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All-Star picks

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MLB fans pick the real All-Star starters. Players and the managers who led their teams to the World Series last year choose the pitchers and reserves. The teams were announced Sunday, but Yahoo! Sports baseball experts Tim Brown, Jeff Passan and Steve Henson picked the players they'd like to see in the All-Star game.

American League

JEFF PASSAN'S PICKS

Jeff Passan

Not exactly packing the punch of past years, huh? Even though the AL thumped the NL in interleague play, young pitching is now its hallmark. So take this lineup for what it is: a nice group of hitters, though nowhere close to the boppers of years past. One pre-emptive footnote: If Evan Longoria doesn't make the team – and, with the backup third-base spot between him and Mike Lowell, he won't – it means there will, in all likelihood, be only one All-Star from the best team in baseball. Get your All-Snub squad ready.

TIM BROWN'S PICKS

Tim Brown

It's been a long way back from first overall pick to tattoo parlor to rehab center to Rule 5 draft to whatever all happened in between, but here stands Josh Hamilton, nine years after that draft, still only 27 years old, and poised for his first All-Star game.

When the road less traveled turns out to be the Major Deegan Expressway, you can be sure the only footprints are your own.

STEVE HENSON'S PICKS

Steve Henson

Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye of the White Sox are the only deserving starters from a first-place team, illustrating the impressive depth and teamwork of the Rays and Angels as well as the fact that one or two stars does not a winner make. How else to explain the three starters from Texas, and another Ranger on the bench? All the finger-pointing at Ichiro for his alleged role in poisoning the Mariners' clubhouse comes off a tad too convenient for me, and I'm not going to ignore that he's first or second among AL outfielders in runs, hits and stolen bases. Or that he's easily the best player on his team.

Starters
C: Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Boston
2B: Ian Kinsler, Texas
SS: Michael Young, Texas
3B: Alex Rodriguez, New York
LF: Carlos Quentin, Chicago
CF: Josh Hamilton, Texas
RF: J.D. Drew, Boston
DH: Manny Ramirez, Boston

Reserves
C: A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago
1B: Justin Morneau, Minnesota
2B: Placido Polanco, Detroit
2B: Brian Roberts, Baltimore
SS: Derek Jeter, New York
3B: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
OF: Milton Bradley, Texas
OF: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland
OF: Jermaine Dye, Chicago
DH: Jason Giambi, New York

Starters
C: Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Boston
2B: Ian Kinsler, Texas
SS: Michael Young, Texas
3B: Alex Rodriguez, New York
OF: Josh Hamilton, Texas
OF: J.D. Drew, Boston
OF: Jermaine Dye, Chicago
DH: Milton Bradley, Texas

Reserves
C: Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay
1B: Justin Morneau, Minnesota
2B: Brian Roberts, Baltimore
2B: Placido Polanco, Detroit
2B: Jose Lopez, Seattle
SS: Derek Jeter, New York
3B: Mike Lowell, Boston
OF: Carlos Quentin, Chicago
OF: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland
OF: Jose Guillen, Kansas City

Starters
C: Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B: Justin Morneau, Minnesota
2B: Ian Kinsler, Texas
SS: Michael Young, Texas
3B: Alex Rodriguez, New York
LF: Carlos Quentin, Chicago
CF: Josh Hamilton, Texas
RF: Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle
DH: Jermaine Dye, Chicago

Reserves
C: Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Boston
2B: Placido Polanco, Detroit
2B: Brian Roberts, Baltimore
SS: Orlando Cabrera, Chicago
SS: Derek Jeter, New York
3B: Mike Lowell, Boston
OF: Milton Bradley, Texas
OF: J.D. Drew, Boston
OF: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland

Pitchers
Look at the ages for the starting pitchers: 22, 24, 26, 27, 27, 29, 30 and 31. The AL is all about pitching, and to throw out such a grand mixture – the power of Rich Harden, Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir, the finesse of Joe Saunders and Justin Duchscherer, the meticulousness of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Daisuke Matsuzaka – is eminently unfair. Especially considering each of the five closers is damn near impermeable. How strong is this pitching staff? The man second in the AL in saves, George Sherrill, is sitting at home, as is Bobby Jenks and his 1.95 ERA.

