COMMENTARY| Players and coaches vote pitchers into the All-Star Game, so Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander is safe.
The 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher has been voted to the mid-summer classic four times, and due to his 4-1 record and 2.47 earned-run average, which is fifth-best in the American League, he could be selected for his fifth.
But what about the rest of the Tigers? Who, during this up-and-down season for the defending AL Central champions, has stood out?
Catcher Alex Avila is on the ballot. So is firstbaseman Prince Fielder, thirdbaseman Miguel Cabrera, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and outfielders Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson. Ryan Raburn is on there, too. But I'll save that for another day.
Jackson, the Tigers' lead-off hitter and centerfielder, is eighth among outfielders with a .323 batting average, fourth in on-base percentage at .409 and is tied for fifth with 27 runs scored (stats accurate at time article was published).
There's a solid case for fans to vote Jackson in. The Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton will likely be the unanimous No. 1 choice. Hamilton will get a vote from me -- and as many as MLB.com will allow me to cast.
Miguel Cabrera deserves consideration, too. He's hitting .308, third among MLB thirdbasemen, and leads third-baggers with 31 RBI.
Peralta's numbers are well behind those of Derek Jeter, who is having arguably one of his finest seasons for the New York Yankees. Elvis Andrus, the Rangers' star shortstop, is also having an incredible first half of the season. Since fans can pick just one infielder at each position, it's highly unlikely that Peralta, although steady this year, will be among the top choices.
Remember, fan voting doesn't always nominate the best player -- and Peralta isn't among the top shortstops -- at each position. It's a popularity contest. Jeter will win the vote by a landslide, great stats or not. He has a huge following. He'll probably lead the AL in fan votes.
Fielder, who recently broke an atrocious 0-for-21 streak, is among league leaders, at first base, in batting average, hitting at a clip of .292. But he's up against the likes of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who leads all firstbasemen with a .353 average, and he's tied for fifth with 27 RBI. Keep in mind that Boston fans are among the most supportive in all of baseball. Big Papi will get his share of votes.
Chicago White Sox firstbaseman Paul Konerko is among league leaders in hits with 45 and touts a .287 batting average. He'll surely benefit from a hearty showing by the Southside faithful. He should, at least.
Other than Verlander, the only sound, legitimate choices for All-star consideration are Jackson and Cabrera -- based on numbers, and not popularity. But Cabrera and Fielder might get based on their names and history.
Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
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