Results tagged ‘ Curtis Granderson ’
In exchange, the Angels received two low-level prospects in outfielder Exicardo Cayones and lefty Kramer Sneed – but that was little more than a formality.
The real prize is the money they’ll save.
The Yankees are picking up $13.9 million of the $42 million owed to Wells over the final two seasons of his contract. It’s more than expected for a guy who has posted a .222/.258/.409 slash line in 208 games the last two seasons and was the fifth outfielder in the Angels’ depth chart – behind Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Peter Bourjos and designated hitter Mark Trumbo.
But there’s a caveat for both teams.
Prior to the trade, the Angels’ payroll was at about $160 million, but their Competitive Balance Tax payroll – which takes into account the average annual value of all 40-man roster salaries, plus benefits and performance bonuses at the end of the season – was $178 million, the threshold at which first-time offenders are taxed 17.5 percent by Major League Baseball.
For Wells, the Yankees will pay $11.5 million of the $21 million owed to Wells in 2013 and $2.4 million of the $21 million he’s owed in 2014. New York is paying more on the front end because World Baseball Classic officials are paying for Mark Teixeira’s contract while he’s on the disabled list – about $6 million if he returns by mid-May – and because their goal is to get under the CBT threshold in 2014, not 2013.
Wells suited up for the Yankees for their Tuesday night game against the Astros in Tampa, Fla, batting sixth, playing left field and wearing No. 56 (his customary No. 10 belongs to Phil Rizzuto and has already been retired).
“I got goosebumps driving down the road a couple hours after they told me about the trade,” Wells said. “I started thinking about the roll call. I won’t be the guy that gets picked on by the bleachers this time, even though I enjoyed it. Now it’s going to be a little bit different hearing my name and being in pinstripes. It gives me chills now.”
Wells figures to get plenty of playing time in New York, at least early on. Curtis Granderson is not expected to play until early May because of a fractured right forearm and Juan Rivera, considered a leading candidate for the right-handed outfield job, might be the regular first baseman with Teixeira out with a strained right forearm.
The Angels, meanwhile, are left with a thinner bench. But also some much-needed wiggle room.
Asked if he received any advice from former manager Mike Scioscia, Wells responded: “He said, ‘You’re in a good place right now from a baseball standpoint.’ I think he noticed the changes that I made. He said, ‘Just keep doing the things you’ve been doing the past three weeks and have fun with it.’ I told him, ‘That’s fine, I’m just going to try to [Mike] Napoli you guys when I play you.’ I don’t know if you all saw Napoli’s numbers against the Angels, but they were pretty ugly. I’ll just try to do the same thing.”
Thanks to Bryan Hoch for passing along the Wells quotes.
The Angels and Yankees are in talks regarding a deal that would send Vernon Wells to the Bronx, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com on Sunday.
How much money is exchanged in the deal and who the Angels get back — if anyone — is still unknown. The Angels have not made any official announcements. Deals like this, with money changing hands and approval needed by MLB, usually have several hurdles to overcome. Last spring, the Angels and Indians talked extensively about a deal for Bobby Abreu that ultimately fell through.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that the deal “could be done today.”
Wells has a full no trade clause and is owed $42 million over the next two seasons, but he comes into the season as the fifth outfielder in the depth chart — behind Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Josh Hamilton and designated hitter Mark Trumbo.
The 34-year-old outfielder, who has the day off on Sunday, has enjoyed a nice spring, batting .361 (13-for-36) with four homers and 11 RBIs. The Yankees have Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson slated to start the season on the disabled list.
If the deal does go through, it would relieve some of the pressure off Bourjos, who came in as the everyday center fielder but had some pressure to succeed early with Wells on the bench.
The Angels dangled Wells in the offseason, but weren’t able to find anyone willing to take on much of any of his contract in a trade.
Wells, who plans to retire after the 2014 season, has been very accepting of his role all spring, saying he understands he comes in as a reserve and just wants to fight for playing time.
“I put myself in this position,” Wells said early in spring. “Obviously, some guys played well last year. You have the most exciting player in the game in Mike Trout; Trumbo, who’s one of the most powerful guys in this league when it comes to hitting a baseball; you sign Josh Hamilton; and you have Peter. Peter deserves a chance. What he had to go through last year was far more difficult than what anybody had to go through, sitting and watching that entire time. There’s a lot of things at play. I understand that.”
