It’s that time of year again where baseball has its yearly popularity contest. Meaning, it’s All-Star voting time. With the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels taking up the major markets it’s tough for those deserving players to get in. It is without doubt guys like Derek Jeter will get in simply because of who he is and the fact that he is retiring. His numbers say he shouldn’t be anywhere near Target Field in Minneapolis. With our Indians truly struggling to start this season its tough to see anybody being voted in. Only the coaches will pick anybody out of this Tribe lineup. Let’s take a position-by-position look at where the Indians actually rank amongst the American League.
1st Base: Nick Swisher. Swisher has seriously underperformed the $15 million he’s due this year. Both on offense and defense. Swish is last amongst AL 1st baseman with an OPS of .653. Tied for 8th in HR’s with 2. 10 RBI’s which ties him for 10th and is 13th with a batting average of just .227. Swisher is also second to last with a .985 fielding percentage. With so many big names at 1st such as Pujols, Cabrera, Fielder, Mauer, and Encarnacion it’s easily safe to say Swisher has 0 chance of making the squad.
2nd Base: Jason Kipnis. Kipnis may be the Tribe’s most popular player, but how do his numbers compare to other 2nd baseman? Compared to other 2nd baseman, Kipnis is having an okay at best season thus far. He is 8th with a .253 average, tied for 2nd with 3 HR’s, and tied 3rd with 12 RBI’s. Kipnis has the second worst fielding percentage amongst AL 2nd baseman at .965. With Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano in the AL, Kipnis is NOT in the ASG this season.
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera was once a top shortstop in all of baseball. That was a few years ago. Cabby seems to have lost it both offensively and defensively. He no longer makes the Web Gem plays he once did and no longer hits the ball consistently. With Derek Jeter announcing his retirement there is no chance it will be any AL shortstop but him starting the game. Unless, of course, he’s hurt. For giggles, Cabrera is 9th with a .218 average, tied 5th with 1 HR (not a HR hitting position), and 5th with 7 RBI’s. He’s 7th with a .977 fielding percentage. While Alexi Ramirez of the White Sox is by far the best shortstop in the AL, Derek Jeter walks away with this position.
3B: Carlos Santana. Santana plays the majority of 3rd for Cleveland while sharing time with Lonnie Chisenhall. Lonnie just doesn’t have enough playing time to be considered although he’s been off to a solid start. Santana is in a slump for the ages. Santana is dead last in average and RBI’s and is tied for last in home runs. He has ABSOLUTELY no chance to make the squad.
C: Yan Gomes. Gomes surprised most of the league last season with his consistent hitting and unbelievable ability to throw out would-be base stealers. This season he is surprising Tribe fans with his inability to play solid defense behind the dish. Gomes is 4th amongst catchers with an average of .268. He’s also towards the bottom in HR’s and RBI’s. One day he could be a yearly fixture at the ASG. This just isn’t one of those years.
RF: David Murphy. Many Tribe fans wanted Nelson Cruz who signed with the Orioles to fill this spot in the outfield. While Murphy hasn’t put up the numbers Cruz has, he has been a nice surprise. He’s 6th with a .286 average, tied for 6th with 2 HR, and leads all RF’s with 17 RBI’s. He certainly deserves votes, but doesn’t have the same name notoriety as guys like Beltran, Bautista, and Hunter. His numbers deserve notice at the position, but nobody outside of Cleveland really knows him.
CF: Michael Bourn. The time he missed while starting the year on the DL could haunt him if he keeps up the way he’s been hitting lately. Mike Trout will run away with the starting job, but Bourn could challenge to be one of the best CF in the AL. He doesn’t have enough AB’s to truly rank him among the guys who have been playing all season. I DO say Bourn will get some solid votes if he keeps up his recent pace.
LF: Michael Brantley. Cleveland’s best and only chance to have a starter in the game. Fans in other cities may not recognize his play, but coaches and other players certainly do. Dr. Smooth has 5 more RBI’s than any other left fielder and is tied 2nd in HR’s. His average only ranks 6th, but he plays defense with the best of them. He may not get voted in, but I GUARANTEE he’s on the team.
When it comes to pitchers, the managers in charge choose them. The Indians don’t have a starter worth a spot on the team. The only one I can see making it would be closer John Axford. He leads the AL in saves and has a solid ERA of 2.79. If the offense and starters give this guy enough opportunities he should be able to be a top consideration for that closers role.
All of this is early and any player can go through a major slump or hot streak. The closer we get to the game the more we’ll know about who’s hot and who’s not when the voting gets into full swing.