National League All Stars +120 vs. American League All Stars -130 (Total: 8.5)
The Midsummer Classic returns with one of the most exciting blends of young and old we have seen in several decades. Forty year old Chipper Jones will make his All Star curtain call tonight, and he’ll be joined by another future Hall of Famer and current American League elder statesman Derek Jeter. There are some big stars and familiar faces like Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz. There is the next wave of megastars like Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen and Robinson Cano. And then there is a beautiful glimpse into the divine future of baseball with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Steen Strasburg and Bryce Harper (any coincidence that those four, are leading their two respective teams to playoff runs?).
It is going to be an exciting and star-laden event tonight, but which team has the edge? Let’s dig into the rosters a bit and see which squad is the one to pin your wager on tonight in Kansas City.
The American League will start things off with a nice tip of the cap to one of the games all-time greats with Derek Jeter batting leadoff. The middle of the order is an absolute pitcher’s nightmare. Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Joey Bats (Jose Bautista), and Prince Fielder. That would be three of your homerun derby entrants and arguably the best baseball player on the planet. Good luck NL pitchers. Rounding out the lineup is Adrian Belte, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Curtis Granderson. There are some potential strikeouts at the bottom, but also four MORE guys who can take you out of the yard. From top to bottom, this is a vicious, dangerous and potent lineup. Nice job fans on the voting this year.
The National League has slightly better on-base guys but doesn’t have the same pop as their compatriots in the Junior Circuit. They lead of with an odd choice, Carlos Gonzalez, then follow up with Melky Cabrera, Ryan Braun and Joey Votto. Those three are hitting a little over .340 between them. Carlos Beltran is having a nice resurgent season and bats fifth. The bottom of the lineup sputters a bit with Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Dan Uggla and Rafael Furcal (two, and arguably three – Posey excepted – were wrong choices by the fans). Overall, I’d give the edge to the American League before the subs enter the game.
Both teams are loaded with power arms. Justin Verlander, Jared Weaver, and CC Sabathia highlight the AL, while Matt Cain, Steven Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman will be bringing the heat from the NL. I imagine both managers will be judicious with their pitchers. The NL has a potential hole if Dickey struggles as he has in two of his last four starts, while the AL has a handful of first time All Stars who may or may not make an appearance. Overall, I’d call the pitching matchup a push.
Benches matter in All Star games, as very few starters will be around by the sixth inning. The NL has a cadre of big bats, led by Andrew McCuthchen, Bryce Harper and the sentimental favorite Chipper Jones. But again, I have to give the edge to the American League, who can counter with Joe Mauer, Paul Konerko, Adam Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Mark Trumbo and the sensational rookie, Mike Trout.
Looking at rosters, pitching, experience and even home field advantage, every edge seems to tip in the American League’s favor. Minus 130 isn’t a bad price to pay either, and that’s my official pick for tonight.
Free Pick: American League All Stars to WIN -130