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J.D. Martinez will be the starting DH fo

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# 08.02.2018 - 07:45:27

It's time for my second Anders Nilsson Youth jersey annual way-too-early All-Star teams. This is a tough assignment! We should turn this into a contest, that's how difficult it is. Last year I successfully named a whopping 28 of 71 All-Stars. You may think that's a lousy percentage, but only 23 players were All-Stars in both 2016 and 2017. Consider some of last year's All-Stars: Justin Smoak, Corey Dickerson, Yonder Alonso,

Avisail Garcia, Chris Devenski, Alex Wood and Corey Knebel. Nobody would have Alejandro Villanueva Jersey predicted any of those players to make it in February. And veterans like Jason Vargas, Ryan Zimmerman and Zack Cozart had monster first halves to get there. I nailed Robbie Ray, but missed badly on Robert Gsellman (I did, however, predict an injury for Noah Syndergaard).

This year's way-too-early All-Star selection process is made even more difficult by all the unsigned free agents, as we don't even know what teams some potential All-Stars will be playing for. On top of that, we have to account for what the fans might do -- last year, I had Cubs fans voting in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber as starters, and none even made the team -- plus we have to have a representative from every team, including the Marlins. And remember that rosters were cut from 34 to 32 players last year.
Yes, I'm predicting Hosmer to re-sign with the Royals and Martinez to sign with the Red Sox and both to become All-Star starters. ... AL first base lacks an obvious favorite to win the fan vote, especially if Miguel Cabrera doesn't bounce back. Smoak was the starter last year, but look for Royals fans to enthusiastically support Hosmer, the 2016 starter. He'll have to get off to a better start than last year, however, when he hit .225 with one home run in April. ... Salvador Perez has started the past four All-Star Games, but Sanchez unseats
him thanks to his prolific offensive production. ... Jose Ramirez started at third base last year and might end up on the ballot at second, so I'm going with Donaldson being healthy out of the gate and putting up big numbers. ... Shortstop will be a fun vote with Correa, Francisco Lindor and now Manny Machado, but Correa is my preseason AL MVP favorite, so I'm predicting big things. ... Stanton might be listed as a DH, but let's put him in the outfield in a stellar starting trio.
The players will vote in Perez as the backup, but Mike Zunino could be a surprise here. He was second to Sanchez in WAR among AL catchers in 2017. ... If Abreu doesn't make it, I have no idea who ends up representing the White Sox since Garcia is an obvious regression candidate. ... It's too soon for Yoan Moncada, plus second base is loaded with Schoop, Robinson Cano and Brian Dozier. Schoop made it last year and I'm buying a Womens Shawn Kelley Jersey repeat of his breakout season. ... As I went through the rosters, Beltre was my final selection as the lone choice from the
Rangers. He last made the All-Star team in 2014, although AL third base remains loaded with up-and-coming potential All-Stars like Alex Bregman and Matt Chapman. ... A couple years ago, AL outfield was so weak that Michael Saunders, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond and an aging Carlos Beltran were All-Stars. There's much more depth now, with defensive whiz Buxton a good bet to make his first All-Star team. ... Davis beats out Nelson Cruz, last year's AL RBI leader, for the second DH spot.
So many good choices for starting pitchers as I left out Luis Severino, Dallas Keuchel and Marcus Stroman among others. Aaron Sanchez, a 2016 All-Star and that year's AL ERA champ, is another starter to watch if he can keep the blisters from popping up. ... Verlander fixed his mechanics in the second half last year when he went 10-2, 1.95. He will be a preseason Cy Young favorite alongside Kluber and Sale. ... How good will the Cole trade look if he makes the All-Star team? ... This is the year Paxton finally stays healthy and makes 30 starts. ...
Chris Archer is the more obvious pick for the Rays, but we know there has to be a surprise here, so let's go off the charts for Snell. The young lefty has top-shelf stuff and got his delivery in order in the second half, when he posted a 3.49 ERA and improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio from 1.32 in the first half to 2.96. He's a strong breakout candidate. ... I'd love to see Miggy make the team, since that means he's mashing again, but his poor 2017 performance and back issues are a concern, so Greene is my pick for the Tigers. ... We have to pick somebody from that dominant Yankees bullpen and Green is my guy. Batters swing through his high-spin four-seamer as he struck out 103 in just 69 innings. He's not the closer, but he’ll give Aaron Boone a valuable midgame option.

Posey makes his fourth straight at catcher, edging out Yadier Molina in the voting. ... National League first base is the most loaded position in the majors. Zimmerman was the starter last year, Rizzo in 2016 and Paul Goldschmidt in 2015, so the fan voting could go in any direction. Joey Votto might Hayes Pullard Womens Jersey be the best, but hasn't started since 2013. How about another new starter in Freeman? He was hitting .341/.461/.748 when he was hit by a pitch and fractured his wrist on May 17. ... Second base is pretty weak, so let's give Murphy his second straight appearance there. ... Arenado won the voting last year, and I'll project him again, although it feels weird to have no Cubs starters given their rabid fan base. ...

Kenley Jansen ripped Dodgers fans after Cozart beat out Seager in the voting last year, but Seager should make his third straight appearance and first as a starter ... Harper is an easy choice and Ozuna actually has started the past two All-Star Games. Pham is my surprise choice, but he had a quietly awesome all-around season, and Cardinals fans will vote well if he gets off to a good start.
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