Jeter, Cano, and Granderson named starters for All-Star Game

SS Derek Jeter, 2B Robinson Cano, and OF Curtis Granderson will all start in the All-Star Game later this month after winning the fan voting at their respective positions. Other AL starters include C Mike Napoli, 1B Prince Fielder, 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Josh Hamilton, OF Jose Bautista, and DH David Ortiz. No word on the reserves yet, but I’m not sure any other Yankees will be selected for the game.

NL starters include C Buster Posey, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Dan Uggla, SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Pablo Sandoval, OF Matt Kemp, OF Carlos Beltan, and former Yankee OF Melky Cabrera.

Update: CC Sabathia has been selected to the pitching staff, but he obviously won’t participate in the game given his injury. It would have been neat if Hiroki Kuroda was named his replacement, but the spot went to C.J. Wilson instead. Here are the full rosters and the Final Vote ballot.

Cano joins Jeter & Granderson among leading All-Star vote-getters

Robinson Cano overtook Ian Kinsler in the fan voting for the starting second base spot in next month’s All-Star Game, MLB announced. Cano leads by roughly 97,000 votes and is second in the AL with 3.5 fWAR. He trails only Mike Trout. Yeah, the kid’s been good. Curtis Granderson is second to Josh Hamilton among outfielders and remains in position to start the game along with Robbie and Derek Jeter. Mike Napoli, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Jose Bautista, and David Ortiz are scheduled to start at the other positions.

You can vote for the starters up to 25 times per email address through midnight ET this Thursday; here’s the ballot. I’m not sure if the Yankees will have any All-Stars beyond Derek, Cano, and Granderson. CC Sabathia could get the call again and I suppose there’s a chance Rafael Soriano could make it as well.

All-Star Game Links: Voting & Homerun Derby

The Yankees hit the one-third point of their season last night, which means we’re not far off from the halfway point. The All-Star Game is actually like, the 52.4% mark of the season, but who’s counting. Here’s some Yankees-related news on the Midsummer Classic, the glorified exhibition that determines home field advantage in the World Series. Boo that.

Jeter, Granderson among early vote leaders

Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson are currently among the top vote-getters at their respective positions for next month’s All-Star Game in Kansas City. Jeter leads all shortstops with 1,698,777 votes, more than 600,000 more than second place Elvis Andrus. Granderson (1,406,128 votes) is second among AL outfielders behind leading vote-getter Josh Hamilton (2,587,991). Nelson Cruz (992,992) is also in line to start in the outfield. Jose Bautista is a close fourth, Adam Jones a close fifth.

Robinson Cano (1,164,448) ranks second among AL second baseman behind Ian Kinsler (1,447,171) while Mark Teixeira (697,602) is second to Prince Fielder (1,027,070) among first baseman. I’m surprise Albert Pujols isn’t leading at first despite his early-season slump. Alex Rodriguez lags at third base behind Adrian Beltre (1,179,864) and Miguel Cabrera (886,365). Here’s the ballot, you can vote up to 25 times per email address until Thursday, June 28th. The leading vote-getters at each position start the game, as you know.

Cano to captain AL Homerun Derby squad

Thanks to his winning performance last year, Cano will serve as captain for this year’s AL Homerun Derby team. Matt Kemp will do the honors for the so-called Senior Circuit. Cano said he will again take his father Jose to pitch to him, and that he also plans to ask Granderson to participate. In addition to selecting the participants, Robbie and Kemp will also choose the charities they’ll be backing.

David Ortiz was the AL captain last year and I suspect Cano will invite him as a way to return the favor, so to speak. Assuming those two headline the squad, I’m hoping Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Dunn join them. It’s time to start bringing homerun hitters to the Homerun Derby, we want moonshots. Kemp said he’ll consider extending an invitation to Giancarlo Stanton, which is a no-brainer in my opinion. The Derby has gotten a little stale over the years, but it would be interesting to see guys like Cespedes and Stanton taking their hacks.

Fixing the All-Star Game: A Battle of the Ages

This is a guest post from RAB Shop extraordinaire Tyler Wilkinson. So read it, then go buy something.

