Lineups were announced on Monday for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, and the American League starting nine looks awfully imposing.
Mike Trout will bat third and play center field for the AL on Tuesday night, after being named an All-Star for the seventh time in his seven full seasons. He was injured last year but in All-Star play Trout has at least one hit in all five of his previous games, going 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles, a home run, a triple and two walks, capturing game MVP honors in 2014 and 2015.
Mookie Betts is leading off and playing right field for the American League after a stunning first half that saw him hit .359/.448/.691 with 23 home runs and 18 stolen bases for the Boston Red Sox. He and Trout have been the two best hitters in baseball this season, and they are joined in the AL lineup by the two major league home run hitters, with Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Boston designated hitter J.D. Martinez each at 29 home runs.
Ramirez had a breakout season in 2017 and finished third in MVP voting. He has already matched last year’s home run total and rather amazingly also has 20 stolen bases, just two shy of the American League lead. Chuck Klein in 1932 is the only major league player in the live ball era (1920-present) to lead his league in both home runs and steals in the same season.
Including Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado — as trade rumors swirl around him — and New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, the American League starting lineup has six of the top nine hitters in baseball as measured by wRC+.
In between Betts and Trout is Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, the reigning AL MVP who is hitting .332/.394/.470 with 23 doubles and 14 steals.
The one change in the starting lineup from the fans’ vote is at catcher, with Tampa Bay Rays catcher out with a hamstring injury. Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who was elected to the All-Star roster by the players, will start in Ramos’s place, the fifth consecutive All-Star start for Perez, who at .221/.259/.394 is the only light hitter in the American League lineup.
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