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“65Mustangs” AL East/Central: Who’s in? Who Should Be In? 2015 AL All Star Team. “#VoteMoose”

I’ve had trouble getting amped up for the annual All Star Game the past several years. Maybe I’m getting old and hard to impress, as the gathering of stars no longer excites me. I don’t watch the Home Run Derby and seldom get past the third inning of the game. Neither the game nor it’s stats count toward anything unless my favorite team makes the World Series. It’s a few days off from having to set my lineups. Though, I’m still embroiled in trade talks with other guys who, like me, suddenly have more time to negotiate.

Part of my angst revolves around the process of how players are chosen for the rosters of each league. It was always a bit of a popularity contest, as the fans vote in the starters for the teams. Players were often voted in based on career accomplishments instead of their recent performance. I got over that, as the manager had plenty of opportunity to right the wrongs when he picked the reserves. As the league grew, they held fast to the premise of each team being represented by at least one player, making it harder and harder to accomplish while covering all the positions and rewarding deserving players. Injuries would always give them another opportunity to reward a few of the snubbed players. In recent years, teams have pulled pitchers from the AS Game if they needed them to start the Sunday prior to the festivites. This adds to my theory that MLB teams don’t hold the game in terribly high esteem either.

This season, the voting process took on new levels of ludicrousness when the KC Royal fans, and later the St. Louis Cardinal fans, mounted an all-out voting and social media blitz to get all their players elected whether they deserved to be or not. Well, it worked. The Royals had as many as seven players leading their positions in voting at one point, including the underwhelming Omar Infante. Jose Altuve finally got enough support to overtake him. Alex Rios, who has missed half the season finished 4th among outfielders, and Kendry Morales led at DH until a last minute vote surge for Nelson Cruz pushed him back.  The players elected the deserving Wade Davis, RP, KC to the roster. The biggest joke, however, was allowing Ned Yost to pick another player, RP Kelvin Hererra from his roster and put Mike Moustakis into the fan vote ballot of five players for the final roster spot. Social media exploded and #VoteMoose got the job done so another Royal made the team, giving the Royals 7 participants until Alex Gordon got hurt and had to be replaced. Major League Baseball can do whatever it wants, but if it allows this type of lunacy to continue, I’m sure a lot more people, like me, will lose complete interest in the event.

VoteMoose (1)how-to-vote

votemoose

All that being said, I’m sure I’ll tune in to see the starting lineups announced and the first pitch? Maybe I’ll even enjoy the whole game, it’s baseball after all. The writers at Major League Fantasy Sports decided we’d bring you the 2015 All Stars by division, and discuss who is in that should not be and who should have been picked instead. Fantasy rankings will be shown for all the players discussed by position. I’ll show rankings for ESPN  Standard 5 X 5 leagues, as well as Fantrax advanced expanded scoring that we use in MLFS Leagues. Players who are on the roster, in my opinion deservedly, will not be discussed but their rankings will be presented. I’ll only mention stats when they are meaningful as I’m sure you all know Omar Infante’s batting average in your sleep anyway. I realize defense carries a lot more weight in the real game, but this exercise is for fantasy purposes and leans to offense. I tend to believe the AS Game should not just cover the current 3 months of season, so I tend to include the prior season’s accomplishments as well when selecting players. (Players in parenthesis are from the AL West and will be discussed in a future article.)

Catcher:                                                                                                                             

Fan vote: Salvador Perez, C,  KC                                                                 

Chosen as reserve: Russell Martin, Tor (Steven Vogt, C, Oak)         

Outside looking in: Brian McCann, C, NYY                

Analysis: I have no problem with Salvador Perez getting the starting nod. I touted him as the next Yadier Molina in my preseason catcher analysis this year.  On our player rater, he is actually the lowest scoring of all 4 players. I think Russell Martin is a nice story for 2015. However, he has been extremely cold for over a month now. I would have given the 3rd nod to Brian McCann, who scores just below Martin for the season. He has been a major run-producer all season in the heart of a potent Yankee lineup. And, while defense is seldom fantasy relevant, he is credited as being the best signal caller the Yanks have had in a long time. Sorry Jorge.jorgeposadagoldensombrero

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Vogt                                  2681            5.65

Martin                              2391            4.45

McCann                           2194            3.87

Perez                               2054            3.66

First Base:

Fan vote: Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET (Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA, replaces Cabrera in starting lineup)

