In light of the unprecedented amount of injuries during the 2017 MLB season, Major League Baseball has decided to close voting for the 2017 All-Star Game several weeks earlier than expected, announcing the American and National League starting lineups in a televised conference.
“This is definitely, definitely, definitely, not because all our sponsors are pulling out,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to members of the press, removing any shred of doubt by saying “definitely” two more times after that.
Manfred went on to assure fans that those who already voted played a pivotal role in shaping the rosters. “We took the votes into account, of course, but I had to consult with the teams about who was even available to play. It’s hard to make everyone happy with someone landing on the 10-Day DL every five minutes.” He then looked at his phone and exclaimed, “Keuchel again?! I’m so losing my matchup this week.”
We here at Fact Fiction Fantasy see a few surprises on the list. Let us know if you feel the same!
American League – Greg Bird, New York Yankees
Spin: The Yankees are still pretty high on Bird’s spring training performance, and they’re clearly not sold on Chris Carter just yet. Bird batted .100 in his first 60 at-bats this season, so we’re hoping he sees at least 10 plate appearances come July at Marlins Park.
National League – John Jaso, Pittsburgh Pirates
Spin: The hair looks great in HD, that’s a given. Plus, compared to regular first baseman Josh Bell’s 2017 season, Jaso has struck out less, made one error instead of two, and grounded into less double plays. Sports science.
American League – Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers
Spin: It hasn’t been Odor’s best year at the plate, but you just know a good fight breaking out on national television would have those sponsors crawling right back.
National League – Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds
Spin: Who else but Scoot? His historic four-homer performance on June 6th sent the league into a frenzy and increased his batting average by 32 points. When was the last time he played second base? Recently, probably.
American League – Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
Spin: Finally, some normalcy.
National League – Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves
Spin: The “Probable Future All-Star Who’s a Current Player” slot will be given to Swanson for being the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.
American League – Alex Rodriguez, Self-Represented
Spin: No one’s raining on his parade this time. A-Rod is fired up and buckling down, taking swings in those Florida batting cages now that the Yankees are traveling and hired only one elderly security guard to monitor the premises. There are rumbles that not only will A-Rod’s performance count toward his career numbers (only four more until 700), but he’ll also be giving the post-game commentary from his newly coined “I-played-with-these-guys” perspective.
National League – Wilmer Flores, New York Mets
Spin: We won’t complain about Flores getting some well-deserved playing time. It’s bittersweet, however, that this development comes from Flores promising Mets skipper Terry Collins that he won’t bother him about starting any more regular-season games. A player sheds some tears once and now everyone feels awkward talking to him. Enough already. Let’s stop talking about the poor guy who bawled his eyes out, OK? No more. There were some insane waterworks when he thought he’d get traded, he stayed on the team, and that was it. It’s over.
Wilmer Flores cried.
American League – My Friend Henry, No Team Affiliation
Spin: I wrote him in as a joke. A joke! Man, did I get Henry into some trouble this time. He doesn’t even like baseball. And the league’s most demanding position to boot. Henry, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, and good luck.
National League – Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
Spin: That’s using our brains, MLB. Schwarber was pretty high in the Outfield voting before it wrapped up. Why not kill two birds with one stone by getting him in the game at his former position and lowering the risk of all the remaining catchers injuring themselves?
American League – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Spin: Mike Trout is definitely hurt right now. This isn’t a good idea. What’s that? He’s swinging with only his non-injured hand?
Our pick for MVP in this year’s game.
National League – Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers
Spin: Clearly an attempt to draw in Korean viewers. We’ve never even heard of this guy before today.
American League – (LF) Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
(CF) Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
(RF) Scott “Scotty” Masler, Oakland Athletics
Spin: Two Orioles is just plain unfair, though Manfred elaborated Jones will be technically representing the entire United States of America in his All-Star appearance. Ball
Boy Man “Scotty” is an easy pick considering his dedication to protecting the Oakland Athletics bullpen and a flashy highlight reel of dives, though he’d be of more use in left field closer to where he’s usually stationed. As for Chris Davis, the Baltimore first baseman and DH must have been a write-in vote from people looking for Khris Davis, the A’s left fielder. A laughable case of human error.
National League – (LF) Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox
(CF) Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
(RF) Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Spin: Wow, Melky? Really? Don’t think we can’t see you stealing players from the American League, National League. Disgraceful. Starling Marte makes the cut due to a loophole in his suspension that will allow him to take part in activities such as the big night, the Home Run Derby, and the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. Puig’s presence comes off as a meaningful symbolic tribute to the Dodgers, who should only have two or three healthy players on their roster by the time July rolls around.
American League –
Ervin Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
Spin: Upon hearing the news he was getting the start for the AL, Ervin Santana officially went back to his birth name of Johan, possibly to honor the original Johan Santana or possibly to enrage Johan Santana. Johan Santana (the original one) is still a free agent, so this will cause some confusion for Johan Santana down the line. Johan Santana (the new one) has a stellar ERA and WHIP, so Johan Santana deserves the spot as much as anyone. It’s just hard to get over Johan Santana changing his name to Johan Santana.
National League – Hunter Greene, Notre Dame High School
Spin: To make your MLB debut in an All-Star Game is big news, especially when you’re not even drafted at the time of the announcement. Greene has a fastball in the upper-to-mid 90’s (!), has hit 102 miles per hour on the radar gun (!!!), and received an invite to Stephanie’s party Saturday night (!!!!!). Big things are ahead for this young man.
Tune in on July 11th to see who else shows up, and more importantly who has a bad slide into third and is taken out for the rest of the season.
But forget all that, check out Scotty:
All MLB Player headshots taken from Baseball-Reference.com
Featured image / All-Star Logo: news.sportslogos.net
“Henry” photo: shutterstock.com
Scott Masler photo: Twitter, Scott Masler (@ScottyBwah)
Hunter Greene photo: blog-media.startribune.com