Way-too-early 2019 All-Stars - Manny Machado and Bryce Harper start for ...?

No one seems to have enjoyed a lot in this offseason, so let's take a break from the endless speculations of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and repeat an exercise we have tried around this time in the last two years: our annual All-Star teams too soon.

Last year, I successfully started J.D. Martinez to start DH for the American League! I chose Blake Snell as a breakout and all he did was win the Cy Young Award! I went out on the branch with Javier Baez and finished second in the MVP vote. I also made sure that Eric Hosmer returned to the Royals and won the vote of fans as AL starter.

Ops.

Remember the rules: registers of 32 men (20 position players, 12 pitchers) and at least one representative for each team. The projected starters are in bold. And do not forget to consider Harper and Machado …

National League

Yadier Molina will celebrate an All-Star assignment this season. Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

Catcher

Yadier Molina, cardinals; J.T. Realmuto, Reds; Willson Contreras, Cubs

Molina, nine times All-Star, has not started the All-Star game since 2013, but is again voted this season. Now he is 36, but he continues to show considerable durability and has just returned from a 20-year Gold Glove season. Note that I have Realmuto with the Reds rather than with Marlins, as those commercial voices have taken a lot of steam in the last days.

Remarkably absent: six times All-Star Buster Posey, who started three of the last four All-Star Games for NL (Contreras started last year). Posey had a late-season hip surgery in late August to repair a torn labrum and violations. The doctors also discovered a microfracture during surgery. The injuries reported have prevented Posey from firing his hips as he swayed, so the hope is that he will return healthy and with more power.

2 related

First base

Paul Goldschmidt, cardinals; Anthony Rizzo, Puppies; Freddie Freeman, Braves

Goldschmidt recovered from a slow start by finishing sixth in the MVP vote and should once again be an MVP candidate in his new team. Even Rizzo started in the fray, striking .149 with a home run in April, before hitting .329 in the second half. Steady Freddie has an average of 5.7 WAR in the last three seasons.

In addition to these three, the first base of the National League is so deep that you can comfortably list nine or ten guys on the best American League base player. I left out Joey Votto, who led the NL with an OBP .417 but only hit 12 home runs. Rhys Hoskins returns to his natural position and I expect him to improve his second year campaign .246 / .354 / 496, 34-homer. Heck, Daniel Murphy, now with the Rockies, could hit 0.350 and win the batting title and score as the ninth or tenth best player in the position depending on how you feel about Max Muncy, Jesus Aguilar, Brandon Belt or even Mets debutant Peter Alonso.

Second base

Robinson Cano, Mets; Ozzie Albies, Braves

The largely ignored aspect of the Mets-Mariners trade: Cano can still play, hitting .303 / .374 / .471 with Seattle. It is not a deep group at the second base, so it has the chance to earn its first concert from 2014 (it was also an All-Star in 2016 and 2017). Last season, Albies came out of the gate and finished with 69 extra-time successes at the age of 21. Pitchers understood this in the second half, however, as he moved away to .226 / .282 / .342, then he will have to better balance his aggressive approach with a slightly better tuning selection to return to the All-Star game.

Third base

Nolan Arenado, Rocky Mountains; Manny Machado, Phillies; Josh Donaldson, Braves

This is the highest position in the majors – and this is even before predicting that Machado lands with the Phillies. Arenado has started the last two All-Star games, Machado should enjoy a fifth season of 30 homers if he lands at Philly and I like that Donaldson will come out strong and signing a long-term extension with the Braves in June. Other candidates include Kris Bryant (shoulder injury), Anthony Rendon (who has never been an All-Star), Eugenio Suarez (All-Star last season), Matt Carpenter (returning to third on time) full base), Justin Turner (who led only the NL in wRC + in the last two seasons) and Travis Shaw (63 in the last two seasons).

