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My 2011 All-Stars

I thought my post would beat out the real rosters, but it didn't. You'll have to trust me that I did not look at the real ones before putting mine together.

My process is fairly straightforward. I take the players that I think are best at each position, and they are the starters. After that, I pick the best player from each team not represented. Whatever spots remaining are filled with the best remaining players, with some sensitivity to depth (for instance, there needs to be at least one backup catcher).

Personally, I don't like the expanded rosters at all, so I always like to challenge myself to keep to 25 players. So, individuals in italics are the ones that made it thanks to the expanded roster sizes.

Here are my all-stars:


STARTING LINEUPS

American League National League
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF, Red Sox Jose Reyes, SS, Mets
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians Andrew McCutchen, RF, Pirates
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers
Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
Miguel Cabrera, DH, Tigers
Prince Fielder, DH, Brewers
Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers
Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees Brian McCann, C, Braves
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels Rickie Weeks, 2B, Brewers
Alex Avila, C, Tigers Placido Polanco, 3B, Phillies
Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers Roy Halladay, RHP, Phillies

BENCHES

Matt Wieters, C, Orioles Buster Posey, C, Giants
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds
Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF, Rays Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers Matt Holliday, LF, Cardinals
Alex Gordon, LF, Royals Michael Bourn, CF, Astros
Josh Hamilton, CF, Rangers Shane Victorino, CF, Phillies
Jim Thome, DH, Twins Justin Upton, RF, Diamondbacks

BULLPENS (* denotes closer)

Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Athletics Cole Hamels, LHP, Phillies
Jon Lester, LHP, Red Sox Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers
David Price, LHP, Rays Cliff Lee, LHP, Phillies
CC Sabathia, LHP, Yankees Jonny Venters, LHP, Braves
Josh Beckett, RHP, Red Sox Mike Adams, RHP, Padres
Dan Haren, RHP, Angels Heath Bell, RHP, Padres
Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners Joel Hanrahan, RHP, Pirates
Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, Red Sox Jair Jurrjens, RHP, Braves
Michael Pineda, RHP, Mariners Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Braves*
Mariano Rivera, RHP, Yankees* Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
Sergio Santos, RHP, White Sox Anibal Sanchez, RHP, Marlins
James Shields, RHP, Rays Brian Wilson, RHP, Giants
Jered Weaver, RHP, Angels Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, Nationals

INJURY NOTES
  • Victor Martinez would replace Derek Jeter
  • Miguel Montero would replace Buster Posey
  • Lance Berkman would replace Albert Pujols
SELECTION NOTES
  • Jim Thome is not the best player on the Twins, but they don't have a true All Star candidate. So, I decided to opt with a living legend, and one of the true class acts in the game.
  • Derek Jeter also does not warrant selection, but he is still a fan favorite, and with the bloated rosters, it's not that hard to find space for someone on the cusp of 3,000 career hits. Granted, I still would have found room for him on a 25-man roster, but this is the luxury of treating it as an exhibition. Besides, he's injured anyway, so in the end doesn't take up a spot at all.
  • I might be a bit of a homer including Michael Pineda in the All Star Game, but who doesn't want to see how hard he could throw in an inning of relief, facing some of the best bats in the game?
  • Buster Posey, despite missing the past month (and the rest of the season) with the bad leg injury he suffered, is still among the most productive catchers in the National League. Given that the collision is one of the biggest stories of the season, and he is also the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, I think he is an easy choice.
  • It is a down year for National League third baseman. Chipper Jones is not having an All Star year, neither are any of his hot corner compatriots in the senior circuit. I've already shown twice that career accomplishments matter when I fill out an All Star team, and they mattered a third time in this case.
  • The last spot on the NL roster came down to Joel Hanrahan and Tommy Hanson. The tipping point for me (probably unfairly), was that the Braves did not seem like a good enough team to have six All Stars to me. I liked the idea of two Pirates more than six Braves.
Now it's time for me to check the real rosters, and see what I like and don't like. I'm also curious to find out who I snubbed, and even more curious to see who got snubbed in real life.