I'm a little late getting my picks in this year, considering the game is just in a few hours, but here they are. If you're interested in a blast from the past, here are my selections for 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.
#13 / Catcher / Detroit Tigers
Jan 29, 1987
|2011 - Alex Avila||76||245||30||70||18||3||10||46||36||70||3||0||.286||.370||.506|
For the first time in a few years, the catcher position didn't have one starter who was head-and-shoulders above his competition. There are a handful of backstops who deserve the nod this season, I just happen to think Detroit's Avila edges out the rest. His 2.7 wins above replacement paces the position, while his weighted on-base average (wOBA) and weighted runs created (wRC+) give him distance from the next best option.
Previous Selections: 0
Runner-Up: Matt Wieters, Orioles (Not a strong choice, but Victor Martinez is primarily a DH these days and Carlos Santana has played significant time at first base, so my backup is Wieters by a hair over A.J. Pierzynski)
#28 / First Base / Boston Red Sox
May 08, 1982
|2011 - Adrian Gonzalez||89||362||64||128||29||3||17||77||35||65||1||0||.354||.414||.591|
One the best and most truly powerful players in the game today, Gonzalez was an easy pick for me. Good eye at the plate, great pitch recognition and plate coverage, truly majestic power. He's on pace for an 8+ WAR season.
Previous Selections: 3 (2008 - 2010)
Runner-Up: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
#15 / Second Base / Boston Red Sox
Aug 17, 1983
|2011 - Dustin Pedroia||87||342||59||97||19||1||11||44||63||49||16||3||.284||.395||.442|
There are a lot of really good choices at second base this year. Pedroia is a solid combination of defense, offense and speed on the bases, and in his career he's consistently been one of the best second basemen in the game. Plus it's always nice to cheer for the underdog, the guy who was always told he wasn't big enough to be a successful Major Leaguer.
#20 / Third Base / Boston Red Sox
Mar 15, 1979
|2011 - Kevin Youkilis||83||295||52||84||26||1||13||63||49||68||1||0||.285||.399||.512|
Alex Rodriguez is out, so he loses his spot to his counterpart on his East coast rival. His 3.3 WAR is second to A-Rod, but both his wOBA and wRC+ lead American League third basemen. Very good power, and of course incredible plate discipline and strike zone judgment. He's 32 now, but he's still one of the premier players at his position.
#27 / Short Stop / Detroit Tigers
May 28, 1982
|2011 - Jhonny Peralta||82||295||40||92||16||3||14||50||24||52||0||2||.312||.362||.529|
Just when you thought Peralta's days as a starter were hitting the dusty trail, he comes out and lights it up. He's been a big part of the Tigers' success this season, posting spike numbers in isolated power and contact rates, while simutaneously posting the lowest swing-and-miss rate of his career. Congratulations to Peralta who, at just 29, may be revitalizing his career. That or he's just had a few good months, you decide.
#4 / Left Field / Kansas City Royals
Feb 10, 1984
|2011 - Alex Gordon||87||354||50||106||24||4||11||50||34||77||6||5||.299||.367||.483|
Last season at this time, Gordon was in triple-A. It's great to see him finally having the kind of year we used to think he'd be capable of on a regular basis.
Previous Selections: 0
Runner-Up: Brennan Boesch, Tigers
#2 / Center Field / Boston Red Sox
Sep 11, 1983
|2011 - Jacoby Ellsbury||89||361||62||114||26||2||11||49||31||53||28||10||.316||.377||.490|
Ellsbury, like Gordon, is having a bounceback season. Except Ellsbury is coming back from an injury that kept him off the field for almost the entire 2010 season. As the league's premier defensive center fielder he isn't the most powerful, and he doesn't post outrageous walk rates, but he's a high-speed, high-contact player with a little pop. And when he has a good season the numbers will reflect that.
#19 / Third Base / Toronto Blue Jays
Oct 19, 1980
|2011 - Jose Bautista||84||299||73||100||15||1||31||65||74||54||5||3||.334||.468||.702|
Could it be anyone else?
#34 / Designated Hitter / Boston Red Sox
Nov 18, 1975
|2011 - David Ortiz||87||303||52||92||23||1||19||55||43||41||1||0||.304||.391||.574|
The 35-year old DH is playing like it's '04 - '07. All the numbers in the world will tell you exactly how good of a first have Ortiz has had, so I won't even reference them.
Previous Selections: 6 (2004 - 2008, 2010)
Runner-Up: Michael Young, Rangers
What about you? Who'd be on your team?