Experts cast their ballots, and here are the results

FanSided’s MLB experts put our collective minds together to name our 2022 MLB All-Star Game starters. How’d we do?

Who among us hasn’t looked at the MLB All-Star Game rosters and wondered what the fans were thinking with some of their picks? It’s a midsummer tradition!

This year, FanSided’s MLB writers decided to see if we could do better ourselves. A combination of our team-site experts, FanSided.com authors, and a few editors put our collective minds together in a vote to see how we could do.

While a number of our picks should come as no surprise, we did vary quite a bit from a few of the All-Star finalists in the American League as well as go a little beyond MLB’s traditional fan vote by naming starting pitchers, too.

Oh, and there was one quite notable exclusion. More on that in a bit.

FanSided’s American League All-Star Game starters

SP — Shane McClanahan (Rays)
C — Alejandro Kirk (Blue Jays)
1B — Ty France (Mariners)
2B — Jose Altuve (Astros)
3B — Jose Ramirez (Guardians)
SS —  Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox)
OF — Mike Trout (Angels)
OF — Aaron Judge (Yankees)
OF — Julio Rodriguez (Mariners)
DH — Yordan Alvarez (Astros)

Alejandro Kirk, Jose Altuve, Mike Trout, and Aaron Judge should come as no surprise to anyone.

Probably a bigger surprise is seeing Julio Rodriguez sneak in as our third outfielder after he handily won a run-off vote against Toronto’s George Springer. But the Mariners’ rookie center fielder has been worth 3 WAR already, batting .277/.336/.487 (through Thursday) with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases — all while playing above-average defense.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts may not be a fan vote finalist (Chicago’s Tim Anderson and Toronto’s Bo Bichette take that distinction) but he is towering over almost any shortstop in the AL with 3.3 WAR while batting .314/.387/.459.

A notable name that’s missing in our starting lineup? Defending AL MVP Shohei Ohtani. While he excels as both a starting pitcher and a designated hitter, doing things fans of this generation had never seen live, he is neither the best starting pitcher nor the best DH according to our voters. Still, he’s one of our favorite fandoms!

Taking those spots from him: Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan and Astros DH Yordan Alvarez.

Alvarez is batting .313/.411/.660 with 25 home runs and leading the entire AL in advanced metrics like wOBA and wRC+.

McClanahan has a 1.97 ERA, striking out 36% of batters he’s faced while walking just 4.6%.

So where did we miss? Arguably at third base, with Jose Ramirez of the Guardians earning roughly 66% of our vote while Boston’s Rafael Devers took home about 34%. Devers is batting .327/.383./.579 and has been worth about 4 WAR while Ramirez has hit .285/.369/.570 and been worth a little less than four.

FanSided’s National League All-Star Game starters

SP — Sandy Alcantara (Marlins)
C — Willson Contreras (Cubs)
1B — Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)
2B — Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Marlins)
3B — Manny Machado (Padres)
SS — Trea Turner (Dodgers)
OF — Mookie Betts (Dodgers)
OF — Joc Pederson (Giants)
OF — Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)
DH — Bryce Harper (Phillies)

After some of the shockers in the American League, our voters were pretty much in line with fans in the National League.

In fact, each of our starters is among the National League finalists at their position and many of them are leaders after the first update.

Since only we voted for starting pitcher, let’s start there. Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins ran away with FanSided’s votes, appearing on about 70% of ballots. Alcantara ranks second in ERA (1.82 vs. Tony Gosolin’s 1.54) but has pitched the most innings per start, getting into the seventh inning on average while Gosolin is a full 40 innings behind him despite making just two fewer starts.

About the closest disagreement with the current fan vote total comes at shortstop, where our voters gave the Dodgers’ Turner a majority of the votes (54%) in a narrow race with the Braves’ Dansby Swanson. In fact, it was our closest race in the entire NL.

You can make an argument either way: from an offensive standpoint, both have similar numbers and are batting an identical 135 wRC+. Turner has a handful more stolen bases. Swanson plays better defense (6 outs above average per Baseball Savant while Turner is -5.)

So, your turn: Did we do better than the fans? Where’d we get it wrong or where’d we get it right? We want to know your opinion in our comments below.

Source: FanSided

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