The Astros All-Star Calibre Infield
Someone who gets paid more than me should research whether a team has ever gotten all four of its infielders on the All-Star team. I’ve never heard of it, but there’s a chance it could happen to the Astros this year.
Of course, all four have been implicated in the Astros cheating scandal, so there’s zero chance any of them will be voted in. And when it comes to being selected, it could also be a factor that might weigh against them. Especially if it turns out that merit would actually favor all four.
It would be a bad look for baseball to have the four cheaters on the field together. (ALTUVE DIDN’T CHEAT)
Still, a case could be made that after 62 games three of the four deserve it, and the fourth could break in with a strong finish to the remaining 26 games before the All-Star game.
Let’s look at it position by position.
The Four top contenders for All-Star at first base are, in order of fWAR:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr......3.5 fWAR, 190 wRC+, 1.078 OPS, 18 HR, 48 RBI
Yuli Gurriel.....................2.2 fWAR, 166 wRC+, .952 OPS, 9 HR, 45 RBI
Matt Olson.....................1.9 fWAR, 157 wRC+, .933 OPS, 15 HR, 41 RBI
Jared Walsh...................1.8 fWAR, 152 wRC+ .916 OPS, 13 HR, 40 RBI
Guerrero of course is a shoo-in, but Gurriel has the inside track for the second position as it stands now. Cheating aside, Gurriel would be a classy choice, as one of the most renowned players in the history of international baseball, to also get recognition as an MLB All-Star at the age of 37.
Second base comes down to two main contenders, Marcus Semien, and Jose Altuve. Semien has the slight edge, but Altuve’s counting numbers, including WAR, were hurt by his COVID IL stint. Plus the slump he had right afterward. But there’s no way he’s getting voted on the All-Star team first ballot anyway.
(Cato famously concluded his every speech before the Roman Senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” From now on I pledge to say this after every major Altuve reference: Altuve didn’t cheat.)
Marcus Semien.....2.6 fWAR, 138 wRC+, .869 OPS, 13 HR, 33 RBI
Jose Altuve...........2.0 fWAR, 136 wRC+, .843 OPS, 11 HR, 29 RBI
Shortstop is also a two-man race as well, between Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, although for kicks I’ll throw in #3 in the stats below.
Xander Bogaerts.......3.0 fWAR, 151 wRC+, .929 OPS, 11 HR, 38 RBI
Carlos Correa............2.4 fWAR, 145 wRC+, .868 OPS, 11 HR, 34 RBI
Isiah Kiner-Filefa........1.9 fWAR, 105 wRC+, .737 OPS, 5 HR, 24 RBI
Carlos belongs on the All-Star team for the second time in his career barring a major collapse between now and the Game.
This one is the hardest sell, and may require a hot streak for the Astros entrant to this contest to make it. They don’t call it the hot corner for nothing, and not just for the balls coming at you, but the competition as well.
Here’s Alex Bregman’s case. He does have the highest wRC + of all three baggers, although it's a razor’s edge between the top five contenders. He’s only fourth in fWAR, but he’s played about six fewer games than his main competition. He is hurt by a neutral overall defensive rating, but those statistics don’t mean much in a half season, and usually aren’t the main criteria for a slugging position like third base.
Still, Alex looks like he will have to leapfrog a few players before getting the nod, and since no one outside Houston likes him, he’s got a steep hill to climb.
Yoan Moncada..........2.7 fWAR, 139 wRC+, .824 OPS, 5 HR, 31 RBI
Jose Ramirez............2.3 fWAR, 136 wRC+, .883 OPS, 14 HR, 35 RBI
Rafael Devers...........2.0 fWAR, 137 wRC+, .895 OPS, 15 HR, 48 RBI
Joey Wendle.............1.9 fWAR, 138 wRC+, .850 OPS, 7, HR, 29 RBI
Alex Bregman...........1.9 fWAR, 140 wRC+, .847 OPS, 7 HR, 31 RBI
I think there are two locks at third base, Devers and Ramirez, assuming current trends continue until the All-Star Game. Moncada leads in WAR but is the weakest hitter of the bunch by traditional counting stats and OPS at a position that is supposed to put up big numbers.
Still, there is the possibility of three third basemen on the All-Star team, and with a strong close, Bregman has a good chance of being that third baseman.
Since the emergence of Alex Bregman I have always dreamed of an Astro All-Star infield, at least from second, third, and short. With Gurriel having a career year, it could be an all Astros All-Star infield, at least at some point in the latter innings of the game.
Somehow I don’t think the powers that be will ever let that happen.