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updated: 6/29/2012 10:18 PM

Are fans getting starters for All-Star game right?

Are fans getting starters for All-Star game right?

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  • Chris Sale is 9-2 on the season with a 2.27 ERA. He deserves to start the All-Star Game, according to the Daily Herald's Scot Gregor.

    Chris Sale is 9-2 on the season with a 2.27 ERA. He deserves to start the All-Star Game, according to the Daily Herald's Scot Gregor.
    Associated Press

  • White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers during the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Chicago.

    White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale delivers during the first inning of an interleague baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

  • Paul Konerko hit his 14th home run of the season Friday in New York.

    Paul Konerko hit his 14th home run of the season Friday in New York.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • A.J. Pierzynski should be behind the plate when the all-stars take the field in Kansas City.

    A.J. Pierzynski should be behind the plate when the all-stars take the field in Kansas City.
    Associated Press

 

As far as All-Star Games go, major-league baseball is still professional sports' undisputed king.

Baseball also holds the crown for most controversy, the direct result of fans voting for starting players, many whom are more popular than productive.

As the Midsummer Classic approaches, Prince Fielder is leading the American League fan voting at first base, Robinson Cano is ahead at second base, Adrian Beltre is the choice at third and Derek Jeter has a huge lead at shortstop.

Mike Napoli is going to start at catcher and David Ortiz has a comfortable lead over Michael Young at designated hitter.

The top three vote getters in the outfield are Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson and Miguel Bautista.

You'll notice there is an absence of White Sox players, even though they are running first in the AL Central.

The official rosters will be announced Sunday at noon on TBS, an hour before the cable network broadcasts the Sox-Yankees game.

I've had a Hall of Fame vote for the past nine years, but with all of the steroid convictions and suspicions, I would gladly trade with fans.

You vote for the HOF, and have fun with that.

I'll take the All-Star Game, and this would be the AL team I would trot out in Kansas City on July 10:

First base

The fans almost got it right.

In the latest balloting, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was running second to Fielder. Konerko has cooled off a bit, but did anybody really think he was going to hit .400?

Heading into Friday, the Sox' captain led AL first basemen in batting average (.332), on-base percentage (.410) and slugging (.548).

In Friday night's 14-7 win over the Yankees, Konerko was 3-for-5, upping his average to .337. He also hit his 14th home run and drove in 3 runs, raising his RBI total to 40. Konerko deserves to start.

Second base

The Rangers' Ian Kinsler is having a nice season, but the fans got it right with Cano.

The Yankees' star leads all AL second basemen in batting average, home runs and OPS.

Third base

Beltre is still a dangerous hitter and solid defender, but the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is my pick at the hot corner.

Heading into Friday, Beltre had a slightly higher batting average, but Cabrera had the Rangers' third baseman beat in nearly every other offensive category.

Shortstop

The Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera is probably a better choice, but not by much.

With that in mind, I'll agree with the fans and go with Jeter, who is not playing like he's 38.

The White Sox are probably still a little queasy from Thursday night's win over the Yankees, where Jeter just missed hitting a 2-run walk-off homer against Addison Reed.

Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has been red-hot in June, and he was 4-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI Friday night. But another slow start in April and May will keep Ramirez out of the All-Star Game.

Catcher

Napoli? He's not bad, but nah.

Give me White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski, who once again did not fare very well in fan voting. Shocking.

Like Konerko, Pierzynski cooled off a bit after a torrid start. But he still led AL catchers in RBI (42), was tied for first with 12 home runs and ranked second with a .278 batting average heading into Friday.

And like Konerko, Pierzynski padded his numbers in the Sox' lopsided win at New York. He's batting .285 after going 3-for-5. The veteran catcher also hit 2 more homers and drove in 3 runs,

DH

The Sox' Adam Dunn was the obvious pick at the end of May, but he's had a rough June and is whiffing at a record pace.

Ortiz has solid numbers across the board for the Red Sox, and he gets the edge over the Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion and Dunn.

Outfield

Hamilton is a no-brainer, especially when you look at that 1.029 OPS.

Bautista is also deserving, but I'll take a pass on Granderson and give the final outfield spot to the Angels' Mike Trout.

Starting pitcher

This one is pretty easy -- White Sox left-hander Chris Sale.

Heading into Friday, Sale led the AL with a skinny 2.27 ERA and ranked second with 9 wins and a 0.97 WHIP. The 94 strikeouts in 95 innings also jump out at you.

The Angels' Jered Weaver deserves strong consideration, but Sale has been a touch better.

gregor@dailyherald.com

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