Whether it interprets the interbase or the second base does not matter – Javier Baez is an All-Star. Nam Y. Huh / AP

shortstop

Javier Baez, Cuccioli; Trevor Story, Rockies

Baez will start the interbase while Addison Russell serves a 40-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy, but could return to second place when Russell returns. We will insert Baez into shorts and become All-Star, although it will be interesting to see if he can repeat the line .290 / .326 / .554 which helped him finish second in the MVP vote. He is a unique player: it is practically impossible to line up that line with 167 strikeouts and 29 suns, but Baez makes it work with incredible speed. Imagine what you could do with a slightly better discipline, considering it hit .189 on fields outside the area (and moved 44% of the time on camps outside the area).

Story reduced its strike rate from 34.4 to 25.6% and its number grew across the board, driving the NL with 85 extra hits and producing 5.6 WAR. Adds value to the bases, is a solid defender and makes a nod above to Corey Seager (released by the surgery of Tommy John), to the burner Trea Turner, to Brandon Crawford (last year) and to Jean Segura, who joins the Phillies after an All-Season of the Stars with Seattle.

outfield

Bryce Harper, Padres; Christian Yelich, Brewers; Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves; Juan Soto, citizens; Cody Bellinger, Dodgers; Yasiel Puig, Reds; Brian Anderson, Marlins

The off-track NL starters of the past year included Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis. No offense for those two good veterans, but I like the power of the younger star to take over this season. In the first place, a probable return, even if in a new uniform: it is true, Harper ai Padres is about to happen and he makes my way, too young as a solitary representative of San Diego. It will be achieved by the 2018 MVP winner Yelich, who will prove that his monster in the second half was not a fluke, and the acuña super acus sensation, which hit the .322 / .403 / .625 in the second half. Can you say 2019 MVP?

Then again … maybe the 2019 MVP will be Soto, an insinuating savant who produced a 0.923 OPS as a 19-year-old novice. Yes, he's so good. I like Bellinger to recover after his numbers have dropped a bit from his beginner's season. With Muncy on the first base, he looks for Bellinger to get a lot more time in the external field. As demonstrated in the playoffs, he is a more central defender, although he could move to the right field to free space for A.J. Pollock. I see Puig sinking or shining in Cincinnati. For some reason, he has fought against left-handed players in the last two seasons. If he can improve in that area, he can return to his first All-Star Game since 2014. Anderson has had a solid beginner season and makes our team the representative of Marlins.

She is 37 and pulls 99. The best story of the return of baseball will be played during spring training. Jeff Passan »

Launching launchers

Jacob deGrom, Mets; Max Scherzer, citizens; Aaron Nola, Phillies; Walker Buehler, Dodgers; Jameson Taillon, Pirates; German Marquez, Rockies; Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks; Madison Bumgarner, giants

None of the first four names should be a surprise, since the first three went 1-2-3 in the vote of Cy Young. The fourth name is not Clayton Kershaw (who lost the All-Star Game last season for the first time since 2010), but team-mate Buehler, a rising star who went 8-5 with an ERA 2 , 62 as a novice. You saw his electric stuff and his arsenal of shots in the postseason, and his average of .193 was ranked fourth in the majors among the pitchers with at least 100 innings.

Taillon had a season under the radar with the Pirates, going from 14 to 10 with an ERA of 3.20 on 191 innings, including an ERA of 2.33 in the second half while he continued to improve his command and strike-to-toe ratio. -walk. With Taillon, Trevor Williams and complete seasons from Chris Archer and Joe Musgrove, the Pirates have the chance to surprise (even if in a difficult division). Kyle Freeland had the great season for the Rocky Mountains in 2018, but I like Marquez as an ace in 2019 after a season where he had 230 strikeouts in 196 innings. He was as good as any other pitcher in the second half thanks to an improved curve ball to add to his fastball / wipeout combo.

Ray was an All-Star in 2017 and in 2018 I predicted great things for him. It did not happen, but I expect big things again in 2019. Maybe it will happen this time! Bumgarner is still on the Giants and we need a Giants representative, although I do not know if he will still be with them after the All-Star break.

Rescue pitchers

Edwin Diaz, Mets; Josh Hader, Brewers; Felipe Vazquez, Pirates; Sean Doolittle, citizens

All I have to say: good luck against the bullpen. The notable missing name is Kenley Jansen, an All-Star in the last three seasons. It should look good after an offseason heart surgery, but the 13 home runs that allowed in 71 2/3 innings – and two other big ones in the World Series – are worrisome.

