Is it too early to be voting for the MLB All-Star teams? Major League Baseball certainly doesn’t think the sample size is too small. So without further ado, here are the players that basically had a hot streak to begin the 2017 season.
AL Catcher – Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
The lone bright spot on one of the most disappointing teams in Major League Baseball, whom we outlined a fire sale for, Salvy has put up some strong power numbers with an OPS+ of 128, which is on pace to dwarf any other seasons the four-time All-Star and reigning Silver Slugger has put up. The one knock on his game has been a decrease in defensive metrics. Perez, a four-time Gold Glove winner, has allowed the most stolen bases thus far this season.
Also considered: Brian McCann (Houston Astros)
NL Catcher – Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
The cerebral superstar has been putting the final stamps on a Hall of Fame career with one of his finest starts to a season. Posey certainly cannot be blamed for the Giants anemic start, since he is putting up an OPS over 1.000 on this young season. The four-time All-Star is hitting .367. Oh, and he took Clayton Kershaw deep.
Also considered: No one.
AL First Base – Yonder Alonso (Oakland A’s)
The former University of Miami Hurricane has been an absolute revelation this year, hitting .303, complemented by the sixth-highest slugging percentage in the league. Alonso ranks second in the AL in home runs and fifth in RBIs. Alonso has really disappeared since his rookie year in 2012, but seems to have found a home in Oakland.
Also considered: Logan Morrison (Tampa Bay Rays)
NL First Base – Ryan Zimmerman (Washington Nationals)
The two-time Silver Slugger has not made an All-Star team since 2009, his lone appearance. But in a season with numerous performances of note to start the year, Zimmerman stands out, leading the National League in hits, batting average, home runs, doubles, RBIs, offensive WAR and OPS. Zimmerman has become the focal point of an offense with numerous other All-Stars (more on that later). Can Zimmerman sustain? That’ll be the question as the Nationals make their push for the elusive pennant they’ve been in the hunt for over the last five years.
Also considered: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves), Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks), Eric Thames (Milwaukee Brewers)
AL Second Base – Starlin Castro (New York Yankees)
During Judgemania, the former Chicago Cub has been fantastic, and a leading candidate for Way-Too-Early MVP. The three-time All-Star is leading the AL with 45 hits. Castro last led the league in hits in 2011. His .354 batting average is good for third in the American League
Also considered: Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners)
NL Second Base – Daniel Murphy (Nationals)
Murphy is following up his second-place finish in last year’s MVP race with another strong showing. His .331 batting average is 11th in the National League and he ranks second in hits behind Zimmerman. Murphy is also tied for third in RBIs.
Also considered: Cesar Hernandez (Philadelphia Phillies)
AL Shortstop – Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians)
Lindor is continuing to project upward after two impressive seasons to start his career. His power number are up, with eight early season home runs, and he is fourth in the AL with 10 doubles. Lindor is second in the AL in runs scored and he is tied for seventh in hits. He is also the standard, along with Andrelton Simmons, when it comes to defensive prowess at Shortstop.
Also considered: Jean Segura (Mariners)
NL Shortstop – Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers)
The reigning Rookie of the Year has had a decent start to his 2017 season. Seager looks to be slightly below the pace that led him to a third place finish in last season’s MVP race. He has been a consistent force in a Dodgers lineup positioned to make a strong push in the NL West.
Also considered: Chris Owings (Diamondbacks)
AL Third Base – Miguel Sano (Minnesota Twins)
Sano has been a central reason the Twins have competed and are hanging just a half game behind the Indians in the AL Central, despite slow starts by Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer. Sano is the only qualifying third baseman to be hitting above .300. He is on pace for a 40 homer season, with an incredible OPS+ of 195.
Also considered: Jose Ramirez (Indians), Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles), Mike Moustakas (Royals)
NL Third Base – Jedd Gyorko (St. Louis Cardinals)
Gyorko has shouldered the load for a St. Louis Cardinals team that could have started waving the white flag in mid-April. His .351 batting average has been met with a 1.045 OPS, over 200 points higher than his 2016 numbers. Gyorko quietly hit 30 homers last year, and will most likely hit that mark again. The main difference is the jump in his RBI numbers. Gyorko is looking at 33 percent increase.
Also considered: Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies), Justin Turner (Dodgers), Eugenio Suarez (Cincinnati Reds), Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs)
AL Outfield – Aaron Judge (Yankees), Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Avisail Garcia (Chicago White Sox)
The story of this young 2017 season has been the mammoth power hitter in the Bronx, Judge. Judge is the leading contender for Rookie of the Year and his power numbers have been outstanding. Leading the league in OPS and slugging, while also pacing the league in runs scored for the top offense in baseball. Judge has been an absolute force.
Trout is quite simply the best player in the sport. His .355 batting average has helped him in leading the league in on base percentage. This may be the strongest start in the career of the two-time MVP (who finished second in voting his other three seasons). A 30-30 season seems all but guaranteed for Trout. Is a batting title on the horizon?
Garcia is having a breakout season, hitting .336 and sitting seventh in the AL in RBIs. Garcia has lifted himself from the bottom of Chicago’s lineup to their cleanup hitter and most effective player. He also leads all AL right fielders in putouts, showing some range factor.
Also considered: Andrew Benintendi (Boston Red Sox), George Springer (Astros)
NL Outfield: Bryce Harper (Nationals), Marcell Ozuna (Miami Marlins), Adam Duvall (Reds)
Harper is back to MVP form of 2015. The four-time All-Star is hitting .372 with a 1.213 OPS. The only thing that may keep Harper from another MVP is the seasons of teammates Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman. Harper leads the NL in runs and is the most feared hitter on the best team in baseball.
If I had told you that a Marlins outfielder would be getting my vote for the All-Star team, I assume you would expect I voted Giancarlo Stanton, or even Christian Yelich, but Ozuna has been the star of the Marlins so far this season. The batting average, at .320 has been outstanding. And the power numbers, with 11 homers and a 1.018 OPS is strong. Ozuna could put up a 200 hit season. On top of that, the All-Star contender is putting up his finest defensive campaign yet.
The most surprising team in baseball is the Cincinnati Reds. At the center of the Reds’ success is the play of Duvall, who was an All-Star last season. Duvall has put up solid power numbers, sitting in the top 10 in both home runs and RBIs.
Also considered: Stanton, Yelich, Billy Hamilton (Reds), Matt Kemp (Atlanta Braves), Charlie Blackmon (Colorado Rockies), Jay Bruce (New York Mets)
AL Designated Hitter – Nelson Cruz (Mariners)
The stalwart in the middle of the Mariners lineup has been incredible, putting up a .325 batting average, while leading the league in RBIs. The four-time All-Star has showed a more patient approach to the plate, increasing his walk totals in 2017.
Also considered: Trey Mancini (Orioles)