David J. Phillip/Associated Press
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game rosters were completed Wednesday, as the 32nd players on the American and National League rosters were voted in by fans.
Although there will be some roster turnover in the coming days due to injuries and rest for pitchers, each league enters Nationals Park Tuesday with 32 available players.
On paper, the AL appears to have the more dynamic starting lineup, but the NL isn’t struggling to find sluggers, as it possesses a formidable collection of home-run hitters who can change the game with one swing.
The All-Star Game is strictly an exhibition now that home-field advantage for the World Series isn’t awarded to the winner anymore, but there’s still a good amount of strategy involved for both managers to deal with through nine innings or more.
2018 MLB All-Star Game Information
Date: Tuesday, July 17
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Wilson Ramos. C, Tampa Bay
Jose Abreu, 1B. Chicago White Sox
Jose Altuve. 2B, Houston
Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland
Manny Machado, SS, Baltimore
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Mookie Betts, OF, Boston
J.D. Martinez, OF, Boston
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Boston
Jed Lowrie, 2B, Oakland
Gleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees*
Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston
Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland
Jean Segura, SS, Seattle
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas
Mitch Haniger, OF, Seattle
George Springer, OF, Houston
Nelson Cruz, DH, Seattle
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland
Jose Berrios, Minnesota
Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees
Gerrit Cole, Houston
Edwin Diaz, Seattle
J.A. Happ, Toronto
Joe Jimenez, Detroit
Craig Kimbrel, Boston
Corey Kluber, Cleveland
Chris Sale, Boston
Luis Severino, New York Yankees
Blake Treinen, Oakland
Justin Verlander, Detroit*
Willson Contreras, C, Chicago Cubs
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado
Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco
Nick Markakis, OF, Atlanta
Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco*
J.T. Realmuto, C, Miami
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona
Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta
Scooter Gennett, 2B, Cincinnati
Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Cincinnati
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado
Lorenzo Cain, OF, Milwaukee
Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee
Patrick Corbin, Arizona
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Sean Doolittle, Washington*
Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta
Josh Hader, Milwaukee
Brad Hand, San Diego
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Miles Mikolas, St. Louis*
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia
Max Scherzer, Washington
Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers
Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh
*-denotes player won’t be participating in All-Star Game.
Final Vote Winners Add Depth At Respective Positions
Milwaukee first baseman Jesus Aguilar and Seattle shortstop Jean Segura were added to their respective rosters Wednesday as winners of the final vote.
The addition of both players brings depth to their respective positions on each roster, but it also makes life a bit more difficult for their managers when it comes to handing out playing time.
The NL roster was already packed with first basemen before Aguilar was voted on to the team, and now NL manager Dave Roberts must be judicious with how he works in his three reserves at the position.
Aaron Gash/Associated Press
Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman was voted in as the starter at first base, and like most starters have in past years, he’ll play four or five innings before making way for a reserve.
Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto are both reliable veterans with solid bats, which could lead to Roberts stashing one of them and Aguilar on the bench until the later innings.
Another way Roberts can alleviate the stress of finding roles for the quartet of first basemen is to stick one in the designated hitter role.
Over in the AL, manager A.J. Hinch needs to find a way to get three shortstops into the contest, with Segura joining starter Manny Machado of Baltimore and Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor.
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Shortstop is the only infield position on the AL roster in which there’s more than one reserve, which means Hinch could split time between Segura and Lindor in the latter part of the game, or keep the Mariners shortstop on the bench for a late pinch-hitting situation.
Regardless of how the final vote honorees will be used Tuesday, they will play a part in the contest, as position players who aren’t catchers rarely go unused in the All-Star Game.
Figuring Out Batting Order For AL Starters Is No Easy Task
If you take one glance over the list of starters in AL, it’s hard to come up with a batting order that makes sense since all nine players could hit in the middle of the order.
With an immense amount of star power that outmatches the NL starters on paper, the AL needs to get the most out of its lineup in the first few innings.
Since he doesn’t hit for as much power as the rest of the lineup, Houston second baseman Jose Altuve should bat either first or second to get on base and set the stage for the handful of sluggers at Hinch’s disposal.
After Altuve, Hinch has to configure six of the nine best home-run hitters in the AL into an order that makes sense.
In order to capitalize on Altuve potentially reaching base, Boston’s Mookie Betts or J.D. Martinez should be considered in the No. 2 hole, as they are first and third in the AL in batting average, with Altuve second on the list.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
With Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez sitting in the middle of the order, the AL should have plenty of opportunities to get on the board early.
Although they aren’t the biggest names in baseball, Wilson Ramos and Jose Abreu could be key contributors at the bottom of the lineup in order to give Altuve one or two additional chances to get on base and for the sluggers to wreak havoc.
Compared to the AL, the NL starting lineup should be fairly easy to figure out, as Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado should be placed in the middle for power, while Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp, who are in the top seven in the NL in batting average, should end up closer to the top.
Although they might not possess the overwhelming power of the AL’s starting nine, the NL could bank on timely hitting and run manufacturing through small ball to go in front in the opening half of the contest.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from MLB.com.