Kings of Cork 2011 All-Stars

Something to entertain you while you allegedly choke down 69 hot dogs on the Nation’s Birthday.

It’s the 2nd week of July which can only mean one thing… there’s no football, there’s no basketball, there’s no hockey, and there’s no more tennis. The last sport standing is baseball. The bad news.. the season is half over and coming soon to a city near you is a fantasy football agreement.

But, in a few days, you will be able to admire the 2011 season MLB greats. Voted on by us fans, we get to watch the league’s best duke it out for Bud Selig’s Love home field advantage in the World Series. Seriously, what ever happened to letting games end in a tie. As kids we are taught to have good sportsmanship, but all Bud taught me was that every game has to mean something ever since “the incident” from the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee.

With the All-Star game fast approaching, we also get to admire this season’s big boppers with a mild twist from season’s past. This year for the Home Run Derby, the MLB selected team captains to pick 3 other players each to compete in the competition (mainly because the league couldn’t convince any player to participate).

I’ll cover the Home Run Derby topic later this weekend, what this article is about is this season’s Home Run Derby All-Stars. If you only wanted to select the top hitters in the league, what would the lineup look like of the ultimate slugfest team. Forget defense, forget pitching, this is strictly about hitting the ball as far as you can every time you grab a hold of the bat.

Before I announce this season’s All-Star All-Power team, I have a little pop quiz for you. Below is a photograph of 10 positions (the batter counts as the DH). Each position has a player in the 120+ baseball history that has hit more single season home runs than any other player at that position (Centerfield had a tie but it was broke by the player who had fewer plate appearances in the season that they hit the record). To be eligible for the position, the player had to play at least 50% of his career games at that position. How many can you name? You can find the answers by simply clicking on each player’s position from the classic NES RBI Baseball game screenshot. Edit: Removed jpeg due to issues.

Back to this season. Below is your starting lineup for the MLB team that has the most power in 2011 (as of July 8th):

  • Zach Duke – Pitcher – The former Duke of Second Place!!! Pittsburgh, now of Arizona, can hardly brag. He has limited power but as a pitcher he does have this season’s current home run lead with 2. Yep, that’s correct, the league leader in home runs for a pitcher is two. What do you expect, he’s paid to pitch, not to hit. His home run total for his 6 year MLB career… also, two.
  • Brian McCann – Catcher – The backstop for the Duke is the Braves’ starting All-Star catcher. He has hit 14 homers so far which is tops for the catcher’s spot. He’s hit 8 of those round trippers in June so he may just be starting to heat up.
  • Mark Teixeira – 1B – Big Tex isn’t even going to play on July 12th. His name was left of the All-star team but his 25 home runs so far this season leads the power heavy position at firstbase. It’s no surprise that the Yankee’s have at least one name on this list, but it’s definitely not the only one.
  • Danny Espinosa – 2B – Also snubbed a spot on July 12th’s lineup, Espinosa has hit 16 dingers so far this season. Odds are if you own him in any fantasy leagues, you did not have this guy on your team after the draft. He is tied with the starter for the National League (Rickie Weeks) but Espinosa has a significantly lower amount of plate appearances this season.
  • Mark Reynolds – 3B – No surprise here. Mark Reynolds is a beast of a player and he’s paid per home run, not per strikeout (he holds the single season record of most strikeouts in a season). He also didn’t find a spot on the All-star roster but his 0.230 batting average may have something to do with it. Still, he has hit 20 home runs this season which is the most at the hot corner.
  • Troy Tulowitzki – SS – At least Tulo is a reserve this year. He’s also about to get rolling since he seems to be a second half performer. Who can forget last season’s ridiculous 15 home runs in September. He currently has 17 home runs this season and hasn’t hit more than 4 in a month besides April. It’s only a matter of time before the ball starts finding the bleachers for Tulo.
  • Jose Bautista – OF – Where did this guy come from? He hit a league leading 54 home runs last season and is currently leading the league again with 29 long balls. Fans are taking notice of this guy since he just received a record 7.4 million votes for the most votes all-time by a player. He previously had 59 career home runs and in his past two seasons he has eclipsed that mark. And has only failed to lead the league in home runs for 48 days of the past 230 regular season days (dating back to May 23, 2010).
  • Curtis Granderson – OF – I told you there would be another Yankee. Granderson is on pace to destroy his career best home runs in a single season (which is 30 in his last season as a Tiger). He currently has 25 home runs and recently has been a popular replacement for Justin Morneau in the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. He also found a roster spot on the 2011 All-Star game (no surprise either as the Yankees win most popularity contests).
  • Lance Berkman – OF – Welcome back to relevance Big Puma. You may have been snubbed by the Yankees, but you have been reborn in the arches of St Louis. He will get to strut his stuff in the All-Star game on Tuesday and rightfully should. He has 23 home runs so far this season after posting only 14 last year. He’s threatening his career record of 45 which he hit in 2006. As long as it isn’t against the BrewCrew, I’m rooting for Fat Elvis.
  • David Ortiz – DH – The captain of the 2011 AL Home Run Derby team seems to have picked a brilliant team. All four of his team members hit home runs on July 7th, including him. He now leads the DH roll with 18 moonshots. Big Pappi is the man and I’m glad to see him swinging the big stick again after almost being left to die with 1 home run in April and May of 2009. I hope he hits well enough on Monday for a chance to win back to back Home Run Derby Championships.

Remember to tune into the slug fest this Monday, July 11th. I like all the contestants this year but I will secretly be rooting for the BrewCrew members.

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