Chosen as reserve: Mark Teixeira, 1B, NYY  (injury replacement for Miguel Cabrera)

Outside looking in: Jose Abreu, 1B, CHIW

Analysis: The voters got this one right, of course. Too bad Miggy got hurt, it killed me on several teams. Albert Pujols was the perfect pick to replace him in the lineup, both for his performance this season and for his storied career. An argument could be made for Jose Abreu over Mark Teixeira on the bench, based on his better overall numbers this season and the phenomenal 2nd half he had in 2014, but I’d lobby that both should be there. Teixeira leads the AL in RBI and is near the top with 22 HR. Going into the game with only Pujols & Tex at 1B does not seem right to me. Maybe they could lose a 3rd Baseman and keep these two instead.

DENVER, CO - APRIL 08:  Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox hits a three run home run off of Chad Bettis #35 of the Colorado Rockies to give the White Sox a 7-2 lead in the seventh inning during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 8, 2014 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Miggy                                2999           8.84 

Pujols                                2762           7.79

Abreu                                2711           6.44

Teixeira                            2658            6.02

Second Base:

Fan vote: (Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU)

Chosen as reserve: Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE, Brian Dozier, 2B, MIN (Injury replacement for Jose Bautista)

Outside looking in: Devon Travis, 2B, TOR, Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Bosinfante

Analysis: Jose Altuve finishes 3rd among these 2nd Basemen, but I’d vote for him to start as well; even though he is no Omar Infante. Last year counts too, and he led the universe in hits last season. This season he may take the Astros on his 5’6″ shoulders and carry them to the playoffs. Jason Kipnis & Brian Dozier belong even though Dozier did not get in until Jose Bautista was told to sit-out due to a precautionary measure.  Yost tried to get away with Perkins as the only Twin, and Perkins deserves the spot, but leaving Dozier off was a travesty.  Maybe another 3B should have been sacrificed. Dustin Pedroia & Devon Travis have missed too much time for consideration, but had this vote been taken near the end of May, the outcome would have been different. (The large discrepancy between the ESPN and Fantrax ratings in this case is that SB have far more weight in a 5 X 5 than they do in a more comprehensive scoring system)

Houston Astros' Carlos Lee (45) celebrates 9-3 win over the Washington Nationals with teammate Jose Altuve (27) in a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Kipnis                                3189            8.70

Dozier                              3155            8.91

Altuve                              2818            9.58

Pedroia                             2369            5.36

Travis                               2182            3.08

Third Base:

Fan vote: Josh Donaldson, 3B, TOR

Chosen as reserve: Manny Machado, 3B, BAL, Brock Holt, 3B, BOS

Voted in by Final Fan Vote: Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC

Outside looking in: Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY, Evan Longoria, 3B, TB

Analysis:  Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado to start is fine either way, the rest is a tragedy. Ok, Moose, you are having your best MLB season yet and hitting for average at the expense of that immensely legendary power. Put the two together and you have an All-Star. Maybe next year. I realize we need a player from every team, but Brock Holt? Just like it has become sexy to add extra middle relievers to the All-Star Team, it has also become sexy to add a super-utility player as well. But Holt is not Ben Zobrist… yet. No power, no speed, just a good BA and versatility. I’ll name five other Red Sox that should have been added before Holt. Evan Longoria is miles ahead of both Holt & Moose and would be a good choice for the third 3B spot, but I’ll make the case for A-Rod here since there are already too many DH’s. A-Rod got his 3,000 hit and is having a better season than anyone imagined. He’s also keeping his image clean by co-operating with everyone and brushing off all the slights; deserved or not. When has a player gotten such a milestone and been snubbed for the All-Star Game? No, we need Moose & Holt.arod

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Machado                           3318          11.03

Donaldson                       3250          10.19

A-Rod                               2781            6.60

Longoria                          2481            4.36

#VoteMoose                    2320            3.56

Holt                                   2198            2.10

Shortsop:

