Quick rules on how I comprise the teams:
- Two teams, one National League League team, and one American League team
- There are 36 spots on each team (three first basemen, three second basemen, three third basemen, three shortstops, nine outfielders, three catchers, six starting pitchers, four relief pitchers/closers, one relief pitcher/set-up, and one DH-the NL spot is taken by the player with the highest average who did not make the team at any position)
- Every team gets a representative. No exceptions. If a player gets snubbed by a guy who is only there because a team needed a rep, then that's sadly the way it goes.
Why start with the bullpens?
Because it's relatively simple. The top four guys with the most saves are usually guaranteed automatic spots on the teams. Emphasis on the word 'usually' though.
Last year, I started with the National League staff. This time, I'll begin with the American League. The closers on this year's AL team are:
- Rafael Soriano, Rays (3-2, 1.73, 45 saves)
- Joakim Soria, Royals (1-2, 1.78, 43 saves)
- Neftali Feliz, Rangers (4-3, 2.73, 40 saves)
- Mariano Rivera, Yankees (3-3, 1.80, 33 saves)
The National League closers for the 2010 team are:
- Brian Wilson, Giants (3-3, 1.81, 48 saves)
- Heath Bell, Padres (6-1, 1.93, 47 saves)
- Carlos Marmol, Cubs (2-3, 2.55, 38 saves)
- Billy Wagner, Braves (7-2, 1.43, 37 saves)
The AL Middle Reliever for the 2010 team will be Daniel Bard of the Red Sox. He is the 2010 AL leader in holds with 32, had a 1-2 record, sports a dazzling 1.93 ERA, and struck out 76 batters. Others considered for this role were Joaquin Benoit of the Rays, Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees, and Matt Thornton, the actual All-Star middle reliever from the White Sox.
Choosing the NL Middle Reliever for the 2010 team was a lot tougher as the competition was fierce. But in the end, I am choosing Mike Adams of the Padres. He finished the year with 37 holds, which was good for second in the NL, but also went 4-1 with an ERA of 1.76 while striking out 73 (his WHIP was a low 1.065). The competition for the one middle relief spot came from Padres teammate Luke Gregerson (league leading 40 holds), Tyler Clippard of the Nationals, and actual All-Stars Arthur Rhodes of the Reds and Hong-Chin Kuo of the Dodgers.
So right now, we've named the bullpens for each team. Who will fill out the rest of the rosters?
On Tuesday, I will name the six starting pitchers that will round out the pitching staffs on each team.
By Wednesday, every team will get a representative as I announce just some of the players who will take spots on both leagues' rosters.
And finally on Thursday, I will round out the rest of the rosters and introduce the complete National and American League teams.
Wait and see. It's going to look good I promise.