Baseball’s mid-summer classic, once an avenue for die-hard fans to catch a glimpse of cross-country superstars, has descended into a watered down exhibition featuring all of the players we watch every night on MLB.tv and every morning on Sportscenter. With the appeal fading, several years ago Commissioner Bud Selig took the radical step of turning this meaningless event into the deciding factor for home-field advantage in the World Series. Yes, crazy. Believe it or not, the possibility of Aaron Crow influencing home-field advantage hasn’t yielded the results Selig was looking for. With that in mind, I have an unrealistic crackpot idea to drive up interest.

A battle for of the ages.

Problem 1, the rosters are too damn big. Peace out Aaron Crow. Royals, you want an All-Star, trade Hosmer and Moose Tacos to the Yankees for A-Rod. Picking on Aaron Crow is fun. Kidding aside, trying to include a member of every squad is diluting the talent pool and lessening the experience. Solution: 25 man rosters. Done.

Problem 2, Joe Buck & Tim McCarver. Do the right thing, Fox.

Problem 3, people aren’t tuning in to watch AL vs. NL anymore. We need a twist. How about a battle of old vs. new? Jeter vs. Cano? Lester vs. Gonzalez? Good vs. Good? Evil vs. Evil? Taking this year’s injury-riddled lineups and splitting them into the 25 youngest players I find interesting and the 25 oldest players I find interesting, let’s see how the rosters fill out.

Young Punks

C:  McCann
1B: Fielder
2B: Cano
3B: Sandoval
SS: Reyes (we’ll roll with the fan vote)
OF: Braun
OF: Kemp
OF: Upton
DH: Votto

SP: Lincecum
SP: Hernandez (F-Her, don’t forget to spread the nickname)
SP: Lester
SP: Price
SP: Hamels
RP: Weaver
RP: Cain
RP: Kershaw
RP: Pineda
RP: Jurrjens
CL: Robertson (shut up, it’s my list!)

BN: Avila
BN: McCutchen
BN: Tulowitzki
BN: Martin (3 catchers to swap out in the ASG seems reasonable)
BN: Bruce

Thoughts: Relievers not named Mo probably don’t belong in the ASG, apologies to Aaron Crow. That is a ridiculous pitching staff. I hope Lester hits Youkilis in his ugly ribs.

Old Geezers

C: Molina (I double checked. It’s not Gustavo)
1B: Gonzalez, Ad.
2B: Phillips
3B: Rodriguez
SS: Jeter
OF: Bautista
OF: Granderson
OF: Hamilton
DH: Holliday

SP: Halladay
SP: Sabathia
SP: Lee
SP: Verlander (the youngest of the old geezers & the exact middle point)
SP: Beckett
RP: Shields
RP: Wilson, Brian (have to break the no relievers rule)
RP: Valverde (and again, gross)
RP: Bell  (and again)
RP: Wilson, CJ
CL:  Rivera (forever and ever)

BN: Montero, Mig.
BN: Beltran
BN: Berkman
BN: Kendrick (someone’s gotta backup the middle infield)
BN: Youkilis (gross)

Thoughts: While the youngsters have a ridiculous pitching staff, the old folks have some big guns of their own up front with a familiar face closing it down. There’s a lot of pop in the old guys’ lineup.

While not perfect (Valverde survived the cut), I still believe the new format would increase interest. Baseball would have an avenue to market their phenomenal young stars to a national audience and the fat of the current system would be trimmed right off.  Plus, the novelty of seeing a Reyes/Cano double play combo is probably more appealing than the standard AL/NL lineups that people have grown accustomed to.  The one thing I think we can all agree on is that home-field advantage being decided in an exhibition game three months before the World Series is ridiculous and unnecessary.  While a radical alteration like the one I proposed is unrealistic, correcting home-field advantage is a simple step that needs to be fixed yesterday. That and Joe Buck.

Open Thread: 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game

Last night it was the big leaguers, now it’s the guys one notch below them. The Triple-A All-Star Game is being played in Salt Lake City tonight, and former Yankees farmhand Zach McAllister is making the start for the International League. Z-Mac made his big league debut last week in case you missed it, allowing three runs in four innings against the Blue Jays. He’s the eighth player from the Yankees’ 2006 draft class to reach the show, joining Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Colin Curtis, Mark Melancon, Dan McCutchen, David Robertson, and Kevin Russo. Dellin Betances and George Kontos have a chance to make it ten, which would be pretty amazing.

