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My 2008 All-Star Teams

I have a five step process for selecting All-Star teams that I should patent. It works better than whatever is actually used. Now that the rosters have been expanded to 32 players, it is not that hard to put together a decent squad. Granted, there are still a few snubs and some surprising picks, but the system is still good. Here is how to build an All-Star team, and who I would have selected:

STEP 1 - PICK THE BEST PLAYER AT EACH POSITION

Pick the starters for each position first. If there is no obvious choice, popularity and team performance become factors. Using this approach, the starting lineups would be:

AL

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
Grady Sizemore, CF, Indians
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
Milton Bradley, DH, Rangers
Josh Hamilton, LF, Rangers
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, RF, Red Sox
Joe Mauer, C, Twins
Michael Young, SS, Rangers

Cliff Lee, SP, Indians
NL

Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
Albert Pujols, DH, Cardinals
Matt Holliday, RF, Rockies
Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
Pat Burrell, LF, Phillies
Ryan Ludwick, CF, Cardinals
Geovany Soto, C, Cubs

Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants


The fan voting was pretty good this year, and has been the last several years, but for what it is worth there is my ballot, with starting pitchers included. I also pick the best closer in each league in this step, and for the AL I picked Mariano Rivera, and for the NL Brad Lidge.

STEP 2 - PICK THE BEST PLAYER FROM EACH TEAM

This is the step that makes my process somewhat unique. It seems that the last step tends to be making sure every team is represented. However, since every team must be represented, it makes sense to me to make sure that every team has their best player on the team. It should ensure the strongest roster possible. Not surprisingly, several teams' best players are in the starting lineup, so this step leaves plenty of spots remaining. However, I do not limit this step to only teams not yet represented. If a couple players on a team are close, the player that fits a need on the All-Star team gets the nod. Here are the players added at this point to each squad:

AL - Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles; Jermaine Dye, OF, White Sox; Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers; Joakim Soria, CP, Royals; John Lackey, SP, Angels; Rich Harden, SP, Athletics; Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners; Scott Kazmir, SP, Rays; Roy Halladay, SP, Blue Jays

NL - Brandon Webb, SP, Diamondbacks; Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds; Russell Martin, C, Dodgers; Ben Sheets, SP, Brewers; Johan Santana, SP, Mets; Jason Bay, OF, Pirates; Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres; Cristian Guzman, SS, Nationals

STEP 3 - IDENTIFY THE "OBVIOUS" RESERVES

After going through each team and picking their best player, there is a crop of players that are hard to ignore. This is where I add those guys, hopefully eliminating obvious snubs. Admittedly, there is not real firm criteria for this, but it is generally a pool of guys that are among the best on their team and/or the best in the league at their position. This is where my process gets a little tricky though. These guys are not guaranteed to make the team. I put them in a list for players that will fill out the roster.

AL - Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles; Jonathan Papelbon, CP, Red Sox; Curtis Granderson, OF, Tigers; Zack Greinke, SP, Royals; Francisco Rodriguez, CP, Angels; Joe Saunders, SP, Angels; Ervin Santana, SP, Angels; Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins; Joe Nathan, CP, Twins; Justin Duchscherer, SP, Athletics; Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays; Troy Percival, CP, Rays; Shaun Marcum, SP, Blue Jays

NL - Dan Haren, SP, Diamondbacks; Kerry Wood, CP, Cubs; Adam Dunn, OF, Reds; Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins; Carlos Lee, OF, Astros; Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers; Billy Wagner, CP, Mets; David Wright, 3B, Mets; Jose Reyes, SS, Mets; Xavier Nady, OF, Pirates; Nate McLouth, OF, Pirates; Jake Peavy, SP, Padres; Jon Rauch, CP, Nationals

Jon Rauch is on the list only because he could replace Cristian Guzman if needed to make the roster work.

STEP 4 - IDENTIFY THE FAN FAVORITES/LIVING LEGENDS

The All-Star game should be both a stage to show off emerging talent and one to pay homage to the living legends. These players are not having their finest seasons, but they still need to be considered. None of these players are guaranteed spots either, but they are also ranked in a list and considered to fill out the roster, like the players in step three:

AL - Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox; Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers; Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Angels; Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees; Ichiro, Mariners;

NL - Randy Johnson, SP, Diamondbacks; Ken Griffey Jr., OF, Reds; Greg Maddux, SP, Padres; Trevor Hoffman, CP, Padres;

STEP 5 - FILL OUT THE ROSTERS

Out of the two lists I have compiled, I do what I can to make a balanced roster. I carry at least one reserve for every starter, and a minimum of 10 pitchers. That leaves four spots to do whatever with. It is still a little tough, but here are the final reserves for each team when all is said and done:

AL

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Tigers
Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox
Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Angels
Jermaine Dye, OF, White Sox
Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers
Ichiro, OF, Mariners

John Lackey, SP, Angels
Scott Kazmir, SP, Rays
Roy Halladay, SP, Blue Jays
Rich Harden, SP, Athletics
Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners
Justin Duchscherer, SP, Athletics
Joe Saunders, SP, Angels
Francisco Rodriguez, CP, Angels
Joakim Soria, CP, Royals
Jonathan Papelbon, CP, Red Sox
Joe Nathan, CP, Twins
NL

Russell Martin, C, Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres
Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins
Jose Reyes, SS, Mets
David Wright, 3B, Mets
Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
Jason Bay, OF, Pirates
Carlos Lee, OF, Brewers
Adam Dunn, OF, Reds
Nate McLouth, OF, Pirates
Ken Griffey Jr., OF, Reds

Johan Santana, SP, Mets
Jake Peavy, SP, Padres
Dan Haren, SP, Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb, SP, Diamondbacks
Ben Sheets, SP, Brewers
Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds
Greg Maddux, SP, Padres
Jon Rauch, CP, Nationals
Kerry Wood, CP, Cubs
Billy Wagner, CP, Mets


There will always be a couple deserving players that do not make it, and a couple debated selections, but this system works well if you ask me. It tends to get a good mix between young emerging stars, players having surprise years, fan favorites, and all-time greats.