If you haven't noticed, it's All-Star week around here at OS. So to go along with that theme, and also because I'm a few articles short (hello, dear editors) as the soccer games haven't picked up steam yet, here's your cursory All-Star article.
Now, it'd be easy to do an All-Star team of the best players in The Show, but that wouldn't be much fun, would it? All you have to do is rank players by attributes and voila, the best guys rise to the top. It's so easy that anybody—like, say, a soccer writer-- can do it. Instead, how about those players that aren't at the superstar level, but oftentimes play above what their attributes indicate? Now that's a better basis for an article. And it's more fun because ten different people may pick ten different players to be on this team -- everybody's got their own surprising overachievers.
So here we are, a team of unsung all stars who can quietly go about their business and still contribute immensely in The Show. Two things first: One, I use Knight165's OSFM rosters; and two, to reiterate, in this team are guys who are just a notch below the all-star level, but for whatever reason I find suit my playing style and outperform expectations -- so no Verlanders, Hamiltons or Vottos here.
C: Kurt Suzuki (Oakland Athletics)
Consistent, and consistently good. Bats well against both lefties and righties, and very good behind the plate. Plus, he can do everything else decently as well -- a little speed, a little defense, and together you have yourself a very solid catcher. No, he's not a Mauer or a Posey or a Ruiz, but you can probably get him for a little cheaper in your franchise. Great bang for the buck.
1B: Adam Lind (Toronto Blue Jays)
There's something about left-handed power hitters. I've had plenty of success with sluggers like Adam Dunn, but by far the biggest pleasant surprise -- Jays fans wish they can say that this season -- is Adam Lind. Though just decent against lefties (try to bat him a little lower in the lineup), it's against the righties that he absolutely kills anything that comes his way.
2B: Daniel Murphy (New York Mets)
Murphy is one of those players who, if I ever make a deal with the Mets in my franchise games, I always try to include. For two reasons: the first and biggest is because he hits well; the second reason is that he can play multiple positions, which is valuable both when you're shuffling your lineup, or when you're dangling him in future deals -- AI GMs love his versatility.
3B: Scott Rolen (Cincinnati Reds)
For teams that can contend right out of the gate, Rolen is a great acquisition. Yes, the man's 37, but in The Show he's still a valuable third baseman -- before he retires, anyway. Rolen plays stellar defense and hits the ball well. No, he won't go yard very often, but everywhere else he's more than solid.
SS: Yunel Escobar (Toronto Blue Jays)
Pretty much in the same mold as Rolen, Escobar contributes by getting on base and playing great defense. Whatever Daniel Murphy may give up at second defensively, Escobar can potentially make up for it. Anecdotally speaking, I also find him to be great at fouling borderline pitches and grinding out at bats.
RF: Jeff Francoeur (Kansas City Royals)
Francoeur is one of those players who will unremarkably contribute to your The Show franchise and you won't notice how much he does until he's gone. Good hitter with the occasional long ball, but that's not why you want him, of course -- it's that arm of his. My God, the amount of assists I've gotten with Francoeur has won me more than my fair share of close games.
CF: Brett Gardner (New York Yankees)
Instead of those who are in the “jack of all trades” mold, personally I like players who can do certain things exceptionally well. Brett Gardner is a pretty good example. Sure, he's got an an average arm and below average power, but he can get on base and then run like the wind. For a leadoff guy, look no further. He doesn't come cheap, however, so prepare to fork out substantially for his services in your franchises.
LF: Desmond Jennings (Tampa Bay Rays)
I don't know what it is about Jennings. His current batting attributes might scream average (he has an A potential, so don't worry for too long), but even during his first season, I've gotten solid slugging numbers from him. Add that to his blazing speed, and he's an easy choice to make this team.
Utility: Martin Prado (Atlanta Braves)
Very similar to Daniel Murphy, Prado can hit .300 in any given season, and he can play literally anywhere except on the mound, which means he's a shoo-in for the utility spot. But if Prado really is a utility player in your franchise, then man, you have a good team.
Pitcher: Brett Anderson (Oakland Athletics)
Again, your mileage may vary, but every time I've acquired Anderson he has outpitched whoever my ace was at the time. Good control and good velocity, Anderson's fastballs set the table, while his slider induces many a wild hacks from lefties, and his curve freezes up even the best of hitters.
Reliever: Jesse Crain (Chicago White Sox)
This is more of a case of Crain making my life miserable than it is him pitching well for me. I've never had the fortune of having him on my teams, but whenever he's come out of the pen against me, it usually means an inning or two of batting misery. Like Anderson, another pitcher with a nasty fastball/slider combo, and his two seamer induces more ground balls than I'd like to ever admit.
Sound off, OSers, who would make your ultimate Unsung All Star Team in The Show?