My All-Star Team

July 10, 2005

Meet the new faces of baseball. Conspicuous by their absence on my 2005 All-Star teams are the eight active home run leaders and their combined 52 All-Star appearances: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Juan Gonzalez and Jim Thome.

Of the 20 players chosen, 13 are in their 20s. These teams also reflect the increasing Latinization of the game. As many All-Stars were born in Latin America as in the U.S.

Fan balloting in the American League was much more on the money than in the National League, where I took issue with six of the eight starters.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

 

FIRST BASE -- MARK TEIXEIRA -- TEXAS RANGERS

At 25 the switch-hitter has earned the first of what should be many All-Star nods. Since last year's All-Star break, Teixeira has belted 42 homers and driven in 128 runs.

FANS' PICK -- TEIXEIRA

 

SECOND BASE -- BRIAN ROBERTS -- BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Roberts was second in the majors in OPS and slugging percentage at week's end. Not bad for a guy who once had to share time with Jerry Hairston.

FANS' PICK -- ROBERTS

 

SHORTSTOP -- MIGUEL TEJADA -- BALTIMORE ORIOLES

He's third in the league in slugging and has yet to go more than two consecutive games without a hit or more than four straight without driving in a run.

FANS' PICK -- TEJADA

 

THIRD BASE -- ALEX RODRIGUEZ -- NEW YORK YANKEES

In his second season as a Yankee, Rodriguez has hit .323 with runners in scoring position and was second in the AL in homers and RBIs at week's end.

FANS' PICK -- RODRIGUEZ

 

CATCHER -- JASON VARITEK -- BOSTON RED SOX

The Red Sox captain studies the game and blocks the plate with equal ferocity. Not to be overlooked, his slugging percentage is a career-high .556.

FANS' PICK -- VARITEK

 

OUTFIELD -- VLADIMIR GUERRERO -- LOS ANGELES ANGELS

The free-swinging slugger has drawn only 15 unintentional walks all year, but Guerrero still leads all outfielders in OPS. He hit .440 in June.

FANS' PICK -- GUERRERO

 

OUTFIELD -- MANNY RAMIREZ -- BOSTON RED SOX

He was hitting .224 on May 27, but he never lost his knack for driving in runs. He has hit .354 with men in scoring position this year and leads the league in RBIs (68).

FANS' PICK -- RAMIREZ

 

OUTFIELD -- GARY SHEFFIELD -- NEW YORK YANKEES

As reliably productive as ever at age 36, Sheffield ranked fifth among AL outfielders in OPS, third in on-base percentage and fourth in RBIs.

FANS' PICK -- JOHNNY DAMON, Red Sox

 

STARTING PITCHER -- ROY HALLADAY -- TORONTO BLUE JAYS

The 28-year-old righthander is better than he's ever been, including his 2003 Cy Young Award season. In his first 17 starts he went 11--4 with a 2.40 ERA and walked only 13 batters unintentionally while striking out 98.

 

RELIEF PITCHER -- MARIANO RIVERA -- NEW YORK YANKEES

After opening the season with two blown saves against the Red Sox, Rivera has converted 17 consecutive save chances without allowing a run. He's given up only three earned runs all season, one since April 6.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

 

FIRST BASE -- DERREK LEE -- CHICAGO CUBS

Lee could become only the fifth player to hit 40 homers while batting at least .375. The others are all Hall of Famers: Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Chuck Klein and Babe Ruth.

FANS' PICK -- LEE

 

SECOND BASE -- CHASE UTLEY -- PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Utley is a Philly fan favorite because of his aggressive style, and because he can hit. He led NL second basemen in OPS (.916) and slugging percentage (.532).

FANS' PICK -- JEFF KENT, Dodgers

 

SHORTSTOP -- FELIPE LOPEZ -- CINCINNATI REDS

The Reds didn't even have him in their Opening Day lineup. But Lopez has outproduced every shortstop in the league (.303, 13 homers, 45 RBIs).

FANS' PICK -- DAVID ECKSTEIN, Cardinals

 

THIRD BASE -- MORGAN ENSBERG -- HOUSTON ASTROS

Houston's best clutch hitter (.313 with runners in scoring position) led NL third basemen in homers (20, five short of his career high) and RBIs (54).

FANS' PICK -- SCOTT ROLEN, Cardinals

 

CATCHER -- RAMON HERNANDEZ -- SAN DIEGO PADRES

Where have you gone, Johnny Bench and Gary Carter? Hernandez, who's on the DL with an injured left wrist, earns the spot with his superior defense.

FANS' PICK -- MIKE PIAZZA, Mets

 

OUTFIELD -- MIGUEL CABRERA -- FLORIDA MARLINS

Imagine how good he'll be when he grows up. Cabrera, 22, has hit better than .300 in each of the three months this season and batted .344 with runners in scoring position.

FANS' PICK -- JIM EDMONDS, Cardinals

 

OUTFIELD -- ANDRUW JONES -- ATLANTA BRAVES

Jones, the major league leader in home runs at week's end (25), is keeping the Braves afloat with what may be his first-ever 40-homer season.

FANS' PICK -- CARLOS BELTRAN, Mets

 

OUTFIELD -- BOBBY ABREU -- PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Abreu leads all NL outfielders in OPS (.982), hits 67 points higher with runners on base (.348) than without (.281) and has stolen 20 bases in 23 tries.

FANS' PICK -- ABREU

 

STARTING PITCHER -- ROGER CLEMENS -- HOUSTON ASTROS

Clemens has been better than Dontrelle Willis, with a lower ERA (1.50 to 2.04), more K's (104 to 85) and a lower opponent batting average (.182 to .253). The Astros have scored two or fewer runs in half of his 16 starts.

 

RELIEF PITCHER -- CHAD CORDERO -- WASHINGTON NATIONALS

He's been everything you want in a closer: He doesn't walk batters (10 in 41.1 innings), keeps the ball in the ballpark (three homers allowed), has strikeout stuff and is fearless with the game on the line.

TWO COLOR PHOTOS COLOR PHOTOBOB ROSATO COLOR PHOTOAL TIELEMANS COLOR PHOTOBOB ROSATO COLOR PHOTOBOBLEVEY/WIREIMAGE.COM COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECK COLOR PHOTOHEINZ KLUETMEIER COLOR PHOTOROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME COLOR PHOTOBRAD MANGIN COLOR PHOTOJOHN BIEVER COLOR PHOTOED WOLFSTEIN/ICON SMI COLOR PHOTOAL TIELEMANS COLOR PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER COLOR PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON COLOR PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON COLOR PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER COLOR PHOTOJOHN CORDES/ICON SMI COLOR PHOTOJOHN IACONO COLOR PHOTOJOHN IACONO COLOR PHOTOROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME COLOR PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)