First on the Field
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox, First Base
While the south side of Chicago is undergoing a painful rebuilding process, Abreu has been one of the more positive aspects of that rebuild. The humble slugger escaped Cuba to play in the big leagues and all he’s done since arriving in the United States is be consistent in the batters box. Since making his MLB debut in 2014 Abreu has had a batting average of .290 or better each year and he’s on pace to do that again in 2018 (currently .250).
He’s also had an on-base percentage of .300 or better every season (currently .311), a slugging percentage of .400 or better (currently .441), and an OPS of .800 or higher (currently .752). He’s also on pace to reach the 30 home run/100 RBI mark again (already at 13 and 52 respectively). The fans recognize his contributions and as such they’ve rewarded him with his second All-Star appearance.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros, Second Base
He stands at 5-foot-6 and weighs just 165 pounds. But “The little engine that could” for the defending champion Astros has the American League’s second-highest batting average (.332), fifth-highest on-base percentage (.394), and ranks in the top-20 in both slugging (.455) and OPS (.865). He also makes some big plays on defense. Heading into his sixth All-Star game, Altuve will need to give a championship effort if the American League wants to extend It’s winning streak to six games.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles, Shortstop
He’s the most talked about player with the trade deadline fast approaching. But as he makes his fourth trip to these All-Star festivities he’ll need to put the trade talk aside and just play ball. Unfortunately that’ll be easier said than done as scouts and executives across the league will be watching with extra interests in mind. This is one player who literally could start the game as an Oriole and finish it as a Yankee!
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians, Third Base
Ramirez has earned his second consecutive All-Star nod by being one of the top hitters in the game today. He ranks third in all of MLB in slugging (.628), fourth in both OPS (1.029) and RBI’s (70), and he’s eighth in stolen bases (20). When you’re one of the league’s top-ten offensive players, a spot in the All-Star game is automatic.
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, Catcher
He’s been called the American League’s Yadier Molina at times, but the Venezuelan-born Perez will be replacing Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos who was injured right before the All-Star break. He’s the third-leading A.L. catcher in terms of home runs (13), RBI’s (41), and he’s ninth in the category in doubles (11).
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox, Outfield
Martinez has been named as the designated hitter for the American League this year. The Cuban-American was the Bo’ Sox big free agent acquisition this past offseason and he has not disappointed. His numbers this year scream power hitter with a very impressive slash line (.328/.393/.644/.1.037) along with leading MLB in both home runs (29), and runs batted in (80), and ranks third in extra base hits (53). The DH slot will suit him well this coming Tuesday.