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. So let’s break down each player’s resume and figure out who will be named to the American League squad tomorrow afternoon.
Mike Moustakas – Third Baseman
The Case For: Moustakas ranks 3rd among American League third basemen with an .803 OPS, 3rd in homers with 13, and 4th in doubles with his 17. He has also displayed surprisingly world class defense at third base. Moustakas leads all AL third basemen with 23 double plays started, which is seven more than pursuers Brett Lawrie and Miguel Cabrera. He also ranks second in assists and second in fielding percentage. By almost any metric, he has been an elite defender this season.
On top of his league rankings, Moustakas has arguably been the best all-round Royal this season. He currently sits second on the team in home runs, RBI, and OPS, and is third on the team with 17 doubles.
Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera seem like locks at this point. But Moustakas has a legitimate case to make this team as the back-up to the back-up third baseman.
The Case Against: Moustakas’ mid-.260’s batting average doesn’t jump off the page. Furthermore, as good as his defense has been, ultimately the reality is that the All-Star game is more about offense than defense. The guys with impressive counting numbers are more likely to get the nod. And offensively, it would be difficult to argue that Moustakas deserves to make the team over teammate Billy Butler.
He is young and still improving, and will no doubt get his opportunity to play on the big stage in his blossoming career. But for guys who are neck and neck in quality like Butler and Moustakas, the player with the longer track record of success should get the nod. Butler simply deserves to be recognized as the best player on the Royals. Moustakas’ best chance would be if the Royals garner two roster spots.
Odds of Making Team: 10%
My Pick: Moustakas will make plenty of All-Star teams, but it’s not going to happen in 2012.