Your Texas Rangers, the best team in Major League baseball after half of the season, will send a club record 8 players to the midsummer classic in Kansas City on July 10th. The Rangers have had a few stretches this season where they haven’t played as well as we’d expect, but they are what most people believe is the most talented team in the league, and the All-Star roster shows it. Despite a few arguments from other teams/writers that Ron Washington gave his guys a nod when others were deserving, you cant argue with most of these players making the team especially when fans/players voted most of them in.
SP Matt Harrison
Matt Harrison has been the “Ace” for the Rangers through this point of the season, the 26 year old has developed into the most consistent starter on the team and he may very well be the starter for the AL in his first all-star game. He leads the league with 11 wins. Despite a loss Thursday night, he pitched a complete game giving up only 2 runs. He has shown all year that he will throw strikes and pitch deep into games; he gives the offense a chance to win the game every time he pitches.
SP Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish brought “Yu Mania” to Arlington when he arrived in the off-season. Apparently the rest of the MLB world feels the same: Darvish was voted in by the fans for the final spot in the All-Star game. He has lived up to the hype with 10 wins and a 3.59 ERA. Nobody knew what to expect when Darvish came onto the scene and everyone thought it would take him a while to adjust to American baseball, but he’s acclimated himself to the American game with very few difficulties. Darvish’s command has been his only real problem. He walks a little over 4 batters per game, but like every other part of his game, its only going to get better with more experience.
CP Joe Nathan
Joe Nathan was a large question mark going into the season, he didn’t pitch a full season in 2011 because of an arm injury. At 37, many questioned whether he would be able to return to the form he had while compiling 261 saves throughout his career. Well Nathan has only come in and shown that he can still pitch at a high level and close for a ML team. He has 18 saves, a 1.87 ERA, and he made his 5th All-Star game. If the Rangers didn’t score so many runs, Nathan may have more saves than he does in the Rangers 50 wins.
C Mike Napoli
Mike Napoli was voted into the All-Star game as a starter by the fans. His selection may be based on memories of what he did in the second half of last season, as opposed to what he has done so far this year. Napoli does have 12 home runs, but his .233 BA isn’t what you would expect from of an All-Star. Joe Mauer (MIN) and Matt Wieters (BAL) were both better selections as starters, but that is one of the problems when the fans get to choose everything. We can only hope Napoli finds whatever it was he had last year in the second half of the season.
2B Ian Kinsler
Ian Kinsler was one of two players that Ron Washington selected to the all-star game as the manager of the AL champion team. While his stats don’t scream best 2B in the AL, Rangers fans and Washington know how important he is to the team and he deserves to be on the team. Kinsler leads the league in doubles (26) and Runs (61). While his average is a little lower than the team would like (.276), he continues to be one of the most dynamic leadoff men in the league. He will need to increase his HR total quite a bit in the second half to make the 30-30 club again, but this 3-time all-star gets the chance to enjoy the break in Kansas City before getting back to work.
SS Elvis Andrus
Elvis Andrus was the second choice of Ron Washington for the All-Star team, making it the second selection of his young career. Elvis should have been voted in as the starting SS, as he’s arguably had the best season for a SS this year. Elvis continues to develop, and at the age of 23, he’s hitting .302 with 32 RBI’s, 16 SB, and he leads the league with 16 triples. Defensively, he leads the league in putouts with 261, and his 9 errors have him on pace for his best defensive season of his career. He is getting better all the time; Andrus will get many more All-Star nods before his career is over.
3B Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre was voted in as a starter for the AL by the fans, making this his 3rd All-Star appearance. While power hitters Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz have had very long hot and cold streaks, Beltre has been the most consistent hitter on the team. He has maintained a very high average (.325), and also hit 14 HR and 52 RBI’s. Beltre’s hitting isn’t the only thing he does great. He’s arguably the best defensive 3B in all of baseball. Rangers fans shouldn’t take his great defense for granted, they won’t always have someone that good there.
LF Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton was the leading vote getter for both All-Star teams. He set a record for most votes ever received by a single player (11 million) on the way to his 5th straight All-Star game. Hamilton has been the MVP of the Rangers season and has been on of the best players in baseball. His 26 HR are second in the league, and his 61 RBI’s is the most in baseball. Hamilton has cooled off in June and the beginning of July, but if he can get back on track in the second half of the season, he may make himself the highest paid player in baseball history when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.