The Good: Mike Moustakas
The Stats: .269/.305/.559 (.864 OPS/120 OPS+); 24 home runs, 52 RBI; 1.6 fWAR
The Case: This one is pretty self-explanatory, seeing as how Moose is on (and leading, at the time of this writing) the fan vote ballot for the final AL All-Star spot (which you can access here if that’s your thing). He’s already going to Miami anyway to participate in the Home Run Derby—which I laid out as a fairly important turn of events and upon further reflection, it may be more important to the franchise than an eventual All-Star nod—so you may as well keep him in South Beach the whole time.
Moose’s contributions go beyond the simple fact that he’s on pace to obliterate Steve Balboni’s Kansas City Royals single-season home run record, although that’s pretty significant too. When the offense struggled to find its footing April, Moustakas was there to supply a steady presence (.271/.303/.553, seven homers). When everything crested in June, it was Moose leading the pack (.313/.340/.635, eight homers, 22 RBI).
Hopefully, the fan vote will pan out and Moustakas’ stay in Miami will be a lengthy one. If not, and if Moose walks at the end of the season (he’s making a pretty compelling walk-year case, please don’t tell Scott Boras), it would be a real shame if 2015 was his only opportunity to represent the Kansas City Royals at the Midsummer Classic.
Anybody Have His Spot Who Shouldn’t? Among AL infielder’s, Sano and Baltimore’s Johnathan Schoop make it under the “Every team has to be represented” rule (which is how “two-time All-Star Jose Rosado” became a thing in the late-90s). Moose vs. Starlin Castro is compelling—Castro has slightly better peripherals in the shadow of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, while Moustakas stands out for carrying the Kansas City Royals to this point.
Among his final vote brethren, I’d cross off Xander Bogaerts and Didi Gregorious almost immediately. Logan Morrison and Moustakas are having similar years, but Morrison has been a pain the butt for much of his big-league tenure and even now is whining because Sanchez has his Home Run Derby spot. Elvis Andrus’ career-high 11 home runs and continually high-end peripherals make him a compelling candidate—but the Rangers are also 17 games out in their division. At gun point, I’d give the nod to Moustakas—but don’t count out LoMo or Andrus.
How Robbed Should He Feel?: 6 out of 10 about the initial vote and manager’s choice, 31 out of 10 if this fan vote thing falls through. Kansas City Royals fans are the same people who got Alcides Escobar an All-Star start in 2015; this should be a cakewalk.