With the Blue Jays from 2002-10, Wells posted a .279/.330/.478 slash line, won two Gold Gloves and made three All-Star teams. But he hasn’t been able to duplicate that success since coming to Anaheim, in a January 2011 deal that saw the Angels send Juan Rivera, Mike Napoli and $81 million of the $86 million owed to Wells.
Wells hit 25 homers in 2011, but posted the lowest batting average (.218) and on-base percentage (.248) in the Majors. He batted .244 with six homers in the first two months of 2012, then missed the next two months with thumb surgery and, with Trout producing, hardly played the rest of the way.
I wrote recently about the Angels’ own prestigious “Big Three” of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — how they could potentially hold up historically and in this era.
But how do they hold up in 2013? There’s little debate that the Angels now have the most talented and celebrated lineup trio in baseball, giving them arguably the game’s most potent offense. But I was a little stunned that their 2012 stats didn’t show it.
In fact, when combining each of their OPS from 2012, the Angels’ trio ranked third, behind those of the Tigers and Reds. Below is the top 15, based on combined OPS of the top three current players in each lineup (minimum is 400 plate appearances) …
- Tigers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson): 2.795
- Reds (Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce): 2.759
- Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton): 2.752
- Brewers (Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart): 2.729
- Red Sox (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli*): 2.635
- Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera): 2.627
- Cardinals (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina): 2.627
- Rangers (Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski): 2.607
- Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin): 2.602
- Pirates (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez): 2.569
- D-backs (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel): 2.565
- Yankees (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira): 2.547
- Twins (Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit): 2.532
- Giants (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt): 2.527
- Dodgers (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez): 2.524
* Napoli’s deal still hasn’t been finalized.
** A special thanks to all of you for making this blog the 10th-most popular among MLB.com beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae.
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA)
Pitching: RH Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.50 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Dan Haren (lower back stiffness) had an encouraging bullpen session back in Anaheim on Thursday. Mike Scioscia said he “came out of it well.” He’ll throw another one in Inland Empire on Saturday and then they’ll see if he’s ready for a rehab appearance. As for whether he can come back around the time he’s eligible to, on Thursday, Scioscia said: “We’re going to take it one step at a time, but we’re very encouraged with the way he threw his ‘pen, and we’re just going to evaluate him one step at a time. We’ll have more information as he gets through his bullpen tomorrow, to see when he’s ready for a rehab and when he comes out of that, how close he is.”
- The Angels signed 38 of their 40 Draft choices and spent way below their spending pool — to be expected, since they didn’t have a pick in the first two rounds.
- Trout (surprise!) won the Heart & Hustle Award for the Angels.
- Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) has been throwing to about 150 feet and is scheduled to throw to bases early next week in Detroit. Shortly after that, he can progress towards a rehab assignment — if all goes well.
- Jerome Williams, who will start on Saturday, feels good and was encouraged by completing six innings in his recent rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake on July 6.
- Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) has been taking batting practice on the field. Scioscia said he’ll need about a week of that and then should be ready for a rehab assignment shortly thereafter.
Some Angels.com links …
- Angels not counting on major moves at Deadline
- With Trout on board, sky’s the limit
- Angels set rotation schedule
- Preview, on the series opener against the Yankees
Some AL West links …
- Healthy staff key for Texas as Deadline nears
- Ryan Cook fans two during ‘dream’ All-Star Game
- Lineup stability key for Mariners
Ray Allen ‘excited’ to join Heat. (Me too.)
KANSAS CITY — Mark Trumbo impressed a lot of people with his Home Run Derby showing on Monday night, even though he was eliminated in a tiebreaker swing-off by Jose Bautista. Asked for his favorite of the 13 through the first two rounds, Trumbo narrowed it down to two — the one that landed on the roof of the Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field bleachers (measured at a conservative 428 feet); and the smoking line drive out to straightaway center (420).
“I’d say the one on top of the roof,” Trumbo said, before backtracking — “but the one to center was impressive. I think a lot of the guys really liked the line drive.”
Trumbo’s average distance per home run — 434 feet — was the longest among the competitors, including champion Prince Fielder. He started off slow each round, then got into a little bit of a rhythm towards the middle, but felt he could’ve done better.
