The 'real' All-Star team 

June, 28, 2012

Given the ability to pick 25 players to fill out a roster, which guys would you choose?

I've tackled that question here -- with the goal of building the optimal roster for a 162-game season -- picking the best starter at each of the nine lineup spots, as well as five starting pitchers for an insanely strong rotation. With the bench, I tried to think a little more tactically rather than just taking the best overall players who didn't make the starting nine. Each of the six players on the bench has most value in that specific, limited role. That doesn't mean I think those players should be All-Stars, or that they're better than every-day players who don't appear on the roster.

The pitching staff is composed of 10 pitchers because there's no justification for today's 12- and 13-man staffs; they are the product of extreme specialization and a profound lack of creativity. With the five starters I've chosen, I probably could get by with just 10 pitchers because I'm likely to get 1,000 innings from the starters, unless there's an injury, allowing me to sneak a specialist bat onto the bench.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Ruiz is having a slightly better season and is a better hitter overall, but Molina is a much better defender -- as a receiver and especially in his ability to shut down the running game.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer