American Association Mid-Season All-Star Team
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier provides his list of who he would have on the mid-season all-star team halfway through the 2021 American Association season.
American Association Mid-Season All-Star Team
With my partner at This Week in the Association, Kevin Luckow, naming his mid-season all-star team in the American Association, it is time for me to get in on the action. While there are many spots I agree with Kevin, he comes up short in a few spots.
Catcher: Ryan Lidge, Chicago Dogs
We both agree that Ryan Lidge is the class of the league this year. There have been some outstanding performances by catches, but no one tops what Lidge has been able to do. The Dogs catcher is second in the league in hitting at .370 and put together an 18-game hitting streak as well. He has handled the pitching staff masterfully and is a key reason why the Dogs are atop the division.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Krause, Fargo Moorhead RedHawks. Krause is hitting .344 in 39 games and has scored 35 runs.
First Base: Jose Sermo, Sioux City Explorers
Jose Sermo would be on his way to a second MVP award had it not been for the performance of Adam Brett Walker II. He still may get it after all. With a .307 batting average and 17 homers, Sermo is the reason why the Explorers are in the top bracket of the South Division. His numbers are ridiculously good, scoring 40 runs, driving in 42 and walking 41 times. Throw in 13 stolen bases and you may have the best all-around offensive player in the league here in Sioux City.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Martin, Winnipeg Goldeyes. This is not a team with a lot of power, but Martin has 16 doubles, 13 homers, and 31 extra base hits. Plus, 45 RBI
Second Base: Alay Lago, Cleburne Railroaders
There are some solid middle infielders this year, but Lago continues to be one of the best hitters in the league. Lago is hitting .340 and has scored 29 runs and has 17 extra base hits. Plus, he is a flashy fielder who takes away a lot of potential hits. Many great options out there, Lago is the best of them all.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Grotjohn, Kansas City Monarchs. Grotjohn is hitting just above Lago (.348). Grotjohn has been great.
Third Base: Leobaldo Pina, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
This is a no-brainer to be honest. Not only is Pina hitting .348, but he has 10 homers and 40 RBI to go along with 44 runs scored. After an off year in 2020, Pina is back to his old self and will be a key reason why this team wins it all this year.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Lingua, Gary Southshore RailCats. Lingua can play several positions and he has. Plus, he is hitting .323 in 48 games.
Shortstop: Josh Altmann, Lincoln Saltdogs
Josh Altmann was already a solid player, but he has caught fire over the last three weeks, raising his average 30 points. Altmann is now hitting .319 and has 14 homers, seven in July alone. Regardless of the season Walker is having, Altmann is an MVP candidate.
Honorable Mention: Osvaldo Martinez, Cleburne Railroaders. Martinez missed a couple of weeks with an injury, but that has not stopped how impressive he has been. A .327 average and incredible play at short can’t be ignored.
Outfield: Wyatt Ulrich, Sioux Falls Canaries, Adam Brett Walker, Milwaukee Milkmen, Zach Nehrir, Cleburne Railroaders
Adam Brett Walker II is going to break the American Association season record for homers (31) if he stays here long enough. With 21 homers and a .333 average, Walker has set himself apart. Plus, he has had a flair for the dramatics, recording three walk-off hits this season. Walker may also break the single-season RBI mark as well, as he has 54.
Zach Nehrir had a very disappointing 2020, but came alive in the playoffs and earned MVP honors in the finals. He has carried that into this season, third in the league with a .367 average. Nehrir is as good of an outfielder as you could ask for.
Wyatt Ulrich jumps into the final all-star spot after an impressive month that saw him reach the top of the league in batting at .386. He just saw his 28 game hitting streak come to an end, a run that saw him hit .411 during the streak. A solid outfielder as well who has speed.
Honorable Mention: Jan Hernandez, Kansas City Monarchs, Max Murphy, Winnipeg Goldeyes, Anfernee Grier, Chicago Dogs
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Kinman, Lincoln Saltdogs
This was going to be Kevin McGovern’s award for sure, but he is now in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. So, it is another lefty grabbing the top spot as Kyle Kinman has been a savior of sorts for Lincoln. The lefty is 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA in nine starts. His numbers are impressive with 56 strikeouts in 50.2 innings.
Honorable Mention: Tyler Viza, Kane County Cougars. Viza has been incredible for Kane County. While only having a 2-0 record, it has been the failure of his bullpen to hold leads or for his offense to score runs for him.
Relief Pitcher: Jeff Kinley, Chicago Dogs
The bullpen was the reason the Dogs did not make the playoffs last year. Jeff Kinley may be the reason they win it all. The closer has appeared in 20 games and has a microscopic 0.87 ERA. He has seven saves and has allowed 22 total base runners in 31.0 innings pitched.
Honorable Mention: Cole Cook, Gary SouthShore RailCats. It is normally closers who get considered for these types of things, but no one can deny Cole. He has closed out a game and even made two starts. Cole does whatever Manager Greg Tagert asks and this is why he makes the list.
By Robert Pannier