“I felt like I never really got into a great rhythm,” Trumbo said. “It seemed like I’d hit one, make an out, and then have to take a few pitches. Ideally, the goal is to get into an extended rhythm, kind of like Prince did, and then rattle off a better total. My biggest thing was just to have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I wanted to get one. That was the advice — don’t get a goose egg.”
Trumbo’s favorite moment?
“[David Ortiz] pulled me aside before I left yesterday and that was really cool,” he said. “He was telling me it took him three or four times of doing it to really feel like he — not had it down, but had a chance. Things move very, very quickly when you’re out there. You can’t really simulate that.”
But C.J. Wilson, at least, can capture it.
As usual, Wilson was out there with his camera and estimated taking roughly 800 photos of the Derby participants. He’ll look over them when he has time in the next few days and print them out for Trumbo to keep.
“I had my brand-new camera out there, taking some cool images that I’ll process while we’re on the road in the next couple days and see if I can come up with some winners,” Wilson said. “It’s just fun. Jered [Weaver] and Mike [Trout] and I were out there just trying to hype him up and keep him motivated and have a good time. It’s a lot of pressure out there, when you’re the only guy batting for a couple minutes at a time in front of the fans.”
Trumbo’s roommate also TiVo’d it. But many of those in attendance won’t need reminders of the show Trumbo put on. Many were impressed.
“I know my Twitter following went way up,” Trumbo said with a smile.
“Any time I’m in something, I want to win. But I’m going to take away some really cool memories from it.”
Some other pre-All Star Game notes
- Asked about their friendship in a pregame presser, Trout joked of Bryce Harper: “We don’t like each other.” Bryce: “It’s like Bird and Magic. He’s Magic, I’m Bird.”
- Maybe more LeBron and Wade? “I hope I play with [Trout] one day,” Harper said. “I think him playing center field, me playing right field, as a one-two punch, I think that’d be fun.”
- Trout was asked who wins in a footrace between him and Peter Bourjos. His response: “I think Peter’s got me around the bases in an inside-the-parker, but home to first, we were talking about it the other day, I think I have him by a couple of steps.”
- Weaver was told he’ll pitch the fifth inning tonight. As for how it affects him for the second half? It’s just like a normal bullpen session.
- Trout and Trumbo are not really sure when they’ll get in. “I have all my gloves, as usual,” Trumbo said. C.J., of course, is sitting out due to a blister he doesn’t expect to impact his second half.
- Weaver on not being named the starter for the All-Star Game a second straight year, despite leading the Majors with a 1.96 ERA: “I told you guys, whatever happens, I’m just excited to be here, be a part of it. Obviously it would’ve been cool to start back-to-back years, but I’m just excited to be able to get out there and throw an inning and just be part of this whole experience. It’s fun. It’s great to hang out with all these guys and just see who they are as a person instead of just battling against him.”
- One guy Weaver was really excited to get to know a little better here: Adam Dunn. “He’s a funny character, man.”
Some Angels All-Star Game links …
- Not surprisingly, Trout the center of attention in KC
- Futures Game story, on Jean Segura and Ariel Pena
- Blister forces Wilson to sit out All-Star Game
Some intriguing All-Star Game stories …
- Richard Justice, on Harper and Trout
- Robinson Cano didn’t have a great HR Derby experience
- R.A. Dickey, David Wright not starting despite great halves
- The Rangers have an entire caravan at the All-Star Game
- All-Stars set for Royal treatment (get it?)
The lineups …
Carlos Gonzalez, DH (COL)
Melky Cabrera, CF (SFG)
Ryan Braun, LF (MIL)
Joey Votto, 1B (CIN)
Carlos Beltran, RF (StL)
Buster Posey, C (SFG)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (SFG)
Dan Uggla, 2B (ATL)
Rafael Furcal, SS (StL)
SP: RH Matt Cain (SFG)
SP: RH Justin Verlander (DET)
Pitching: LH Andy Pettitte (2-1, 2.53 ERA)
Pitching: RH Dan Haren (2-5, 3.76 ERA)
Some postgame notes …
- So, Jered Weaver will be going on the disabled list with a lower back strain. My guess is he misses a little less than a month, but just a guess at this point. Garrett Richards is up. He’ll be available out of the bullpen these last couple of games. With the off day, the earliest he’ll pitch is Sunday (though Haren may be available for that) and the latest he’ll pitch is Tuesday (since Jerome Williams would be required to go on three days’ rest by that point).
