American League Love!

I’ll do the DH for the AL, and since I’m racked with guilt over forgetting the Catchers in the NL, I’ll start with them in the AL!

Catchers

Who’s leading the Voting? Joe Mauer (Minnesota 3.2 million) Next Closest? Jorge Posada (1.04 million). Mauer has the biggest lead in any position. Hits for average, batting .309 this season. Drives in runs. His career high HR output of last year has fallen off severely this year as he’s only “touched ’em all” once. Still, total package of offense and defense he’s better Victor Martinez, who has better run production numbers.

Who should be the starter? Mauer. Because of how good he is, and the fact that he’s the face of a “small market” franchise.

Who Else? John Buck (Toronto not in the top 5)… yeah… a few weeks ago I was with you and was like, WHO?!? 12 homeruns and 38 RBI has been a key cog in the very potent Blue Jays offense. Victor Martinez (Boston 3rd in voting). One of the top hitting catchers. His bat is so valuable they’ve been using him at 1B and DHing him here and there.

1st Base

Who’s leading the Voting? Justin Morneau (Minnesota 1.7 million). Next closest? Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees 1.5 million). 3rd? Miguel Cabrera (Detroit 1.4 million). Tex shouldn’t even be sniffing this. Just a case of a big market plus the most popular name in baseball plus name recognition.

Who should be the starter? Miggy. He’s been a monster. A first half MVP candidate. But just BARELY over Morneau who has been nothing short of amazing. Cabrera is hitting .326, 19 HR, 60 RBI. Morneau .347, 15 HR, 49 RBI. Helped keep the Twins afloat when Mauer struggled early.

Who Else? Paul Konerko (Chicago not in the top 5). More Homers and RBI than Morneau. Having a great season after struggling in 2009. Kevin Youkilis (Boston 3rd in voting) – continues to be very consistent in the middle of Boston’s order. Not flashy and can go rather unnoticed for someone who’s as talented as he is, and considering he plays for the Red Sox.

2nd Base

Who’s leading the vote? Robinson Cano (NY Yankees 2.3 million). A-Rod and Tex have struggled, and the Yankees have one of the best records in baseball… yeah… this guy is a HUGE reason for that. Dustin Pedroia (Boston 1.2 million). Would be a solid starter for the AL… you know… if you didn’t have a guy who is making an early push for MVP honors.

Who should start? Cano. .362, 14 HR, and 50 RBI. Helping carry the Yanks when the bigger name/bigger bats haven’t quite got on track yet.

Who Else? Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Angels not in the top 5) Solid player having a power surge this season. Has had health issues in previous seasons, but has stayed on the field and the production has improved.

3rd Base

Who’s leading the voting? Evan Longoria (Tampa 2.5 million). Who’s closest? Alex Rodriguez (NY Yankees 1.5 million). A-Rod is up there for the same reason’s Teixeira is. But, as the fans have demonstrated more so in the AL infield… they’re doing better work.

Who should start? Evan. He is either on the verge of, or already has become one of baseball’s elite. On top of his offensive prowess. Defensive skills, he’s already hit a career high in steals, swiping 10 bags, and making a case that he can hit 30 home runs and steal 20 bases. So go ahead and vote for Evan, just don’t take his cap.

Who else? Michael Young (Texas 3rd in the voting). A cornerstone on a really young Texas Ranger squad. Hitting for a high average, and throwing up good power numbers. Adrian Beltre (4th in the voting) – I would put him at #2. An offseason acquisition for his defense… Boston has to be tickled pink that he’s hitting .336, with 10 HR and 48 RBI.

Shortstops

Who’s Leading the voting? Derek Jeter (NY Yankees 2.7 million). Who’s closest? Elvis Andrus (Texas 1.3 million). Well done fans! I think we did good work with the AL infield.

Who should start? Derek Jeter. Not having as amazing a year as last year, but he has 39 RBI from the leadoff spot. 2nd in HR to Alex Gonzalez. Plus, he’s a living legend.

Who else? Alex Gonzalez (Toronto 5th in voting) – another Blue Jay who is having a power surge (makes sense because the Jays lead MLB in homeruns. That’s about it, really.

Outfield

Who’s leading the voting? Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle 1.56 million). Who’s closest? Carl Crawford (Tampa 1.44 million). Josh Hamilton (Texas 1.43 million). Close vote. Everyone of these guys is having a great season. Ichiro is being ichiro. Hamilton has bounced back after a “blah” ’09 campaign.

Who should start? I’m okay with these three. I’d vote for Magglio Ordonez over Ichiro, but that’s just me.

Who Else? Alex Rios (Chicago White Sox not in top 15 in voting) is having a renaissance of sorts in Chicago. Torii Hunter (LA Angels 7th in voting), and Nelson Cruz (4th in voting), and would have been one of my top three but has spent way too much time sidelined, but when he’s played he’s been amazing. Nick Swisher (NY Yankees 5th in voting) has been an on base machine. Hitting a ton, jacking home runs, and driving in runs.

Designated Hitter

Who’s leading the Voting? Vladimir Guerrero (2.3 million votes). Who’s closest? Hideki Matsui (1 million votes). Vlad is having a “comeback player of the year” type season. His run production in the middle of the line up is a huge reason the Rangers are in first in the AL West.

Who Should Start? Vlad. He’s got the numbers and is a great story.

Who Else? David Ortiz (Boston 3rd in the voting). Papi got off to a horrendous start, but has been driving the ball. Hitting Home Runs. Its not a coincidence that since Big Papi has turned it around, that Boston has climbed in the standings. Also another place you can put a position player. Because ANYONE can DH. (this is what the NL will do, and why I didn’t break it down for the “Senior Circuit”)

Looking at the AL, as compared to the NL? The AL starters are damn good. *tips cap* – Some of the third and fourth place guys in positions are “off”, but for the most part the person winning is the person who should be winning. Here and there you can make arguments for an against players: Morneau, or Cabrera, Ichiro, or another outfielder.

That brings our position players to a close. My final installation of this series will have me talking about the respective pitching staffs I want to see in Anaheim.