He has 17 stolen bases

A terrific all-around player, Merrifield could have easily gotten the nod here from me.

Third Base: 

Rafael Devers: Red Sox

.283/.348/.574/.921 with 17 homers and 56 RBI. He has three stolen bases.

He is among the team leaders on a surprising club. Devers has power and an ability to make solid contact. That's what I want from my third baseman.

I think Devers is a fantastic baseball player, and it was very close between starting Devers or Ramirez. They are both worthy. I chose Devers because I think he is so hot that I want that dangerous bat planted in my lineup with all the other great hitters he surrounds.

Runner Up:

Jose Ramirez: Indians

.270/.354/.539/.893 with 16 homers, 44 RBI and six stolen bases

I can't count the number of times Ramirez has saved the Indians bacon with his loud bat. When his team needs a clutch hit, Ramirez is there.

A switch-hitter, Ramirez can punish right-handed pitching, which he sees most often, of course.

I think I could have picked either Ramirez or Rafael Devers and have been very, very happy with the choice.

I think this could be a horse race by the time the voting ends. There are some special third basemen available for the All Star Game. But Ramirez, like Devers, is special.

Shortstop:

Xander Bogaerts: Red Sox

.321/.385/.564/.948 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI. He has stolen four bases.

I can only imagine what Bogaerts will make on the open market after Story, Correa and Seager join Francisco Lindor with new contracts.

Bogaerts is a wrecking machine for Boston. He, Devers and J.D. Martinez form a lethal trio for pitchers to navigate. 

Bogaerts still travels a little under the radar, but the man can flat out play the game. He does it all, and he belongs in my starting lineup.

Runner Up: 

Bo Bichette: Blue Jays

.279/.326/.486/.911 with 14 homers and 43 RBI. He has stolen nine bases.

The guy is having a fabulous season on a very solid hitting club. He is doing everything asked of him, and more. Bichette is so good, the Blue Jays had to move Marcus Semien to second base.

Bichette won this role for me over Tim Anderson, who deserves to be on my team, but I don't have the room for him.

Catcher: 

Salvador Perez: Royals

.291/.323/.543/.866 with 18 homers and 46 RBI

The leader of a feisty team, Perez has returned to the diamond with vigor and style. He can play the position as well or better than most. And he's by far the best hitting catcher in the league.

Perez has that line-drive type bat that flashes enough power to get the ball over the fence. And behind the plate, he is a savior to his pitching staff.

At a very weak offensive position, Perez is far and away the All Star catcher.

Runner Up: 

Christian Vazquez: Red Sox

.267/.310/.367/.676 with three home runs and 28 RBI. He has stolen six bases

While there really is no runner up to Perez, for me, Vazquez is the best of the lot.

I think he will be able to hit decently and play enough solid defense to warrant a back-up roll on my team.

Outfield:

Michael Brantley: left field, Astros

.335/.379/.498/.877 with four home runs and 24 RBI. 

Brantley is a hitting machine. And, in fact, he's a doubles machine. I want that bat in my lineup as a guy who can get on base and be there for the thunder that surrounds him.

Brantley has superb bat to ball skills. He has knack for getting on base, and watching him hit the gaps with his doubles bat is pure poetry. He's just too reliable for me not to include him in my starting outfield.

Cedric Mullins: center field, Orioles

.322/.395/.540/.935 with 11 homers and 23 RBI. He has stolen 12 bases.

This guy has done everything for the Orioles. He is getting on base regularly and he has enough speed to steal bases, if needed.

Mullins has enough power to hit the ball out of any park, and Coors Field could be just to his liking. 

Mullins is a Gold Glove caliber outfielder, and the team will need some of those in their lineup.

Aaron Judge: right field, Yankees

.281/.377/.506/.884 with 15 homers and 35 RBI.

So far, I don't have big bombers in my outfield. Enter Judge.

Yes, he may be hurt again by the time of the All Star Game, but he's really among a select few Yankees who are holding up their part of the hitting bargain.

Judge is a behemoth of a man and he has power to spare. When he finds the barrel, he finds the bleacher seats.

