My opinion of the best player at each position in each league. For pitchers, I pick 3 starters and 1 reliever. I do include a DH. Here’s the 2004 version:
My NL All-Stars: C – Jason Kendall, PIT (.319/3/51)
1B – Albert Pujols, STL (.331/46/123, 133 R, 1.072 OPS)
2B – Mark Loretta, SDP (.335/16/76)
3B – Adrian Beltre, LAD (.334/48/121, 200 H)
SS – Jimmy Rollins, PHI (.289/14/73, 12 3B, 30 SB)
OF – Barry Bonds, OF, SFG Barry Bonds, OF, San Francisco Giants (.362/45/101, 232 BB – MLB record, 120 IBB – MLB record, .609 OBP – MLB record, .812 SLG, 1.422 OPS – MLB record, MVP)
OF – Jim Edmonds, STL (.301/42/111)
OF – J.D. Drew ATL (.305/31/93, 118 R)
SP – Randy Johnson, ARI (16-14/2.60/290, 4 CG, 2 SHO)
SP – Roger Clemens, HOU (18-4/2.98/218, Cy Young)
SP – Ben Sheets, MIL (12-14/2.70/264, 5 CG)
RP – Brad Lidge, HOU (6-5/1.90/157, 29 SV)
Shortstop was a tough position to pick – Jack Wilson could have easily been slotted in for Rollins. Outfield was almost as tough, too – as Bobby Abreu had a 30-30 season and Juan Pierre had over 220 hits. You could slot either of those guys in for Drew and I wouldn’t argue. Pitcher was also tough after Randy Johnson. Johnson should have matched Roger Clemens for his 6th Cy Young award. He finished 2nd in the vote, behind Clemens, won his 7th award. But Carlos Zambrano, Carl Pavano or Jason Schmidt all had a good case to be in the top 3 pitchers.
Scott Rolen also had a really notable year. He was one of the best 4 players in the NL, but Beltre had a slightly better year at third base.
My AL All-Stars: C – Ivan Rodriguez, DET (.334/19/86)
1B – Mark Teixeira, TEX (.281/38/112)
2B – Juan Uribe CHW (.283/23/74)
3B – Alex Rodriguez, NYY (.286/36/106)
SS – Miguel Tejada, BAL (.311/34/150)
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, SEA (.372/8/60, 262 H – MLB record, 36 SB)
OF – Manny Ramirez, BOS (.308/43/130, .613 SLG)
OF – Vladimir Guerrero, ANA (.337/39/126, 124 R, MVP)
DH – David Ortiz, BOS (.301/41/139)
SP – Johan Santana, MIN (20-6/2.61/265, Cy Young)
SP – Curt Schilling, BOS (21-6/3.26/203)
SP – Pedro Martinez, BOS (16-9/3.90/227)
RP – Mariano Rivera, NYY (4-2/1.94/63, 53 SV)
Starting pitcher was also tough in the American League. But not for the same reason as in the senior circuit. Pedro felt like he was the best choice among a number of good-not-great candidates. The other positions weren’t too particularly difficult. It felt like Gary Sheffield was in the argument to be picked over Manny or Vlad, but I think they are the right decisions.
NL Silver Slugger: C – Johnny Estrada (.314/9/76), 1B – Pujols, 2B – Loretta, 3B – Beltre, SS – Jack Wilson (.308/11/59, 12 3B), OF – Bonds, Edmonds, Bobby Abreu (.301/30/105, 40 SB), P – Livan Hernandez (.247/1/10)
As I mentioned above, Abreu could have been considered over Drew. Drew was better defensively, which is a big reason why I picked him for my “all-star” team (whereas for Silver Sluggers, defense has nothing to do with the award). The decision between Rollins and Jack Wilson could be considered a toss-up.
AL Silver Sluggers: C – Rodriguez & Victor Martinez CLE (.283/23/108), 1B – Teixeira, 2B – Alfonso Soriano TEX (.280/28/91), 3B – Melvin Mora BAL (.340/27/104, .419 OBP), SS – Tejada, OF – Guerrero, Ramirez, Gary Sheffield NYY (.290/36/121), DH – Ortiz
Victor Martinez and Pudge Rodriguez shared the Silver Slugger award at catcher – the only time in the history of the award there has been a tie. Melvin Mora was an interesting choice – he had a really good year, the best of his career. I’m sure the .340 average stuck out to silver slugger voters, and there was probably some A-Rod backlash. Sheffield was a good choice, I thought there were 4 deserving outfielders.