Players to Watch for All-Star Game MVP:
- Jose Bautista: Joey Bats has had a rough go of it in his previous two All-Star appearances, 1-for-3 with a single—not what we’ve come to expect from one of the most feared hitters in the game. He’s hit 124 home runs in his last two-and-a-half seasons. Simply put, Bautista is due for something big. After the performance he put on last night in the Home Run Derby, he appears to be locked in, even if the showcase doesn’t mean anything. Don’t be surprised if Bautista finally puts a charge into a ball tonight and makes a case for All-Star MVP honors.
Paul Konerko: Konerko is having another spectacular season for the White Sox. Indians fans should know first hand how well he’s played to date. He’ll probably have the opportunity to come into the game in the later innings as a pinch hitter with runners on base. That’t the type of situation Konerko thrives in. He’s almost a lock for either an RBI double or a back-breaking home run. If he does what he’s done through out his career, he may be adding All-Star MVP to his already impressive resume.
- Adam Jones: Jones is a bit of a forgotten man in Baltimore. He’s having a fantastic season, hitting .289/.330/.534 with 20 home runs and 44 RBI. Those are the type of numbers that jump off the stat sheet. Unfortunately, he’s on a team that is stuck in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox and hasn’t seriously competed for a division crown in at least 15 years. He’s special and a true five-tool player that deserves to take center stage in the All-Star Game. Jones should have been elected as a starter, but instead will come off the bench meaning, he’ll get the opportunity to make an impact in the later innings where All-Star MVPs are born.
- Billy Butler: Butler is the lone representative for the hometown Royals. While it’s been a disappointing season so far in Kansas City, Butler has been outstanding and experiencing a career year in the power department. He’s already connected for 16 home runs (his career high is 21) and driven in 52 runs for a team that often times is offensively challenged. Given the right opportunity in the right situation he could make a big impact for the American League squad. Seeing Butler win the MVP would also be a fitting end to the first meaningful baseball moment in Kansas City in decades. This fan base, which has endured so much misery over the years, deserves something good to cheer about.
- Mike Trout: Once in a lifetime talent, can’t miss prospect, the next Mickey Mantle. That’s how scouts have been describing the Angels rookie sensation ever since he was drafted 25th overall in 2009. He hasn’t disappointed. Like Bryce Harper of the Nationals, Trout hasn’t missed a beat since being promoted to the Angels back on April 28. In that time he is hitting a ludicrous slash line of .341/.397/.562 with 12 home runs, 40 RBI, and 26 stolen bases. He was in the minors the first month of the season and has put up those kinds of stats. Forget All-Star MVP, come September we may be talking AL MVP. When he gets into the game it’s almost a given that’s he’s going to do something to make an impact. Just how jaw-dropping that moment is going to be is anyone’s best guess.
Trivia Answer: Buddy Bell was the lone representative for the Cleveland Indians in 1973. He tripled in his only plate appearance coming off the bench for the AL.