- Hunter, as evidenced by the starting lineup, was activated from the restricted list, with infielder Andrew Romine being sent back down to Triple-A Salt Lake. Mike Scioscia obviously feels comfortable that Hunter is ready to go.
- As for how the outfield situation will play out moving forward? Scioscia said it’ll fluctuate, but I’m thinking the most common lineup you’ll see will have Hunter in right, Trout in center and Trumbo in left, with Bourjos and Kole Calhoun backing up.
- Kendrys Morales (5-for-9 with a homer and five RBIs the last couple games) is fine; just sitting because there’s a lefty starting. Scioscia said he’ll be back out there on Wednesday.
Some Angels links from Memorial Day …
- Trumbo, Angels walk off for seventh straight win
- Notebook, on Weaver leaving his start early, Hunter returning, Memorial Day festivities and some injury updates
- Halos, Haren try to make it eight straight
Some AL West links …
- The Rangers have signed Roy Oswalt (might he have been an option for the Angels if they hadn’t?)
- The A’s are taking their time with Manny Ramirez
- The Mariners are weighing their options with Ichiro Suzuki
And the Heat pulled out Game 1 of the ECF’s against the Celtics, in a game they really had control of for most of the night.
Oh, and don’t forget to follow Penn State grad and new MLB.com associate reporter Joe McIntyre on Twitter. He’ll be helping me out this summer.
SP: RH Ervin Santana (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
SP: RH Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 6.35 ERA)
Some notes from this morning …
- Scott Downs (right ankle) will be avoiding a trip to the DL — at least for now. No structural or ligament damage in the ankle, but he’s day to day and my guess is he won’t pitch this weekend. He definitely won’t pitch today.
- RHP David Carpenter was called up in order to add some depth to the bullpen, with utility man Alexi Amarista being sent down. LHP Brad Mills was here in case Downs had to go on the DL, and he’ll stick around for the weekend just in case he has a setback.
- Jerry Dipoto said he’ll continue to search “under every rock” for bullpen help, but added: “There’s not a surplus of available, high-quality Major League relievers. We have a variety of arms in our ‘pens that we feel comfortable in. We have find the right roles for those guys.”
- Mike Scioscia, on Trumbo’s confidence at third base: “He’s a pretty tough kid, but there’s always confidence levels in every player that you have to monitor. I think on the defensive side, Mark is confident he can make the plays, but to translate into him relaxing and using his athleticism, I think it’s going to take a couple of plays on the field that he makes and says, ‘Hey, I’m here.’”
- Pujols addressed the NY media via a morning press conference. Asked about whether he’s thinking too much at the plate, Pujols said: ” “We’re human. I’m human. Sometimes that’s going to happen no matter how good you prepare yourself. Sometimes, we want to press a little bit and try to do too much.
Some Angels links from Thursday …
- Angels let six-run lead vs. Twins slip away
- X-rays negative on Downs’ ankle
- Pujols “all business” about his trip to NY
- Early struggles not a concern for Pujols
- Jerome Williams officially named fifth starter
- Santana set to take ball in Yanks home opener
Some AL West links …
- Rangers manager Ron Washington not worried about Joe Nathan
- Mariners can’t pull off comeback vs. Texas
- Thriving Josh Reddick buying into new way of hitting
And the Heat suffered another heart-breaking road loss — this one to the Bulls in OT.
Leading up to Opening Day, I’ll roll out an All-Star team for each of the six divisions in baseball — that includes a manager, a starting nine (with a DH also for the National League), three starters and two relievers. One catch: Each team must have at least one representative, and the skipper doesn’t count. Feel free to submit your own lineups below. I’d love to see how yours differ.
Day 2: AL East
All you need to know about how stacked this division is: A-Rod is batting eighth.
