Today we continue our look at the All Star teams using true talent estimates (projections) instead of just recent stats. As a reminder, we're using averages of rest of season ZiPS, Oliver, and CHONE. Offensive stats are park-adjusted. Fielding numbers come from Oliver, CHONE, and Steve Sommer's UZR projections. If you missed the NL, here it is: hitters & pitchers.
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Duh. I did think it was interesting to see where Napoli ranked, but I think his fielding numbers might be a bit conservative (he's probably a bit worse--this is why he'll mostly be playing 1B once Mathis returns).
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Cabrera just edges Youkilis for the first spot. First Half Wonder Justin Morneau's projection has gone up a fair bit with his amazing first half, but it's not enough to put him in the same company as the top two. Pretty big dropoff from Big Tex down to Carlos Pena.
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
Pedroia's fielding vaults him over Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler for the starting job,.
Third Base: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Again, it's the fielding that makes the difference here. I heart Evan Longoria, and I'd love to see him start over A-Rod this year.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
What the heck, American League? Maybe I'm just spoiled by looking at Hanley and Tulo in the senior circuit, but there isn't much SS awesomeness going on in the AL right now. Jeter wins the nod by default, with a hat tip to Marco Scutaro and the injured Asdrubal Cabrera.
Left Field: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays
Hamilton's a distant second. Ellsbury's fielding might be underrated here--not sure if it's accounting for his playing LF and not CF. Fred Lewis was a modest surprise at #5.
Center Field: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Remember all the talk this offseason about whether Granderson would need to be platooned? Well, here he is, ranked as the best center fielder in the league. What? He's not #1? Well, technically he's tied, but I gave Granderson the nod given that Sizemore is out for the rest of the season. That's good, because I don't have to try to speculate on what has happened to Sizemore. In other news, Franklin Gutierrez don't get no respect.
Right Field: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
I love how the top three players in this set are all guys who sort of came out of no where over the past few years and have proven to be stars.
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers
I forced everyone is this category's fielding to be zero, since all they are supposed to do is hit. Guerrero has had a terrific first half, which is great to see. Baseball is more fun with Vlad swinging and hitting everything thrown at him.
Last up: AL pitchers!