The Major League Baseball All-Star teams will be announced tomorrow at 1 p.m., and speculation is swirling about who will represent our hometown hosts at the game. Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar have all separated themselves from the pack, with little separating the young Royals stars. To avoid suffering heart palpatations, I’m going to strike Jonathan Broxton‘s name from the conversation right now. So let’s break down each player’s resume and figure out who will be named to the American League squad tomorrow afternoon.
Billy Butler – Designated Hitter
The Case For: Butler leads the Royals in home runs, runs batted in, on-base percentage, slugging, and OPS. Oh, and he’s currently second on the team in batting average. He’s been the most consistent Royal for several years now, and is coming into his own as bona fide superstar. We’re roughly halfway through the season, and Butler is on pace to shatter his career highs in home runs and slugging percentage.
As much as I hate to jinx Butler’s power surge through the season’s first half, I nonetheless feel compelled to mention that Billy (16 HR’s through 76 games) has made himself into a legitimate threat to surpass Steve Balboni’s infamously embarrassing club home run record of 38.
Plus, Butler owns the third best OPS among qualifying designated hitters, trailing only Boston’s David Ortiz and Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion. Chicago’s Adam Dunn is running neck and neck with Butler, but he has several teammates (Paul Konerko, Chris Sale, Alex Rios come to mind) at least as deserving of a spot. Because every team needs to represented, the quota on White Sox all-star candidates probably doesn’t run four-deep.
The way I see it, the All-Star game is the perfect opportunity to carry three designated hitters, since most of the non-starters at the game won’t figure to get more than one at-bat anyway.
Bonus: Butler would become a natural candidate for the home run derby if he was named to the squad. If Saturday’s bomb against the Twins is any indication, he could put on quite a show.
The Case Against: Butler must get tired of hearing this, but no conversation regarding his talents is complete until the obligatory mention that he doesn’t play defense. When he’s competing for a roster spot with defensive stalwarts Moustakas and Escobar, that fact simply has to be taken into account.
Odds of Making Team: 65%
My Pick: He’s in.