Fan vote: Alcides Escobar, SS, KC

Chosen as reserve: Jose Iglesias, SS, DET

Outside looking in: Jose Reyes, SS, TOR, Xander Bogaerts, SS BOS

Analysis: Maybe Alcides Escobar deserves to be on the team this season. Defense does count, especially at SS and he is a wizard. He is also putting together a good offensive season as well, but Jose Iglesias?  He is another defensive whiz who also hits for average, but no power and has added some speed this season. If we have Escobar, we don’t need Iglesias. It is odd to have an All-Star Game without Jose Reyes when he is healthy, but he is not on the team this season and Toronto is well represented.  They should have done a #VoteJose campaign up in Canada, the #makeitrain campaign seemed to put Josh Donaldson over the hump. There is a shortstop in the AL who rates better than all of these guys on fantasy raters, and that is Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, who probably should be starting; at least from an offensive standpoint. Bogaerts or Holt, Holt or Bogaerts, hmmmm. (The large discrepancy between the ESPN and Fantrax ratings in this case is that SB have far more weight in a 5 X 5 than they do in a more comprehensive scoring system)

Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts works out on the field during spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Bogaerts                             2459           4.51

Escobar                              2281            3.90

Reyes                                 2168            4.65

Iglesias                              1983            2.64

Outfield:

Fan vote: (Mike Trout, OF, ANA) Lorenzo Cain, OF, KC, Alex Gordon, OF, KC

Chosen as reserve: Jose Bautista, OF, TOR (Injured – OUT) Adam Jones, OF, BAL, J.D. Martinez, OF, DET, Brett Gardner, OF, NYY (chosen to replace the injured Gordon)

Outside looking in: Hanley Ramirez, OF, BOS, Mookie Betts, OF, BOS, Yoenis Cespedis, OF, DET, Michael Brantley, OF, CLE, Torii Hunter, OF, MIN

Analysis: After MikeTrout, a case could be made for Lorenzo Cain, not just on offense but he is one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball now. But Alex Gordon? I don’t even see him making the team as a reserve let alone starting. Mother Nature did us a favor letting him get hurt in time to pick a replacement for the game in Bret Gardner; who never should have been left off in the first place. I think Gardner should be starting as the 3rd OF’er, as he is having his finest season in the Bronx. I think JD Martinez is right up there as well and I’m glad he is on the team. Jose Bautista got hurt also and was replaced by Dozier in what I’d call a good move. Adam Jones is not having his best season, but deserves to be there based on the 2nd half of last season. This leaves the team with 5 outfielders and that is not enough unless they are going to use that versatility of Holt. But, there are two more Sox outfielders more deserving of Holt to represent the Red Hose, and they are Mookie Betts & Hanley Ramirez. Betts is faulted, and rightly so for fielding and base running gaffes. So, perhaps he is not A.S. worthy yet; but Hanley is. He is still fantasy eligible at SS and is 1st on most raters at that position, albeit much lower in the OF. Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers is having a better season than original reserve Jose Bautista, and a case could be made for Michael Brantley of the Indians after his 2nd half of 2014. I’d have loved to put Torii Hunter on the team for his last season, but his numbers are just not there. If I could only bring one more I’d have to go with AL Doubles leader and former HR Derby champ Cespedis.

American League's Yoenis Cespedes, of the Oakland Athletics, holds the trophy after winning the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 14, 2014, in Minneapolis. Cespedes defeated National League's Todd Frazier, of the Cincinnati Reds, in the finals. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Trout                                  3470            12.72

Gardner                             3231              9.63

JD Martinez                       3074              9.77

Cain                                   3067               9.31

Cespedis                           2984               7.61

Betts                                  2945               7.41

Bautista                            2841                6.26

Brantley                            2750               5.66

Hanley                               2493               6.70

Jones                                 2463              5.02

Hunter                                2371              4.69

Gordon                              2370               3.63

Designated Hitter:

Fan vote: (Nelson Cruz, DH, SEA)

Chosen as reserve: (Prince Fielder, DH, TEX)

Outside looking in:   Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY, Kendry Morales, DH, KC

Analysis: This is a no-brainer and I already put A-Rod at third base for this exercise. I list Kendry Morales because he is having a better season than arguably all the other Royals on the team other than Cain & Davis, but did not make the team.