Manager: Joe Maddon, TBR
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (BOS)
Yunel Escobar, SS (TOR)
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B (BOS)
Jose Bautista, RF (TOR)
Robinson Cano, 2B (NYY)
Evan Longoria, 3B (TBR)
Curtis Granderson, LF (NYY)
Alex Rodriguez, DH (NYY)
Matt Wieters, C (BAL)
SP: CC Sabathia, NYY
SP: James Shields, TBR
SP: Jon Lester, BOS
Mariano Rivera, NYY
Andrew Bailey, BOS
Here’s an interesting question: If you’re the Yankees, do you want to win the American League East?
With the Yankees coming off three straight wins and currently leading their division by a half-game over the Red Sox, I found myself doing something managers and players shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) ever do: Thinking about playoff matchups with an entire month of the regular season left.
Barring a late charge by the White Sox, Indians and Angels, the playoff picture looks pretty set right now, with the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Rangers making up the slate. What we don’t know is who will face who in the two five-game AL Division Series, which comes down to matchups more than anything else.
As of right now, the winner of the AL East would face the Tigers and the winner of the AL Wild Card would face the Rangers. Of course, Detroit and Texas can flip-flop, since only a couple of games separate the two. But that brings me to an interesting question: If you’re the Yankees, do you prefer to face the Tigers or the Rangers?
The Rangers are a better all-around team, with a fierce offense, a loaded bullpen and a solid rotation. But with the Tigers, you have to face Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander twice — and we all know how big an impact a staff ace can have on a short series.
Here’s a look at how those matchups played out in the regular season …
Season series: Tigers, 4-3 (1-2 at Yankee Stadium, 3-1 at Comerica Park)
Key Yankees pitchers: CC Sabathia (0-1, 4.15 ERA in 2 GS); Freddy Garcia (0-1, 5.14 ERA in 1 GS); Bartolo Colon (5.73 ERA in 2 G, 1 GS); Phil Hughes (11.25 ERA, 1 GS); A.J. Burnett (1-1, 3.75 ERA, 2 GS); Mariano Rivera (0 ER, 2 1/3 IP); Rafael Soriano (0 ER, 1 IP); David Robertson (0 ER, 2 IP); Boone Logan (1 ER, 1 2/3 IP)
Key Tigers pitchers: Justin Verlander (4.50 ERA, 2 GS); Rick Porcello (1-0, 2.57 ERA, 1 GS); Max Scherzer (2-0, 4.15 ERA, 2 GS); Brad Penny (1-1, 6.97 ERA, 2 GS); Jose Valverde (2 ER, 4 2/3 IP); Phil Coke (2 ER, 2 1/3 IP); Joaquin Benoit (0 ER, 2 IP); Daniel Schlereth (1 ER, 4 IP)
Key Yankees hitters: Robinson Cano (.200 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI); Curtis Granderson (.160 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI); Alex Rodriguez (.320 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI); Derek Jeter (.261 BA, 1 RBI, 2 BB); Mark Teixeira (.280 BA, 4 HR, 8 RBI); Brett Gardner (.273 BA, 1 RBI, 4 BB)
Key Tigers hitters: Miguel Cabrera (.417 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI); Austin Jackson (.167 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI); Alex Avila (.263 BA, 2 HR, 3 RBI); Victor Martinez (.263 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI); Jhonny Peralta (.261 BA, 2 RBI, 2 SO); Brennan Boesch (.474 BA, 4 HR, 7 RBI)
Worth noting: The fact the Tigers and Yankees got all their regular-season games against each other out of the way in early May makes it difficult to give these numbers much weight. The Yankees beat up on sub-par pitching, which is what they’ll get every time Verlander doesn’t toe the rubber against them (minus Verlander, Tigers starters are 38-39 with a 4.84 ERA). Verlander is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in his career against the Yankees. But the way he’s going right now, two starts in a series for him essentially means two wins for the Tigers, no matter what other factors revolve around him.
