ESPN's 2017 AL and NL All-Stars picks

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Friday, June 30, 2017

The All-Star managers have been relieved of the burden of filling out the National League and American League rosters, thankfully, because every year the explanations can be no better than imperfect. There are only 32 spots on each All-Star team, with the guidelines requiring selection for at least one player from every team in each league. That rule and others box in the choices, and inevitably players worthy of selection are left off and feelings are hurt.

Because Joe Maddon no longer has the responsibility of rounding out the NL All-Star roster, he isn't required to answer questions about why some of the great first basemen in the league must be left out. Not everybody can go, meaning that either Anthony Rizzo, or Joey Votto, or Ryan Zimmerman, or Eric Thames, or Mark Reynolds, or Paul Goldschmidt, and others will be left behind.

Those sorts of complicated choices pop up no matter how you pick a team, and because of that, there are no perfect picks, and there is no perfect process. In trying to simulate the process and pick the best 32-man teams for each league, I wound up choosing Alex Wood over Zack Greinke, and Jay Bruce over Matt Kemp. If you disagree, I couldn't possibly say you are wrong. The voters will pick Daniel Murphy as the starting second baseman, a great pick. I chose Josh Harrison of the Pirates for his better all-around play. After watching Francisco Lindor lift the Indians to Game 7 of the World Series last year, I hate leaving him off, but Andrelton Simmons has had an excellent first half; it was one or the other, and either way seems wrong.

So extend a little pity to Joe Torre, the MLB executive who is now charged to answer for all roster decisions, when there are really no right answers. -- Buster Olney

American League Picks

(click here for NL picks)

National League Picks