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Driscoll’s Picks for 2024 American League All-Star Game Starters

MLB All-Star Game: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Yankees
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MLB All-Star Game starters were announced on July 3. MLB still trusts its fans to select the starters, and while this has been a point of contention in recent years, I commend MLB for doing something to keep the fans engaged.

With this being said, fan voting does have its weaknesses. Sometimes, the best players do not get the recognition they deserve.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game American League starters.

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Stats accurate as of July 4. Click here to see Chris’ picks for NL starters.

Catcher: Adley Rutschman

This one was relatively easy for me. While arguments can be made for Salvador Perez, Rutschman has been a lot more dominant. He has hit 15 home runs, driven in 55 runs, owns a slash line of .288/.345/.461, and sports a 130 wRC+. While he has not been great behind the plate or on the base paths, his bat and durability have made him much more valuable than any catcher in the American League; he leads the AL with 2.8 WAR. The difference between first and second in WAR (0.8) is the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 10. So, while he has not had the perfect season, he is still clearly the best catcher in the AL.

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First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Heading into the season, I projected Guerrero to be the 10th-best first baseman in baseball. My thought process was that his bat had declined since 2021 (his wRC+ went from 166 to 133 in 2022 and to 118 in 2023) and he has always been abysmal in the field. However, his bat is currently the best it’s been since 2021. He has 13 home runs, is slashing .297/.376/.470, and has a 143 wRC+. This is 17 points higher than any qualified first baseman in the AL. Similar to Rutschman, even though he is not too good in the field, his bat makes him a lot more valuable than anyone else at his position.

Second Base: Jose Altuve

This was the first super close race for All-Star starter. It came down to Altuve and Jordan Westburg from Baltimore. They both have the same number of home runs (13), and while Westburg has driven in 11 more runs, Altuve has 11 more runs scored. Altuve has both a higher batting average and on-base percentage (.306/.354) than Westburg (.281/.330). However, Westburg has both the higher slugging percentage and WRC+ (.502 and 136 to .466 and 134). Westburg is also slightly better in the field, while Altuve is better on the basepaths. Westburg was already at a disadvantage due to Altuve’s name recognition, so he was going to have to play at a much higher level than the Astros’ second baseman to get the starting nod. Name recognition aside, I still believe Altuve earned it since he has been slightly more available and better as of late.

Shortstop: Gunnar Henderson

This one was a relatively easy decision for me. Henderson has been awesome this year. He has 26 home runs, a slash line of .284/.379/.593, and a 173 wRC+. This is 22 points higher than Carlos Correa, who is second amongst qualified shortstops in the AL. Henderson has also been pretty solid in the field. He’s the third-most valuable in the AL at his position, according to FanGraphs. As great as Bobby Witt Jr. has been this year, his production does not compare to Henderson’s.

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Third Base: Jose Ramirez

This was another close one. While I believe that Jose Ramirez has consistently been the best third baseman in the league for the past three years, Rafael Devers has been up there, too. Ramirez has 23 home runs, a slash line of .274/.328/.545, and a 143 wRC+. Devers has 18 homers, a slash line of .290/.371/.572, and a 153 wRC+. They are both below average in the field. What makes Ramirez the better player even though he’s not as good of a hitter? He is one of the best base runners in the league while Devers is one of the worst. Ramirez has also played in seven more games. All put together, Ramirez has a 3.1 WAR compared to Devers’s 2.9. If you want to put Devers in the starting lineup strictly for his bat, be my guest. However, looking at the whole picture, give me Ramirez.

Outfielders: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Jarren Duran

Usually, when selecting outfielders for the All-Star Game, there are one or two locks and the last spot is up for debate. This year was no exception. The Yankees’ duo have been hands down the two best outfielders in the league this year. After the two of them, it got close. It came down to Duran and Steven Kwan (who was chosen in MLB’s official selection) for me. On a per-game basis, Kwan has been objectively the better player. His season wRC+ is 41 points higher, and his batting average is 75 points superior. However, I use the same argument when I rank my basketball players: “The best ability is availability.” Duran has played in 86 games; Kwan has played in 58. You might want Kwan in a big spot, but I’ll take Duran for an entire season.

Designated Hitter: Yordan Alvarez

This All-Star selection is probably the biggest no-brainer of them all. Out of all players who regularly serve as the DH, Alvarez is hands down the best. He has 19 homers, a slash line of .303/.380/.555, and 160 wRC+. The Astros’ slugger has been one of the best hitters in the league for a few years now and has shown zero signs of slowing down.


Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

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