American League

Catcher

Salvador Perez, Royals; Gary Sanchez, Yankees

So, here's a big problem in selecting the AL team compared to the NL: You get 20 position players, but since the AL selects two designated hitters, they only have two "free" points remaining compared to four for the NL. Throw the mandatory requirement of one player per team and sometimes those two free points are pronounced, so players in a charged position have trouble making it. So if you select three receivers, as usually happens, the roster is even busier.

My solution: two hunters! Perez has started the last five All-Star games – and that, to be honest, is more an accusation of AL's capture crop for half a decade now than a sign on Perez's greatness. I mean, he has not had an OBP over .300 since 2013. In fact, only 14 players have beaten at least 499 times in one season and have had more seasons with an OBP under .300 (including longtime team mate Alcides Escobar , which had seven). Perez is going for his sixth in a row.

First base

Jose Abreu, White Sox; Matt Olson, A & # 39; s

If the capture situation of AL is not dark enough for you, we turn to the first base. Last season's All-Stars were Abreu and Mitch Moreland. The year before, Justin Smoak and Yonder Alonso. Can we import a couple of guys from NL for the game?

Jose Altuve will enjoy another year as a second starting point for the American League. Billie Weiss / Boston Red Sox / Getty Images

Second base

Jose Altuve, Astros; With Merrifield, Royals

Altuve is already a six-star All-Star and seems an easy call to start for the fifth consecutive time. Despite having played a knee problem last season, he hit .316 / .386 / .451 (but only .276 in the second half). Look for a rebound in his numbers. Merrifield is one of the most surprising success stories of the last few seasons, turning into a terrifying all-round player who led AL's second ramparts to WAR in 2018. His backup competition has shrunk, while Cano, Jed Lowrie and Brian Dozier have switched to championships.

Third base

Alex Bregman, Astros; Jose Ramirez, Indians; Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

It's a difficult call to leave Matt Chapman out of the Oakland team, but Bregman's emerging status as one of the faces of the game makes him a potential starter with Ramirez – third in the MVP that votes each of the last two seasons – a solid bet to make the his third team in a row. Chapman is a defensive magician and I'm buying the improvement to the pot, but he is crushed by the prodigy Vladdy Jr., who will be recalled for a week in the season and will not stop hitting for the next 15 years. He makes him as the solitary representative of the Blue Jays and as one of the greatest stories of the first semester.

shortstop

Francisco Lindor, Indians; Carlos Correa, Astros

Which talented stars of tomorrow have found a home on the list of this year?

Individual players: Just lost | The first 100: 100-51 | 50-1 | Impact 20

Team rankings: The best systems of breeding | A minimum

Can Lindor take another step forward? I think it's possible. His OPS went from .794 to .842 to .871, but on his record there was a dull hole: he feasted on ugly shots and fought a good pitching. Against opponents less than 500 (like the rest of his division), he hit .302 / .375 / .579 with 31 home runs in 104 games. Against the winning teams, he hit .226 / .303 / .396 with seven home runs in 54 games.

Correa had a disappointing and riddled season of injuries when his OPS fell more than 200 points. We hope for a healthy season and the results that will make it an All-Star on Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts and Gleyber Torres, which I expect to get more action in Troy Tulowitzki's Yankees.

outfield

Mike Trout, Angeli; Mookie Betts, Red Sox; Aaron Judge, Yankees; Mitch Haniger, Mariners; Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox; Tommy Pham, Raggi; Nicholas Castellanos, Tigris

I will take the first three to be repeated as a starting trio. Nothing too controversial in those selections. If you want a non-trout choice, not Betts for MVP, do not sleep on Judge, which was hitting .285 / .398 / .548 when it went down on July 26th and did not return until mid-September. (How fearful will the Yankees be if Judge, Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton all get closer to their 2017 numbers than 2018?)