Runner Up: 

Alex Verdugo: Red Sox

.291/.347/.463/.810 with nine homers and 32 RBI. He has stolen four bases.

Verdugo is a steady bat who can add value to any All Star lineup. And he has returned value to the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts deal. And he's still improving as a hitter.

Runner Up: 

Teoscar Hernandez: Blue Jays

.298/.346/.485/.831 with 10 homers and 41 RBI. He has stolen four bases.

A dangerous, powerful bat who can carry a team when he's on a hot streak. He's hitting well enough to be a starter, but he's too streaky for me to trust in my opening game lineup. He'll see duty as a substitute.

Runner Up: 

Adolis Garcia: Rangers

.273/.305/.524/.828.  He has 17 homers and 47 RBI. He has stolen seven bases.

His outstanding 2021 season may be a fluke, but he gets rewarded here for that big home run total. We'll find out if he's for real as the season moves along. But so far, he's solid.

Designated Hitter:

Nelson Cruz: Twins

.300/.374/.551/.925 with 14 homers and 35 RBI.

Cruz is scary good. When he gets on a roll, nobody can keep him from lofting cannon shots over the wall in any park.

Cruz in Coors? I'll take that. And I know J.D. Martinez is having a huge year, but I'll still take Cruz as my DH. I could never keep Cruz on the bench at Coors.

Runner Up: 

J.D. Martinez: Red Sox

.308/.368/.540/.908 with 13 homers and 42 RBI

The guy is hitting really well this year, but I still want Cruz in my lineup as the DH in Coors. Martinez will get his hitting time, and remember, I have Ohtani as a pitcher who will be able to play the outfield and hit as well. Great, great quality in the DH role this year.

My lineup:

Marcus Semien: 2B

Cedric Mullins: CF

Vladimir Guerrero: 1B

Aaron Judge: RF

Nelson Cruz: DH

Xander Bogaerts: SS

Rafael Devers: 3B

Michael Brantley: LF

Salvador Perez: C

My Bench:

Adolis Garcia: OF

Jared Walsh: 1B

Jose Abreu: 1B

Jose Ramirez: 3B

Bo Bichette: S

Whit Merrifield: 2B/OF

Byron Buxton: OF

Christian Vazquez: C

Teoscar Hernandez: OF

J.D. Martinez: DH

Alex Verdugo: OF

Regrets to players like Jose Altuve, Tim Anderson, Alex Bregman, Yasmani Grandal and other great players who I just couldn't squeeze onto my roster.

Note: I do not have a place for the great Mike Trout. He would have started in my outfield, but his injury does not seem like it will heal in time for the game.

Heading Home

I often ask myself this question: If I'm starting a baseball franchise today and I can have any position player, which player would by my first choice?

Would it be Trout? Trout is a tremendous talent. The comparisons to Mickey Mantle are valid. Trout will be 30 in August. I love his skillset. I love his attitude. I love his baseball acumen. He's already a future Hall of Famer in my opinion.

Would it be Ronald Acuna? Acuna is a magnificent player. He plays with reckless abandon. He has a great hit tool, outstanding power and speed, and he plays good defense. And he's only 23, so he's still very, very young.

Would it be Ohtani? I have rarely seen a hitter as "electric" as Ohtani. He finds the barrel of the bat and everything is a line drive shot to the gaps. The guy has tremendous speed and he can also pitch for me when he isn't in the outfield or my DH. 

Would it be Fernando Tatis? Tatis is the baby of the bunch at only 22. He has already accomplished what some players dream of for an entire career. He has a lethal combination of power and speed, but is savvy enough to take a walk.

Those are my contenders. You tell me. Who should I take? Any other player will be a wasted vote. You won't persuade me to take Eloy Jimenez or Luis Robert. Not Francisco Lindor or Bogaerts. Not Mookie Betts or Devers. I want one from among Trout, Acuna, Ohtani or Tatis. Let me know in the comments below. 

Alright, go ahead. Try to persuade me to take someone else.

Next week, I'll share who I would choose.

Have a great week.

Thanks for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work at Forbes.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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