We're about a quarter of the way through the season, which means we're about six weeks away from the All-Star break. Voting for the All-Star Game has been underway for several weeks now, and the first update was released earlier in the week. From the looks of it, it's going to be a mostly Royal-filled game. It doesn't look like any of the Yankees' position players stand a real chance unless fans really pick up their voting. Obviously the All-Star Game is just a huge popularity contest, at least as far as the fan vote goes, but do any Yankees deserve to make the team?
Mark Teixeira is usually known for being a slow starter when the season rolls around, but he's gotten off to a remarkable start. Right now he's playing better than he has in years. He may not be the best first baseman in the American League, but he definitely deserves consideration. His batting average doesn't look terribly impressive, but his slugging percentage and 14 home runs make up for it, not to mention the fact that he's sporting a 149 wRC+. His walk percentage is up from his career average, and he's also reduced his strikeouts. There's almost no way that Miguel Cabrera doesn't win the vote though, since he's doing typical Cabrera things. Tex is currently trailing both Cabrera and Eric Hosmer by nearly a million votes.
The position of designated hitter is pretty stacked this year, so while Alex Rodriguez hasn't been the best, he should definitely be in the conversation. No one knew what to expect from him after he missed the entire 2014 season serving his suspension, and he's shown that he still has it. Nelson Cruz is leading the polls right now, as he should be, but A-Rod deserves some more votes. You know who he is currently beating? David Ortiz. He's also playing better than Ortiz, so at least that's something.
Before landing on the disabled list with a knee injury, Jacoby Ellsbury was making a strong case that he deserved the third outfield spot. Without a timetable for his return, his chances are probably gone. Mike Trout certainly deserves the first spot, but the playing field is pretty even for the other two. Despite the fact that he's played really well, Ellsbury is trailing all of the players shown above except for Gardner. By the way, the best way of proving that the vote for position players is mostly a popularity contest is the fact that Carlos Beltran has cracked the top fifteen outfielders, and is just barely trailing behind Gardner. That is offensive to Gardner.
Fans only get to vote for the position players (aside from the "final vote" at the end which could include pitchers). Otherwise, the players vote for five starters and three relievers, along with one backup for role. The manager, Ned Yost, will also get to select eight players, but part of his job is to make sure that every team in the AL is represented as well. It doesn't look like any of the Yankees position players will make the All-Star team, but several of their pitchers should.
From the rotation, Michael Pineda is the clear standout. Through 64.1 innings pitched, he has 9.37 K/9, 0.70 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 with an ERA of 3.36 and 2.54 FIP. He looked absolutely filthy against the Orioles a few weeks ago, when he notched a career-high 16 strikeouts. Of the qualified starters in the AL, Pineda is in the top ten for strikeouts and has the lowest walk rate. He's also in the top five in terms of fWAR with 1.9.
As for the bullpen, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have both exceeded expectations, and they both deserve to make the All-Star team. Over the offseason, the Yankees opted to let David Robertson go to the White Sox in free agency, and signed Miller. Although Joe Girardi refused to name Miller the official closer for weeks, Miller has been working as the closer for the first time in his career, and he has excelled. Miller has 14 saves and zero blown saves through 21.1 innings pitched, which makes him tied for second most saves in the league. Miller has the highest strikeout rate among relievers in the AL, at 14.34 K/9, and he's ranked in the top ten for lowest ERA at 0.84. Betances has been equally impressive in the setup role. Of the relievers in the AL who have pitched at least 13 innings, Betances and Wade Davis are the only ones who have an ERA of 0.00. His strikeout rate is right up there with Miller's at 14.19 K/9, and Betances hasn't given up a single home run in 25 innings. If no other Yankees make the team, Betances and Miller should be locks.
Which Yankees do you think deserve to make it? Do you vote for who the best players are, or do you vote all Yankees? You can cast your vote here, if you haven't already.
*All stats current as of 5/28