The all-star teams were announced yesterday, and by the sheer number of first basemen on the rosters you can tell which end of the offense/defensive spectrum is considered during the team building process. Michael Young? Sure, Franklin Gutierrez? Ew, no. With that in mind, today I’m going to crown the all-star teams compiled completely of the best defenders in each league. Since we don’t have a central thought process on how to evaluate catchers defense, I’ll skip over those roster spots. Also I went by qualified players only, so some, like Ben Zobrist at second, have a really good case, but don’t qualify due to playing time at the position.
First up, the National League.
1B: Derrek Lee, Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Brandon Phillips, Freddy Sanchez
3B: Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Feliz
SS: Jack Wilson, J.J. Hardy, Rafael Furcal
COF: Nyjer Morgan, Colby Rasmus, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, Randy Winn
CF: Matt Kemp, Mike Cameron
Any team in need of a defensive middle infielder for the rest of the season should call the Pirates. Zimmerman is really good, and probably has a real all-star bid locked down until Stephen Strasburg becomes the greatest pitcher in the universe. Lots of youth in the outfield with Rasmus, Bruce, and Upton; what are the odds that those three make up a few real all-star outfielders during their careers? Naitonals/Pirates representation, it doesn’t matter, Morgan is the starter in left.
1B: Paul Konerko, Miguel Cabrera
2B: Howie Kendrick, Placido Polanco
3B: Joe Crede, Brandon Inge, Evan Longoria
SS: Marco Scutaro, Elvis Andrus
COF: David DeJesus, Nelson Cruz, Juan Rivera, Ichiro
CF: Franklin Gutierrez, B.J. Upton, Ryan Sweeney
What a ridiculous quartet of defensive talent at third base. If Adrian Beltre were healthy, the AL would have four third basemen with 8+ UZR. Originally I had Ian Kinsler on the team as the third second baseman, but I’m pretty sure Evan Longoria could fill in at second and produce 5+ UZR. The most surprising placer is probably Juan Rivera. Given his recent fielding history his UZR this year seems like a small sample size mirage, his last good fielding season was in 2005 after all. How fun would a Gutierrez, Upton, and Ichiro outfield be to watch? Don’t get any ideas, Seattleites.
Since no all-star team is complete without gimmicky vote-in schemes, here’s a list of five in each league worthy of your consideration for addition.
All things considered, I’m not too sure out team of defenders couldn’t defeat the real all-stars.