Pitchers
Cliff Lee, who could pitch the second half with his right arm and still make a good run at Comeback Player of the Year, has shaved almost four runs off his ERA of last season, which included 10 minor-league starts. Sadly for the Indians, Lee is a career .074 hitter, meaning he's one of the rare bright spots in Cleveland. The guy that might catch your eye here is Dan Wheeler. Tampa Bay's bullpen was the worst in the world last season and is among the best this season. Wheeler, even more than Troy Percival, is the reason why.

Pitchers
The rapid development of a plethora of young AL arms is one of the best stories of the year. It's a primary reason why the league sustained its dominance in interleague play. And it would give the Red Sox, Rays or Angels a significant advantage in the World Series. I went heavy on starters because there are so many deserving ones, and still I left out Daisuke Matsuzaka, Felix Hernandez, Jamie Shields and John Lackey, among others. Cliff Lee, the comeback player of the year in addition to a strong Cy Young candidate, is a slam dunk as the starter.

Starter:
Rich Harden, Oakland

SP: Cliff Lee, Cleveland
SP: Joe Saunders, L.A.
SP: Justin Duchscherer, Oakland
SP: Felix Hernandez, Seattle
SP: Scott Kazmir, Tampa Bay
SP: Roy Halladay, Toronto
SP: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, L.A.
RP: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston
RP: Mariano Rivera, New York
RP: Joakim Soria, Kansas City
RP: Joe Nathan, Minnesota

Starter:
Cliff Lee, Cleveland

SP: Joe Saunders, L.A.
SP: Josh Beckett, Boston
SP: Ervin Santana, L.A.
SP: Roy Halladay, Toronto
SP: Justin Duchscherer, Oakland
SP: James Shields, Tampa Bay
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, L.A.
RP: Mariano Rivera, New York
RP: Joe Nathan, Minnesota
RP: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston
RP: Bobby Jenks, Chicago
RP: Dan Wheeler, Tampa Bay

Starter:
Cliff Lee, Cleveland

SP: Josh Beckett, Boston
SP: Joe Saunders, L.A.
SP: Scott Kazmir, Tampa Bay
SP: Justin Duchscherer, Oakland
SP: Roy Halladay, Toronto
SP: Ervin Santana, L.A.
SP: C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland
SP: Gavin Floyd, Chicago
SP: Mike Mussina, New York
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, L.A.
RP: Mariano Rivera, New York
RP: Joakim Soria, Kansas City

National League

JEFF PASSAN'S PICKS

Jeff Passan

From home plate to the second-base bag 127 feet away, the NL makes the AL look like the junior circuit. There were three great catchers, so we went three. And three phenomenal first basemen, so three there, too. And the two best second basemen in baseball. Plus the two best shortstops. Plenty of depth at third as well. The outfield gets a little leery, though I'm agreeing with the fans and giving Ken Griffey Jr. a spot because it would be nice to see the third natural member of the 600-home run club in the Home Run Derby. Anyway, it's nice to see some new blood – Ryan Ludwick, Nate McLouth, and, yes, Pat Burrell would be first-time All-Stars.

TIM BROWN'S PICKS

Tim Brown

Yeah, yeah, it counts. Somebody send the memo to the National League, which hasn't won one of these since 1996. And, well, this year it's looking good for the NLers. Not only do they have two guys in the starting lineup who generated some .400 speculation, but did you know that Pat Burrell has hit 19 home runs in 272 career at-bats in New York City? OK, so 18 are at Shea. But it could be a New York thing. I'm just sayin'.

STEVE HENSON'S PICKS

Steve Henson

Illustration No. 1,001 on the beauty of baseball: Not a single person on the planet would have proposed before the season that the starting NL All-Star outfield would come down to a tough call between Nate McLouth, Pat Burrell, Corey Hart and Ryan Ludwick. The infield, by contrast, is more potent and deep than that of the AL. Ken Griffey Jr. gets a lifetime achievement nod. Russell Martin, in only his third season, has earned squatter's rights over Brian McCann and Geovany Soto until one of them clearly surpasses him. I can't wait to watch switch-hitters Lance Berkman and Chipper Jones bat back-to-back.

