|My 2004 All Star Ballot|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on June 09, 2004
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers): The Junior Circuit features four very good catchers (three in the AL East alone), but the vote has to lie on Pudge. He has seven home runs on the season, but 40 (!) RBIs. He is also hitting .337 on the year with four bases as icing. Honorable mention: Javy Lopez (Orioles), Jorge Posada (Yankees), and Jason Varitek (Red Sox).
First Baseman Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox): Yes, I know that many of you all are wondering why Paul Konerko made my ballot. And of course I’m wondering why Paul Konerko made this ballot. It’s not that he’s having a great season (11 homers, 35 RBIs), but not many other people are putting up stats. Maybe if Jason Giambi comes back from injuries there will be a change. Honorable mention: Travis Hafner (Indians), Mike Sweeney (Royals).
Second Baseman Alfonso Soriano (Texas Rangers): Sori has quietly been putting together a nice season as the guy that got traded for A-Rod. He has seven homers and 32 RBIs, which are excellent numbers for a second baseman. Honorable Mention: Juan Uribe (White Sox), Bret Boone (Mariners)
Third Baseman Melvin Mora (Baltimore Orioles): Well, maybe this guy isn’t as much of a flash in the pan as most people thought. On the season Mora is hitting .379 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs, which are amazing numbers. Honorable Mention: Alex Rodriguez (Yankees), Hank Blalock (Rangers)
Shortstop Michael Young (Texas Rangers): Last season Young formed the lesser half of the double play combo with Alex Rodriguez. This year he has switched positions and he’s not going to be outdone by his keystone dance partner. He has eight homers, 34 RBI, and a .335 batting average. Honorable Mention: Miguel Tejada (Orioles)
Left Field Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox): This year has been a great year for Manny. He has become an American citizen and a more go-to guy in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse. The media is finally learning the better side of Manny Ramirez. Also, he has remained injury free this year, which might have helped his stats (.348/15/40) a little. Honorable Mention: Matt Lawton (Indians), Jose Guillen (Angels), Hideki Matsui (Yankees)
Center Field Carlos Beltran (Kansas City Royals [but for how long?]): Carlos has been a large centerpiece of many trade talks, but it still remains in question as to where he may be going. A good bet is the San Diego Padres, but no one is sure. The only certain thing is that Beltran can flat out mash and run. He has 11 homers with 41 RBIs and 11 stolen bases on the year. Combine that with a .286 batting average, and he’s my starting centerfielder. Honorable Mention: Vernon Wells (Blue Jays)
Right Field Vladimir Guerrero (Anaheim Angels): Finally over the back problems that plagued him last year, Guerrero has played awesome baseball. He has hit 14 homers with fifty RBIs and has a .356 batting average. Quite amazing stats. Honorable Mention: Ichiro (Mariners)
Catcher Mike Piazza (New York Mets): He only has 22 RBIs on the year, but Piazza has clubbed ten homers and is hitting at a .304 clip. For someone who is trying to learn a new position under the scrutiny of New York, these are good numbers. Honorable Mention: Paul LoDuca (Dodgers), Jason Kendall (Pirates)
First Baseman Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals): Was there any doubt to this pick? Albert Pujols is one of the best hitters in the game - regardless of whatever position he happens to be playing. He has 17 homers and 40 RBIs and is hitting at .313. Honorable Mention: Sean Casey (Reds), Jeff Bagwell (Astros), Jim Thome (Phillies), Todd Helton (Rockies)
Second Baseman Jeff Kent (Houston Astros): Jeff has put together a solid year so far with nine homers and a .308 batting average. The loss of Marcus Giles due to injury is probably the only thing allowing him to be such a clear-cut favorite. Honorable Mention: Mark Loretta (Padres), Luis Castillo (Marlins)
Third Baseman Scott Rolen (St. Louis Cardinals): Rolen has 13 homers, which isn’t the leading figure in the NL race. He does, however, lead with 57 RBIs and his .354 batting average isn’t too shabby. Rolen is one of the greatest players of all time and everyone should see him at least once. Honorable Mention: Mike Lowell (Marlins), Vinny Castilla (Rockies), Aramis Ramirez (Cubs)
Shortstop Kazuo Matsui (New York Mets): The Shortstop race in the National League might be the weakest in the entire league. Matsui (.263/5/19) is not quite the epitome of an All Star and neither are any of these guys. Honorable Mention: Royce Clayton (Rockies), Jack Wilson (Pirates)
Left Field Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants): This is almost as obvious a pick as Albert Pujols at first base. With 15 homers and a .360 batting average to boot, Bonds has been one of the best outfielders in the game. He does not have many RBIs (31) on the year, but that’s mainly because of other pitchers (and the Giants’ weak offense), not that he can’t drive runs in. Honorable Mention: Lance Berkman (Astros), Moises Alou (Cubs), Adam Dunn (Reds)
Center Field Steve Finley (Arizona Diamondbacks): Steve has put together a solid season at the young age of 39. He has 16 homers (more than Manny Ramirez), 31 RBIs (more than JD Drew), and is hitting .283 (tied with Bobby Abreu). Honorable Mention: Ken Griffey Jr. (Reds), Scott Podsednik (Brewers), Jim Edmonds (Cardinals), Andruw Jones (Braves)
Right Field Bobby Abreu (Philadelphia Phillies): He is playing comparable to Carlos Beltran this year with slightly more runs scored (2) and homers (1), but with a slightly lower RBI total (3), batting average (.003), and stolen base (1) number. This guy can do it all. Honorable Mention: Craig Wilson (Pirates), Miguel Cabrera (Marlins), Reggie Sanders (Cardinals)
Well, there’s my ballot. Time to submit it!