Baseball in 2010 is a young man's game. Jermaine Dye, age 36, stayed home, Ken Griffey Jr., 41, went home, and Chipper Jones, 38, is thinking about home, all emblematic of a changing of the guard as the sport places greater value on youth. Of the top 70 OPS marks at week's end, only three belonged to players 35 or older. Of the 10 pitchers to win 10 games, only one has turned 30.
SI's All-Star team reflects this youth movement. Eighteen of our 20 All-Stars are between the ages of 23 and 31, which traditionally had been the sweet spot of a player's career, at least before performance-enhancing drugs changed baseball's actuarial tables. The toughest calls to make involved first base in each league. In the AL, the Twins' Justin Morneau and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera are contending for an MVP award and a Central Division title, just as the Reds' Joey Votto and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols are doing in the NL.
C: Joe Mauer, 27,Twins
The power of Mauer is missing at home (.392 slugging, no homers), but he's still the best backstop.
1B: Miguel Cabrera, 27,Tigers
The AL's most complete hitter is even better post--alcohol rehab.
2B: Robinson Cano, 27,Yankees
With power (16 homers) and production (55 RBIs), the always-smooth hitter goes next level.
SS: Derek Jeter, 36,Yankees
The valedictorian of an unimpressive AL shortstop class.
3B: Adrian Beltre, 31,Red Sox
Only three third basemen have finished with a higher average than Beltre's .341.
LF: Josh Hamilton, 29,Rangers
Streaky hitter had a monster June (.454 average).
CF: Alex Rios, 29,White Sox
The Comeback Player of the Year favorite.
RF: Brennan Boesch, 25,Tigers
Detroit's outfielder is batting .478 on first and second pitches.
DH: Vladimir Guerrero, 35,Rangers
The majors' RBI leader (70) was a free-agent bargain.
P: David Price, 24,Rays
Former thrower has become a four-pitch pitcher.
C: Miguel Olivo, 31,Rockies
Fourteen free-agent catchers changed teams in the off-season; Colorado got the right one.
1B: Albert Pujols, 30,Cardinals
Flip a coin between Pujols and Votto.
2B: Martin Prado, 26,Braves
The NL leader in hits (115) and batting average (.336).
SS: Hanley Ramirez, 26,Marlins
Lapse in hustle has marred another big season.
3B: David Wright, 27,Mets
The NL RBI leader (64) gets the edge over Scott Rolen.
LF: Josh Willingham, 31,Nationals
He tops all NL outfielders in OBP (.413).
CF: Colby Rasmus, 23,Cardinals
Wins a close call over the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.
RF: Andre Ethier, 28,Dodgers
No NL outfielder has a better OPS (.940).
DH: Joey Votto, 26,Reds
First Red since Pete Rose to reach base in 40 straight games.
P: Ubaldo Jimenez, 26,Rockies
Breakout ace gave up one run in his only loss in 17 starts (14--1).
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RICK OSENTOSKI/CAL SPORT MEDIA (CABRERA)
WHO'S ON FIRST? Detroit's Cabrera (left) gets the slight nod over Morneau, with whom he's battling for the AL MVP award.