All-Star Game insider
Tuesday, July 15 • 7 p.m.
Joe Mauer’s path to the All-Star Game got tougher the moment the Twins announced that he was moving from catcher to first base. As a catcher, he stood out as a high-average, on-base machine. As a first baseman, he might be lost among the sluggers. Mauer can make the Midsummer Classic with his style of hitting, but he’ll have to beat out a number of competitors. Here’s one list of first basemen who could be in the American League lineup at Target Field:
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: There have been a few alarms about his lack of home runs so far — he is coming back from offseason abdominal surgery — but he’s a great hitter even when he’s not hitting home runs. And he has the star appeal to win the popular vote.
Mike Napoli, Red Sox: He’s off to a solid start for the defending World Series champs but historically isn’t a high-average hitter. Like Mauer, he’s been an All-Star as a catcher but has moved to first base.
Chris Davis, Orioles: Davis is trying for a return trip to the All-Star Game after blasting 53 home runs last season. He’s definitely a hitter you delay that trip to the concessions for.
Albert Pujols, Angels: Pujols has been a disappointment since signing with the Angels, but he’s hit six home runs already this season and is two away from 500 for his career.
Chris Colabello, Twins: Anything is possible, right? If Colabello can keep driving the ball — as the scouts pick apart his swing to come up with ways to stop him — he would be the feel-good story of the year.
There’s also intense competition at the position in the National League:
Matt Adams, Cardinals: He’s been given a chance to play every day and he’s taking advantage of it. He’s one of St. Louis’ best offensive players in the early season.
Freddie Freeman, Braves: An eight-year, $135 million contract extension has not put pressure on Freeman, who has come smoking out of the gates. Might be the best of a large field of contenders.
Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: Another young, locked up slugger. Goldschmidt was an All-Star last season and finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting. Should do well in the popular vote.
Joey Votto, Reds: An on-base monster who drives the ball, Votto is off to a good start and should cruise into his fifth consecutive All-Star Game. He has one of the best hitting approaches in the game.
Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: Gonzalez hasn’t been an All-Star since 2011 but has come out slugging and could bash his way onto the NL team. Dodgers fans are likely to stuff the ballot boxes for him.