Haniger is the only Mariner here, but he does it on merit after hitting 286 / .366 / .493 with 26 home runs and good defense in 2018. He made the All-Star team last year and is capable of a other 6.1-WAR season. There's a reason why Jerry Dipoto kept up with Haniger during his offseason, blowing up the frenzy. Benintendi will never be a big boulder at home, but I expect better than an average of .290 and 16 home runs, especially if it can improve against the left-handed. Pham is a personal favorite. He began to ruin himself in April with the Cardinals, he fell into a deep collapse (under the 200 in May and June) that led to his exile from St. Louis, and then he snatched him in 39 matches for the Rays (.343 / 0.448 / 0.622).

Soon, can you name the Tigers All-Star representative last year? No you can not. And it was an average mitigator Joe Jimenez, who finished with an ERA 4.31. A dramatic comeback from Miguel Cabrera would be nice, but we will go with the hard Castellanos as a representative of this year.

Designated beater

J.D. Martinez, Red Sox; Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees

Nelson Cruz is a possibility here and Shin-Soo Choo was an All-Star last season. Then we have Shohei Ohtani, who will be DH exclusive this year but will not be ready for the Opening Day (although the Angels have not otherwise given a timetable for his return). Oh, and do not forget Khris Davis: All he has done has been the greatest number of home wins in the majors of the last three seasons with 133 – nine more than Stanton and 14 more than Cruz.

Trevor Bauer has a great start in front of home fans at Progressive Field. Tim Warner / Getty Images

Launching launchers

Trevor Bauer, Indians; Gerrit Cole, Astros; Justin Verlander, Astros; Corey Kluber, Indians; Blake Snell, Rays; James Paxton, Yankees; Jose Berrios, Twins; Josh James, Astros

Let's start with the resounding omission: Chris Sale, who started the last three All-Star games, which is really fantastic (Lefty Gomez and Robin Roberts are the only ones to start three in a row). The sale was obviously not 100% in the final stretch and in the following season, after having lost the time in August and September with a sore shoulder. It seems likely that the Red Sox will slowly climb this spring and limit his innings as much as possible at the start of the season.

Even without Sale, AL is loaded with initial pitching depth. The first five were All-Stars last season and joined Sale as the first six voters in the vote for Cy Young. Snell was the winner on Verlander after passing 21-5 with an ERA 1.89, with the only shot against him being that he only scored 180 2/3 innings. It is unlikely to repeat one of the craziest statistics of 2018: Batters hit 0.888 against him (10-for-114) with the runners in scoring position. OK, maybe this means that it will not publish a sub-2.00 ERA again, but it's the real deal.

Paxton is the teammate Luis Severino, who suffered in the second half after launching as a Cy Young winner in the first half. Berrios returns as a representative of the twins, as it was in 2018. Then my big shock: the rookie of Astros James, who came out of nowhere to have a minor championship season with his heat of the years & # 90; which hit 100 when it fell from the bullpen in the majors). He is not even guaranteed a job in the rotation, but I think he wins (and the All-Star debuters are not an anomaly). Since 2011, we have had Michael Pineda, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, Yu Darvish, Jose Fernandez and Masahiro Tanaka.

Rescue pitchers

Blake Treinen, A & # 39; s; Jose Leclerc, Rangers; Adam Ottavino, Yankees; Mychal Givens, Orioles

It is hard to leave Treinen after crushing opponents last year with 100 K in 80 1/3 innings, only two allowed home runs and an ERA of 0.78. Leclerc was quietly one of the best breeders of the majors last season, beating at an average of .126 – linked to that of Craig Kimbrel of 2012 for the second lowest ever score for a pitcher (minimum 50 innings), behind only to Aroldis Chapman .121 mark in 2014.

About Chapman, he could still do it again. So they could make the bets Dellin, Zach Britton or Chad Green. I went with Ottavino because a boy who can dominate the batsmen in Colorado could be suspended at sea level. And, saving the best for last, we have to choose someone from the Orioles. Givens has been a warhorse in the last three seasons for Baltimore and should take over as the nearest … even if those bailouts are likely to be few and far between.

.