By Chad Jennings
With Miguel Cabrera on the disabled list, have Mark Teixeira’s chances of making the All-Star team significantly improved?
The American League’s first base replacement in the starting lineup will be whoever wins the players’ vote. I’m not sure which direction the players will go, but Albert Pujols wouldn’t surprise me. Here are a few to consider, ranked in order of slugging percentage:
Albert Pujols: .265/.337/.557, 25 HR, 53 RBI
Mark Teixeira: .243/.356/.532, 20 HR, 59 RBI
Prince Fielder: .347/.413/.530, 13 HR, 50 RBI
Jose Abreu: .293/.342/.502, 14 HR, 44 RBI
Chris Davis: .237/.325/.474, 18 HR, 51 RBI
Edwin Encarnacion: .233/.325/.459, 17 HR, 50 RBI
Eric Hosmer: .287/.354/.437, 8 HR, 41 RBI
Encarnacion has basically split his season between first base and designated hitter. Pujols, Abreu and Davis have quite a few DH at-bats — and Davis has some turns in right field — but they’ve played first base the vast majority of the time.
Fielder is the one true designated hitter of this bunch, but he was listed as a first baseman on the ballot, and he could make the team simply to give the Rangers a representative (starter Yovani Gallardo and perhaps closer Shawn Tolleson are other possibilities from Texas).
The FanGraphs WAR stat has these guys ranked (in order): Pujols, Fielder, Teixeira, Hosmer, Davis, Abreu, Encarnacion.
Teixeira’s really having an excellent season, but how many first basemen are actually going to make this team? If Pujols wins the player vote and Fielder is chosen as the Rangers representative, will there be room for Teixeira? Could the league leader in RBI really miss the cut?