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ESPN's picks to start the All-Star Game

7/4/2008 - MLB

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In advance of the All-Star Game selections on Sunday, ESPN.com surveyed 32 of ESPN's top baseball minds to find out which players should be starting in the 79th Midsummer Classic on July 15 at Yankee Stadium. Following are the voting results and the choices at each position (stats are through Thursday's games).

The voters: Jorge Arangure Jr., Steve Berthiaume, Jim Caple, Jerry Crasnick, Peter Gammons, Gerry Fraley, Jason Grey, Orel Hershiser, Eric Karabell, Jonah Keri, Bob Klapisch, Tim Kurkjian, Keith Law, Sean McAdam, Jon Miller, Amy Nelson, Rob Neyer, Buster Olney, James Quintong, Peter Pascarelli, Steve Phillips, Nate Ravitz, Phil Rogers, Enrique Rojas, John Shea, Dan Shulman, Mark Simon, Jayson Stark, Rick Sutcliffe, Fernando Vina, Eric Young and Pedro Zayas.


McCann is tops among NL catchers in slugging and homers and is hitting .330 vs. lefties.

Mauer's .326 batting average leads the American League, and he's been getting stronger each month.

Others: Geovany Soto 7, Russell Martin 8,     Bengie Molina 3
Others: A.J. Pierzynski 3

FIRST BASEMEN

Lance Berkman, Astros (27)
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (17)

Berkman, who hit at a torrid .471 clip in May, is currently tied for major league lead in OPS (1.116).

Morneau would have been a solid choice too, but Youkilis has outslugged the Twin (.532 to 483).

Others: Albert Pujols 3, Adrian Gonzalez 2
Others: Justin Morneau 13, Jason Giambi 2

SECOND BASEMEN

Chase Utley, Phillies (31)
Ian Kinsler, Rangers (28)

Even an 0-for-24 slump couldn't keep the ultra-talented Utley from a near sweep in the voting.

Kinsler has ignited the Rangers' league-leading offense with a breakout first half in the leadoff spot.

Others: Dan Uggla 1
Others: Dustin Pedroia 2, Placido Polanco 1,    Brian Roberts 1
SHORTSTOPS

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (32)
Michael Young, Rangers (21)

No other shortstop is playing at the same level as Ramirez, who's a unanimous choice at his position.

It's slim pickings at shortstop in the AL this season, but Young has been the best of the bunch.

Others: None
Others: Derek Jeter 11

THIRD BASEMEN

Chipper Jones, Braves (29)
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (28)

Can Jones stay healthy and chase .400? That will be among the top stories of the second half.

Longoria is opening some eyes, but he's not ready to supplant A-Rod, who hit .366 in June.

Others: David Wright 3
Others: Evan Longoria 3, Mike Lowell 1
OUTFIELDERS

Ryan Braun, Brewers (19)
Josh Hamilton, Rangers (32)

Braun has slumped lately, but not enough to keep the ex-third baseman from earning the most votes.

With a major league-leading 82 RBIs, Hamilton joins Hanley Ramirez as the only unanimous choices.

Pat Burrell, Phillies (16)
Carlos Quentin, White Sox (25)

In the Phillies' potent lineup, it's easy to overlook Burrell, but he's fifth in the majors with 1.005 OPS.

Among the best offseason acquisitions, Quentin is second in the AL in homers and fourth in RBIs.

Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals (15)
J.D. Drew, Red Sox (13)

Whoever expected this from Ludwick? No one. He's been among the game's pleasant surprises.

With Big Papi out, Drew, who's never been an All-Star, has picked up in the load in Boston's No. 3 spot.

Others: Matt Holliday 13, Carlos Lee 10,          Nate McLouth 10, Xavier Nady 4, Rick Ankiel 2, Jason Bay 2, Kosuke Fukudome 1, Ken Griffey Jr. 1, Alfonso Soriano 1
Others: Jermaine Dye 9, Grady Sizemore 8,      Milton Bradley 3, Ichiro Suzuki 3, David DeJesus 1, Vladimir Guerrero 1, Manny Ramirez 1

DESIGNATED HITTERS

Albert Pujols, Cardinals (20)
Milton Bradley, Rangers (25)

Any questions? Put a bat in his hands, and Pujols is still the game's most feared presence at the plate.

When he's healthy, the switch-hitting Bradley has proven himself to be an offensive tour de force.

Others: Adrian Gonzalez 3, Lance Berkman 2,    Pat Burrell 2, Ryan Ludwick 2, Ryan Braun 1,      Ken Griffey Jr. 1, Dan Uggla 1
Others: Manny Ramirez 3, J.D. Drew 2,           Jason Giambi 1, Carlos Quentin 1

STARTING PITCHERS

Edinson Volquez, Reds (17)
Cliff Lee, Indians (27)

The best pitcher of the first half, Volquez gave up two earned runs or less in his first 12 starts.

Last year, Lee was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo. This year, he's been the undisputed ace of the AL.

Others: Tim Lincecum 11, Brandon Webb 3,      Dan Haren 1
Others: Roy Halladay 3, Justin Duchscherer 1,     Joe Saunders 1