MLB announced their All-Star Game rosters last night and the team with the best record in baseball at 55-33 led the league in representatives. The Athletics will send six players to represent the AL in next week’s game, in addition to newly acquired Jeff Samardzija, who was added to the NL roster last night. Samarzija will be announced as a NL All-Star and then head over to the AL dugout to look the game with his new teammates.
Scott Kazmir is the only Athletics player who has been to the All-Star Game before, so the teammates will be soaking it all in together for the first time. Let’s take a look at how each player earned their spot in the All-Star Game.
This will be Kazmir’s third ASG, having made the team in 2006 and 2008. Kazmir has been the Athletics’ ace thus far this season, going 10-3 with a 2.53 ERA – third lowest in the AL. In over 110 IP he has struck out 99 while walking only 26.
Said Kazmir after the announcement, “I feel like this is going to be so much more special than any other ones I’ve been to, just because of how many guys we’ve got elected.”
The A’s RP has been lights out since being announced the team’s closer. Doolittle has 13 saves so far this season with an ERA of 2.98. The most impressive stat of them all is his 61 strikeouts to only 2 walks allowed through 42.1 IP. Doolittle summed up his emotions on Twitter last night:
Sorry if I didn't respond to your text or tweet, I was jumping up and down on the bed, blasting "All Star" by Smash Mouth— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) July 7, 2014
Donaldson is the one Athletic who was voted in by the fans and will be starting at 3B for the AL. Josh was a legitimate MVP contender in the early months of the season but has slowed down in June and July. He is tied for 6th place in the AL with 19 home runs and has become a clear leader for the Athletics team. Donaldson plays Gold Glove-worthy defense at third base and his 4.6 WAR is second only to Mike Trout in the AL.
Donaldson may also participate in this year’s Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. Here is a highlight reel for the A’s third basemen:
Cespedes makes his first appearance on the All-Star roster despite having been involved in last year’s festivities as the Home Run Derby champion. Cespedes is batting .262 so far this season with 14 home runs and 55 RBI’s. He is also tied for first place in the AL with 10 outfield assists, including this defensive play of the year nominee:
Derek Norris is having a phenomenal season thus far and is slightly under the radar due to A’s three-headed monster they throw out behind the plate and platoon. Norris is hitting .306 in 65 games this season with 8 home runs, 36 RBI’s, and a .913 OPS.
Matt Wieters of the Orioles was voted in as the starting Catcher but is out with an injury. That leaves Norris and ex-Athletic and current Minnesota Twin, Kurt Suzuki on the roster to play behind the plate. Suzuki has similar numbers to Norris (72 games, 2 HR’s, 34 RBI’s, and a .763 OPS).
The left handed 1B/OF for the A’s has been a rock in the middle of the lineup for Bob Melvin. Moss is tied with Donaldson for the team lead in both HR’s (19) and RBI’s (62). He had a monster month of May in which he hit 9 HR’s and drove in 25 runs. Moss is no longer a platoon player that is used primarily against RHP’s. He is hitting .267 against LHP (vs. .273 against RHP) and is in the lineup just about every day he is available to play.
Brandon Moss missed this weekend’s action but the team received good news on his MRI, which revealed no structural damage. Moss should return to the A’s lineup this week.
The A’s Friday night acquisition was named to the NL squad despite a 2-7 record with the Cubs. Of course, that W-L record is deceiving when looking at Samardzija’s other numbers: 2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 103 to 31 strikeout to walk rate. If Sunday’s results are any indication, the A’s are going to be in good hands every fifth day when Samardzija takes the mound.