In honor of Tuesday night's Major League Baseball All-Star Game, we decided to put together an IndyCar All-Star starting lineup, predicting where each one of the drivers would bat based on where their skillset applies,
This is purely unscientific and just for fun -- so suspend your disbelief and provide your feedback in the comments section below. Let's play ball!
1. Marco Andretti
Marco has a great speed burst and has won a lot of poles this year, making him the equivalent of a speedy lead-off man who doesn't have a lot of power. The 26-year-old has the potential to develop some pop (race victories), but just hasn't acquired the power yet.
2. Will Power
Last year's no. 3 batter has lost some of his power this season and has dropped a little off his batting average, too. He's still an All-Star this season, though. The hope is that he will see better pitches after placing him in positions where Andretti is on base and the power hitters waiting on deck.
3. Helio Castroneves
The Penske veteran has lost some of his power with age, but he's made up for it with a better eye at the plate and an increased batting average. He hits a lot of line drives and is the perfect batter with runners like Andretti or Power in scoring position.
4. Scott Dixon
Scott Dixon is a multi-time MVP with plus-power, a fantastic batting average and clutch numbers with runners in scoring position -- the perfect clean-up hitter. His OPS is over 1.000 and he's the top vote-getter in this season's IndyCar All-Star Game.
5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
The defending IndyCar Series champion is still hitting for power this season, but doesn't have the batting average that saw him put up MVP numbers in 2012. His BABIP (batting average for balls put in play) is down this season, suggesting overall bad luck, but he's still a good clean-up option if Dixon needs a day off.
6. James Hinchcliffe
The budding superstar is the proverbial five-tool player. He has all the tools, especially on offense, but hasn't put them all together yet. We'll slot him sixth instead of second just to get him acclimated to hitting with runners in scoring position.
7. Tony Kanaan
The Indianapolis 500 winner is the proverbial "good clubhouse guy." He's still a good batter, has a high on-base percentage and is a Gold Glove-caliber defender. Kanaan will come through in clutch situations.
8. Simon Pagenaud
Pagenaud doesn't bat for a particularly high average and doesn't seem to have a lot of pop. He does have Gold Glove-level defense, though, and doesn't make a lot of mistakes in the batter's box.
9. Dario Franchitti
This spot is reserved for the National League pitcher. If this is the American League, though, the designated hitter applies and Dario Franchitti fits the bill. You can place Dario anywhere in the lineup and he will succeed. He's not really suited for the leadoff spot anymore, but he still has speed. As a result, a manager like Tony LaRussa might be tempted to stick him in the nine-hole as an alternative lead-off batter.
Manager: Michael Andretti
As the defending IndyCar championship manager, Michael Andretti has been announced as the head coach for the 2013 All-Star game. That was earned again this year, though, as he's done a great job this season as well. He's mentored Hinchcliffe to All-Star status and appears to be ushering top prospect Carlos Munoz to the same path. He's the unanimous right man for the job.