With the unofficial second half of the Major League Baseball season starting up, it’s time to take a step back and honor the best players from the first half of the season. From breakout performances to continuing on success from previous seasons, this year’s “All-First Half Team” is really something different. Enough talk, let’s dive into it right away.
Catcher: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
A frequent member of these teams, Perez went all in during the first half of the year. Leading all catchers in batting average, home runs, runs batted in and hits, Perez has been a pitchers nightmare at the plate. Add a starting role on the American League All-Star Team, and it’s easy to say, life is good for Salvy.
First Baseman: Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Toronto Blue Jays
Probably one of the most exciting players to watch this year, Guerrero Jr. is showing that greatness may be passed down. He currently leads all baseball in batting average and RBI and is second in home runs. Needless to say, he’s head and shoulders above the rest of his competition at his position.
Second Baseman: Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays
In our first contested position, there were many candidates for this spot. Pittsburgh Pirates Adam Frazier led the positions in hits and batting average, Toronto’s Marcus Semien had the most home runs and scored the most runs and Atlanta Braves Ozzie Albies was the positions RBI leader. What gives Semien the nod, is the fact he has double the wins above replacement ranking of the other two.
Third Baseman: Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
Devers simply was a machine in the first half of the season. Leading in home runs, RBI and tying for the lead in hits, he’s been one of baseball’s best. Los Angeles Dodgers Justin Turner nearly made this a competition by leading in batting average and being the person that tied Devers for hits but that tie actually Turner since it prevented him from being the undisputed third baseman hit leader.
Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr, San Diego Padres
A second generation star once again tore it up. Tatis Jr. led all shortstops in home runs and RBI, as well as finishing the first half of the season second in runs scored and seventh in batting average. A case can also be made for Boston Red Sox Xander Bogaerts but at the end of the day, this was Tatis Jr.‘s half of the year and we’re just allowed to enjoy it.
Left Fielder: Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros Michael Brantley has the highest average of all left fielders, and Washington’s Kyle Schwarber has the most home runs and RBI at the position, so why Winker? Simply put, because he‘s second in those three categories and has the most hits and scored the most runs. If this season becomes his breakout year, it would do wonders for Cincinnati, finally giving them a young star to build around in the future.
Center Fielder: Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers
In a battle between two last place teams in the American League, Texas’ Garcia out-dueled Baltimore Orioles Cedric Mullins for center field. Mullins had more hits and a higher average, while Garcia had more RBI and home runs. The deciding factor in this battle we’re the differences. Mullins is tied for second in home runs at the position and was seventh in RBI, while Garcia was third in average and fourth in hits, giving him the slight advantage.
Right Fielder: Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds
The second Reds player to make the team, Castellanos has been electric. Leading all right fielders in batting average and hits, while being second in RBI and runs scored, gives him the advantage over everyone. Who would have thought Castellanos would have a better year than Los Angeles Mookie Betts, Washington Nationals Juan Soto and Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña Jr (before his injury)?
Designated Hitter: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Who else was it going to be? Baseball’s home run leader has been putting on a performance like we’ve never seen before. Besides leading all of baseball in home runs (33), he’s leading all designated hitters in RBI and runs scored, as well as having the second most hits at the position.
Starting Pitcher: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
Can New York please get deGrom some help please? Despite having an earned run average of 1.08 (lowest in baseball) and having the second most strike outs, he only has seven wins, which ties him for 22nd in all of baseball. They may be a first place team but they need to give deGrom a little more help if they want to maintain their lead in the National League East.
Closer: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
Though he has less saves than Pirates Mark Melancon, there’s no denying how good of a closer Josh Hader has been. 63 strike outs and a 1.49 ERA has made him a tough opponent coming out of the bullpen. Not to mention, Milwaukee is in a battle for the National League Central and you have perhaps crucial pieces in the retention of first place in the division.