With a week to go for the fans to vote for the starters in the 2018 Major League Baseball All Star Game, it’s a good time to project who will represent the Cleveland Indians in the Midsummer Classic.
As of last week, Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez is the only player from Cleveland leading his position in fan voting with shortstop Francisco Lindor the next closest potential starter, trailing Orioles’ Manny Machado by 250,000 votes.
With Ramirez essentially locked in as a starter with a week to go in voting, it’s time to look at who should be joining him Washington D.C. on July 17th.
SS Francisco Lindor
As I mentioned above, Lindor sits in third place in fan voting currently behind Machado and Houston’s Carlos Correa in what is a stacked shortstop group in the American League.
Machado will likely be the starter but Lindor should definitely be heading to his third All-Star appearance in his third full-time major league season.
Lindor is hitting .296 with 24 doubles, 19 home runs, 44 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases in 75 games (354 plate appearances).
OF Michael Brantley
Many wondered what Michael Brantley was going to be like after offseason ankle surgery but once he made his debut on April 6, he looked like vintage Michael Brantley.
Hitting .316 with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in 65 games (289 plate appearances). Brantley sits fourth in fan voting and is currently 500,000 votes behind Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the final starting spot.
Brantley should make the team as one of the reserves in the outfield for his third All-Star Game appearance.
P Corey Kluber
The defending Cy Young Award winner has been one of the two best pitchers in baseball so far this season along with Nationals’ Max Scherzer.
Kluber was the first pitcher to get to 11 wins this season and ranks in the top 10 of the American League in the major pitching catergories.
He’s 11-3 with a 2.10 ERA (2nd in AL), 113 strikeouts (7th in AL) over 12 walks, a 0.806 WHIP (2nd in AL) in 16 starts (111.2 innings pitched).
Kluber will make it to his third All-Star game and should get the starting nod for the American League.
P Trevor Bauer
What Trevor Bauer has done so far in his 2018 season is what many scouts thought he would be when Arizona drafted him 3rd overall in the 2011 draft.
The 27 year old is having a career first half so far and it will be a big debate if he should make the All-Star Game or not. In my opinion he should.
Bauer is 7-5 with a 2.44 ERA (4th in the AL) with 140 strikeouts (3rd in AL).
His win/loss record would stir voters away but luckily the fans don’t vote the pitchers in.
Astros manager AJ Hinch, who will manage the American League selects who is on the pitching staff and if you’ve watched Bauer in the 2018 season knows he should be in Washington D.C. next month.
Although Hinch may pass on Bauer after some controversial comments he made earlier in the season when Bauer accused the Astros pitchers of doctoring baseballs to perform better.
Of course there’s some Indians players who have to miss out but have had good seasons so far.
P Mike Clevinger
Along with Bauer, Clevinger has been All-Star worthy during the first half of the 2018 season in packing a 1-2-3 punch in the rotation with Kluber.
Clevinger was 6-2 with a 3.00 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 15 starts and 99 innings pitched.
Astros manager AJ Hinch is going to have a difficult time selecting the pitchers of the American League and selecting Bauer or Clevinger to represent Cleveland is one of those decisions.
DH Edwin Encarnacion
The 35 year old slugger has numbers that could send him to his fourth All-Star appearance with 18 home runs and 53 runs batted in.
His .238 batting average could deter his selection to go to somewhere else, he currently sits fifth in voting for the designated hitter and likely the reserve spot will go to Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton or Houston’s Evan Gattis.