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Cruz                                  3006            8.94

Fielder                             2958            8.68

A-Rod                              2781             6.60

Morales                           2636            5.12

Starting Pitchers:

Chosen by Manager or Players: Chris Archer, SP, TOR, David Price, SP, DET, Chris Sale, SP, CHIW

Chosen by Manager or Players: (AL WEST): (Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA, Dallas Keuchel, SP, HOU, Sonny Gray, SP OAK – OUT – pitched Sunday & replaced by Hector Santiago, SP, LAA)

Outside looking in: Michael Pineda, SP, NYY, Corey Kluber, SP, CLE, Mark Buehrle, SP, TOR

Analysis: All these guys were good choices and deserve to be here, except for one. Hector Santiago was chosen to replace Sonny Gray, but I’m not sure why. Corey Kluber deserved a spot after last season and Michael Pineda is having a career resurgence this season, but I’m going to get nostalgic. I’d have added Mark Buehrle in his last and seemingly one of his best seasons, he has been money in fantasy this season. His wife and collection of dogs makes the All Star Team as well.ht_mark_buehrle_dm_130219_wblog

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax      ESPN

Keuchel                             3693            10.27

Gray                                  3349             8.64

Price                                 3328             8.03

Felix                                 3296             8.28

Sale                                  3270             9.75

Archer                             3078              9.21

Buehrle                           2898              5.00

Kluber                             2807              5.50

Pineda                            2775               5.15

Santiago                        2738               6.44

Bullpen:

Chosen by Manager or Players: Brad Boxberger, RP, TB, Dellin Betances, RP NYY, Zach Britton, RP, BAL, Darren O’Day, RP, BAL, Glen Perkins, RP, MIN, Wade Davis, RP, KC, Kelvin Herrera, RP, KC

Outside looking in:  Koji Uehara, RP, BOS, David Robertson, RP, CHIW

Analysis: No brainers: Betances, Davis, Britton, Perkins. But David Robertson deserves to be there over Brad Boxberger, who did not even win the closers role out of Spring Training and may lose it back to Jake McGee at some point. If you really need to take another middle reliever, Darren O-Day is a good one, but none of the three is a lefty. If you need a LOOGY, maybe Justin Wilson of NY who is 4th in the AL in holds would work, or even McGee himself. But, Kelvin Herrera is a slap in our faces from Ned Yost.  He’s a good reliever, don’t get me wrong, and I’m sure Yost is rewarding him for his work last season. There are many more deserving relievers out there. One is Koji Uehara of Boston. I’m not a huge fan, but that is the 5th player from the Sox that could have represented them over Brock Holt. (The large discrepancy between the ESPN and Fantrax ratings in this case is that SAVES have far more weight in a 5 X 5 than they do in a more comprehensive scoring system)yost

Fantasy Ratings           Fantrax     ESPN

Betances                         3304            6.82

Davis                                3007           6.13

Britton                             2998           6.31

Perkins                           2962            7.77

Robertson                     2794            6.83

Uehara                           2750            6.17

O’Day                             2608           4.48

Herrera                           2488           1.61

Boxberger                      2196           5.23

the-kansas-city-royals-and-how-to-steal-an-all-star-game-1435086259

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(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday July 19th from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596 to ask questions. This week’s topics will be Hits & Misses, and the players that will have a big second half.

Our guests this week include Professor Mark Rush, Joe Iannone, and Kyle Amore. Professor Rush is the Law Professor for Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA as well as a writer for Ron Shandler’s shandlerpark.com. JoeIannone is a writer with MLFS, and his articles focus on the AL East & AL Central divisions. You can catch his writings published every Monday. Kyle Amore is a former College ball player, and he is a writer with MLFS. Kyle handles everything fantasy related in the NL Central, and NL East divisions. Catch his articles published every Tuesday at 9am. Come join a spirited debate.
If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”
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(Click the BLUE link below to listen)
Major League Fantasy Football Weekly:  Join Lou Landers, Ron McCleese, and Jeff Nelson from 2-3:30pm on Saturday July 18th for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Football Weekly. Our guests this week are Matt Barkman, and Dennis Dunbar. Matt is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, and he is focusing on the QB/TE positions. You can catch his articles published every Sunday morning. Dennis Dunbar is a member of fakepigskin.com, and a former colleague at MLFS. This week’s topics will be the QB, and TE positions. Feel free to leave a comment in the Q&A section during the show, and the guys will answer it during the show.
If you can’t catch the show live you can go to our YouTube channel and watch it when ever you want. Become a subscriber for instant email updates of shows after they post. Come by and ask some questions to the boys and have some fun!

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, or at least since a few years before the world knew what a designated hitter was. Otherwise, I like "antique" cars of the 60's and 70's and have been a fantasy baseball fanatic since my first draft many years ago. I live in CT with my wife Megan of 25 years, our daughter Caitlin and their (their) cats. I'm also the better looking of the two guys in the the photo.

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