Season series: Yankees, 7-2 (5-1 at Yankee Stadium, 2-1 at Rangers Ballpark)
Key Yankees pitchers: CC Sabathia (2-0, 5.12 ERA in 2 GS); Freddy Garcia (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 GS); Bartolo Colon (10.38 ERA in 1 GS); Mariano Rivera (0 ER, 5 IP); Rafael Soriano (2 ER, 3 2/3 IP); David Robertson (0 ER, 3 1/3 IP); Boone Logan (2 ER, 2 IP)
Key Rangers pitchers: CJ Wilson (2.25 ERA in 1 GS); Alexi Ogando (0-1, 12.38 ERA in 2 GS); Matt Harrison (1-1, 1.93 ERA in 2 GS); Derek Holland (0-2, 8.62 ERA in 3 GS); Neftali Feliz (4 ER, 3 IP); Darren Oliver (0 ER, 4 1/3 IP)
Key Yankees hitters: Robinson Cano (.270 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI); Brett Gardner (.381 BA, 2 RBI, 1 BB); Curtis Granderson (.438 BA, 6 HR, 13 RBI); Mark Teixeira (.263 BA, 4 HR, 12 RBI); Alex Rodriguez (.208 BA, 3 RBI, 6 BB); Derek Jeter (.385 BA, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
Key Rangers hitters: Elvis Andrus (.263 BA, 2 RBI, 2 BB); Adrian Beltre (.265 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI); Ian Kinsler (.111, 1 HR, 4 RBI); Michael Young (.400 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI); Nelson Cruz (.059 BA, 3 BB, 9 SO); Josh Hamilton (.231 BA, 1 RBI, 2 BB)
Worth noting: The Rangers may be the better all-around team, and they may have beaten them in last year’s ALCS, but the Yankees have absolutely dominated the series this year, and their hitters have mashed their good-but-not-great pitching. The Yankees are one of the most difficult teams in baseball to pitch against, because they’re loaded with firepower and because they’re one of the best at working the count and taking pitches. Last year, the Rangers were able to beat them with a clear-cut ace in Cliff Lee leading their staff. This year, the Rangers’ rotation has been very good, but there is no Lee or Verlander in there, which means the Yankees can beat everybody in their rotation.
If you’re New York, do you prefer that matchup, even if it means playing three out of five on the road? Or do you go up against an inferior Tigers team with a superior ace?
That’s the question.
… But only slightly.
See, I never expect perfection when so many fans from so many different places and with so many different biases vote so many times. But, I gotta say, the 32.5 million of you who voted this year didn’t do half-bad. Of course, I would’ve made a few changes.
Here’s my lineup …
Catcher- Alex Avila, Tigers: Easy choice. Joe Mauer has barely played, Carlos Santana has struggled, and Russell Martin‘s production at the plate went south after a hot start.
First base- Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: Another no-brainer. He’s fitting in perfectly at Fenway, and if not for a man named Bautista, he’s the best hitter going.
Second base- Robinson Cano, Yankees: Something tells me he’ll be dominating this position for years to come.
Third base- Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: Solid, healthy year — and you can’t say the same about Evan Longoria.
Shortstop- Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: I’m sorry, but you can’t pick Derek Jeter (pictured above by The Associated Press). I could understand if this was his final year and you want to send him out a la Cal Ripken Jr. But Cabrera has been an offensive and defensive key for the thriving Indians.
Outfield- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: Um, yeah, he’s good.
Outfield- Curtis Granderson, Yankees: Off to one of his best starts while looking very good in that 2 hole.
Outfield- Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: He’s providing what Boston needs from him — getting on base, stealing bases and serving as a steady presence at the top of the order — while putting up power numbers to boot.
Designated hitter- David Ortiz, Red Sox: “Big Papi” needed a good start in his walk year, and he has it.
Catcher- Brian McCann, Braves: Unreal that he’s made it to six straight All-Star Games and hadn’t started one until this year. Glad that will change.
First base- Joey Votto, Reds: He’s the reigning NL MVP and is off to another great start even if the power numbers aren’t where they were at this point last year. (I know what you’re thinking, but keep reading.)
Second base- Rickie Weeks, Brewers: All-around solid year, and Chase Utley is still working his way back.
Third base- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: Having a solid year, and for some reason very few realize it.
Shortstop- Jose Reyes, Mets: No doubt about this one. Not sure why it took him so long to pass Troy Tulowitzki.
Outfield- Ryan Braun, Brewers: One of baseball’s best keeps getting better.
Outfield- Matt Kemp, Dodgers: He’s the first half’s NL MVP if not for a guy named Reyes. Looks like a change in managers has done him well, for whatever reason.
Outfield- Lance Berkman, Cardinals: Didn’t expect him to have the first half he’s had, but glad to see I was wrong.
Designated hitter- Prince Fielder, Brewers: Not fair? Hey, it’s my lineup!