Anyway, here are the lineups for the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Yes, we have a Cody Ransom sighting. The only Yankee there is Adam Warren, and I imagine he’ll get an inning in at some point. Jesus Montero, Jorge Vazquez, and Kevin Whelan all withdrew due to injury. The game starts at 9pm ET and can be seen on the MLB Network, so use this thread to talk about that or whatever else your heart desires. You all know what to do by now, so go nuts.

National League secures home field advantage in World Series with All-Star Game win

(via Twitter user @waverider15)

The final score was 5-1 and I blame the AL West. The AL jumped out to a one-zip lead thanks to an Adrian Gonzalez solo homer, but the NL answered right back when eventual MVP Prince Fielder hit a three-run oppo bomb off C.J. Wilson. They tacked on another run at the expense of Jordan Walden, and another off Brandon League. When you look through the box score, it’s pretty obvious the AL just didn’t have the pitching to keep pace. I still blame the AL West though. Stupid useless division, thanks for nothing.

Four Yankees were at the game but only three played. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano started the game but didn’t hit the ball out of the infield in two at-bats each. David Robertson pitched the second inning after Josh Beckett shut himself down with soreness in his knee during warm ups, striking out one (Matt Holliday) and allowing a single up the middle (Lance Berkman). He and Chris Perez were the only non-AL West pitchers to appear in the game for the good guys. Russell Martin did not play at all, which I’m pretty cool with, actually. Let him rest.

The best part of the game: Tyler Clippard getting the win. He’s been phenomenal since the Yankees traded him away, but anyone that watches him regularly will tell you about his penchant for vulturing wins. He does it so often that it’s officially referred to as “clipping” a win. This game was a perfect example. Clippard entered the game with men on first and second with two outs in the fourth, then gave up a single to Adrian Beltre. The only reason he got out of the inning was because the third base coach inexplicably sent Jose Bautista home*, where he was thrown out by a mile by Hunter Pence. One batter, one hit, win. Clipped.

Bruce Bochy used Philadelphia and Atlanta pitchers for six of the nine innings and one of his own pitchers for just two outs. That was Brian Wilson, who didn’t come into the game until the AL threatened in the bottom of the ninth. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong didn’t even leave the dugout. The Phillies and Braves will be right there with the Giants come the playoffs, and Bochy used his managerial perk to use their pitchers and spare his own. Anyway, it’s the NL’s second straight win and they now have home field advantage in the World Series. After a day off on Wednesday, the Yankees will be back at it against the Blue Jays on Thursday.

* Seriously, what the hell was that about? Pence had the ball before Bautista even got to third.

2011 All-Star Game Thread

Now it counts! Seriously, how dumb is it that this glorified exhibition will decide home field advantage in the World Series? I can’t wait for that fifth inning matchup between Aaron Crow and Hunter Pence to decide whether or not the Yankees get to play three or four games in the Bronx come late October, assuming they make it that far of course. Don’t want to jinx it.

That said, the All-Star Game isn’t boring, at least I don’t think so. I just hate that it impacts the World Series. It’s fun to see all the different players and a new pitcher every inning, usually I’m fumbling around MLB.tv to see these guys play, and for this one night they’re all playing in one stadium. That’s pretty cool. Here are your starting lineups…

American League
Curtis Granderson, CF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jose Bautista, RF
Josh Hamilton, LF
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alex Avila, C

Jered Weaver, RHP

National League
Rickie Weeks, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Matt Kemp, CF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Brian McCann, C
Lance Berkman, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Scott Rolen, 3B

Roy Halladay, RHP

The full rosters can be seen here. David Robertson and Russell Martin are the only other Yankees actually at the game and eligible to play after Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and CC Sabathia backed out. If needed, the two managers have confirmed that Jose Valverde and Brian Wilson will serve as closers, and Valverde apparently rehearsed a new jig should he close out the game. Seriously. Anyway, first pitch is scheduled for 8pm ET and can be seen on FOX. Talk about the game or anything else your heart desires here. Enjoy.