Starters
C: Brian McCann, Atlanta
1B: Lance Berkman, Houston
2B: Chase Utley, Philadelphia
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3B: Chipper Jones, Atlanta
LF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
CF: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh
RF: Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis
DH: Albert Pujols, St. Louis

Reserves
C: Geovany Soto, Chicago
C: Russell Martin, L.A.
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
2B: Dan Uggla, Florida
SS: Jose Reyes, New York
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Chicago
OF: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati
OF: Matt Holliday, Colorado
OF: Jason Bay, Pittsburgh

Starters
C: Brian McCann, Atlanta
1B: Lance Berkman, Houston
2B: Chase Utley, Philadelphia
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3B: Chipper Jones, Atlanta
LF: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia
CF: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh
OF: Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis
DH: Carlos Lee, Houston

Reserves
C: Geovany Soto, Chicago
C: Russell Martin, L.A.
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
1B: Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2B: Dan Uggla, Florida
SS: Jose Reyes, New York
3B: David Wright, New York
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Chicago
OF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
OF: Jason Bay, Pittsburgh

Starters
C: Russell Martin, L.A.
1B: Lance Berkman, Houston
2B: Chase Utley, Philadelphia
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Florida
3B: Chipper Jones, Atlanta
LF: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia
CF: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh
RF: Corey Hart, Brewers
DH: Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego

Reserves
C: Brian McCann, Atlanta
1B: Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2B: Dan Uggla, Florida
SS: Jose Reyes, New York
3B: Aramis Ramirez, Chicago
3B: David Wright, New York
OF: Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati
OF: Matt Holliday, Colorado
OF: Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis
OF: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee

Pitchers
Figuring out the NL pitching staff, on the other hand, was somewhat an endeavor. There are the locks – Edinson Volquez and Tim Lincecum, one of whom should start, unless manager Clint Hurdle sticks with the familiar divisionally (Brandon Webb) or personally (Aaron Cook) – and then there are questions. Like, why Johan Santana, even though the Mets are fast on their way to nowhere? Or: How bad are NL closers that the two with the most saves in the league, Brian Wilson and Jose Valverde, still aren't good enough to be All-Stars?

Pitchers
How odd that a single off-season trade of two guys with vague histories and unclear futures – Hamilton and Edinson Volquez – has the potential to produce an MVP in one league and a Cy Young in the other. Volquez, the Dominican right-hander who will be 25 Thursday, was sent clear back to Class A last season, primarily to restart a learning process that previously skipped over breaking-ball command. His results for the Bakersfield Blaze? He was 0-4 and had a 7.13 ERA.

Pitchers
Somehow, the NL starting pitchers seem more vulnerable than their AL counterparts. Ryan Dempster, Aaron Cook, Kyle Lohse and Ben Sheets are prime candidates for a second-half free fall. But let's celebrate their accomplishments for now. Dempster is a converted reliever who is impregnable at Wrigley Field. The soft-tossing, injury-prone Cook was little more than an onlooker in Rocktober; now he's the only Rockies pitcher who matters. Lohse couldn't find a job until spring training started, and Sheets finally is living up to his potential, one tenuous start at time.

Starter:
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

SP: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
SP: Aaron Cook, Colorado
SP: Brandon Webb, Arizona
SP: Johan Santana, New York
SP: Ben Sheets, Milwaukee
SP: Dan Haren, Arizona
SP: Ryan Dempster, Chicago
SP: Carlos Zambrano, Chicago
RP: Brad Lidge, Philadelphia
RP: Kerry Wood, Chicago
RP: Jon Rauch, Washington
RP: Billy Wagner, New York

Starter:
Brandon Webb, Arizona

SP: Aaron Cook, Colorado
SP: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
SP: Ryan Dempster, Chicago
SP: Ben Sheets, Milwaukee
SP: Kyle Lohse, St. Louis
SP: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
SP: Carlos Zambrano, Chicago
SP: Dan Haren, Arizona
RP: Kerry Wood, Chicago
RP: Brad Lidge, Philadelphia
RP: Ryan Franklin, St. Louis
RP: Jon Rauch, Washington

Starter:
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

SP: Ryan Dempster, Chicago
SP: Aaron Cook, Rockies
SP: Johan Santana, New York
SP: Dan Haren, Arizona
SP: Cole Hamels, Philadelphia
SP: Kyle Lohse, St. Louis
SP: Brandon Webb, Arizona
SP: Ben Sheets, Milwaukee
SP: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati
RP: Kerry Wood, Chicago
RP: Jon Rauch, Washington
RP: Brad Lidge, Philadelphia

Jeff Passan is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Jeff a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Tim Brown is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Tim a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Steve Henson is the MLB editor for Yahoo! Sports. Send Steve a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.