As you can see, Jonathan has been posting his starting lineups for the all star teams. Well now it’s my turn and here is a look at my starting National League All-Star team.
Catcher: While Miguel Montero has had a great season so far, I think you have to give Brian McCann the nod at catcher for the National League. He has an impressive triple-slash line of .300/.379/.512 with 13 homeruns and 43 RBI which all are the highest amongst qualified NL catchers. His 2.8 WAR is also .3 points higher than the second place Montero. He has also led one of the best pitching rotations in not only the national league but all of the majors which further strengthens his bid.
First Base: I think Prince Fielder knows he is in a contract year as he is putting up some of the best numbers of his career and he is my pick for the NL starter. He has a very good triple-slash line of .305/.426/.611. His OBP and AVG both rank second amongst NL 1st baseman and his SLG leads all first baseman and is .065 points higher than the second best. While Joey Votto has made a very strong case to be the starting first baseman, Fielder’s 21 homeruns and .305 ISO, which both lead the NL, really put him over the top.
Second Base: This pick was very hard for me, as I couldn’t decide between Rickie Weeks or Danny Espinosa but I am going to have to go with Espinosa. Espinosa is tied with Weeks as well as Robinson Cano for the major league lead in homeruns (14) amongst second baseman. Espinosa has done this in nearly 40 less plate appearances and he also has more RBI (47) which is second amongst NL second baseman. Espinosa has a .224 ISO which leads all major league second baseman and he has 2 more stolen bases than Weeks. While yes Weeks has a much higher triple-slash line and wOBA, we must look at what Espinosa is doing as of late. In the month of June he has hit .289/.346/.474 and a wOBA of .368. Espinosa is also a much better fielder and with all that I think Espinosa has the slight edge over Weeks.
Third Base: There were a lot of guys I was considering for third: Chase Headley, Ryan Roberts, Placido Polanco, and even Aramis Ramirez. I am going to have to go with Ryan Roberts. While he does not lead NL third baseman in WAR, his 2.0 WAR is only .1 point behind the leader, Chase Headley. Roberts has an NL leading 10 homeruns and .190 ISO amongst NL third baseman. He has a solid triple-slash line of .257/.343/.447 and his SLG leads the NL third baseman. While this isn’t the sexiest pick like we have seen in the past with guys like David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman, injuries have held them back and I am giving Roberts the nod.
Shortstop: This might be the easiest pick of my ballot; my starting shortstop is none other than Jose Reyes. Reyes has put up MVP-like numbers this first half. He has a 4.6 WAR which leads the entire national league and is tied for second in the entire majors. He has a fantastic triple-slash line of .341/.385/.514 and a wOBA of .399. His AVG leads the entire national league and his 28 stolen bases ranks second. This pick is a no-brainier.
Left Field: Ryan Braun is in a league of his own amongst NL left fielders and he is my pick to be the starter. He has a 3.5 WAR which is more than double the second place left fielder. He leads NL left fielders in homeruns (16), runs (57), RBI (59), stolen bases (17), AVG (.308), OBP (.390), SLG (.554), and wOBA (.416). This was an easy choice for me as Braun is playing great offensively.
Center Field: I have to go with Andrew McCutchen in center field and he might be one of the best all around players in baseball. One could also make a great case for Shane Victorino but McCutchen has the slightly higher WAR which gives him the edge. Earlier this year I talked about him as a potential MVP Candidate and he certainly isn’t disappointing. He has a 4.0 WAR which ranks 2nd amongst NL outfielders. He is providing a great combination of speed and power as he has hit 10 homeruns and stolen 15 bases. On the season he is only hitting .285/.388/.463 but he started the season very slow. As of late, he is one of the hottest players in baseball as he has hit .373/.470/.494 with a wOBA of .436 in the month of June.
Right Field: While he plays center field, Matt Kemp is by far the starting right fielder as he has been one of the best players in all of baseball this year. Kemp’s 4.3 WAR ranks second in the national league. He is hitting .327/.416/.619 with a league leading wOBA of .450. He has hit 21 homeruns which is tied for the NL lead and he has 60 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He could very easily be the NL MVP for the first half of the season and if he keeps this up we could see him reach the 40-40 club.
Starting Pitcher: This was an easy pick for me as the NL starting pitcher should be Mr. Roy Halladay. He has a major league leading 4.5 WAR which is .9 wins higher than the second place in the NL. He has a 2.40 ERA which ranks 2nd in the NL and a 2.16 FIP ranking 1st in the NL. He leads the NL with the lowest BB/9 (1.19) and he ranks second in strikeouts (123) He could very well be on his way for another Cy Young award.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | All-Star Game, Andrew McCutchen, Aramis Ramirez, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Danny Espinosa, David Wright, Joey Votto, Jose Reyes, Matt Kemp, Miguel Montero, Placido Polanco, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Robinson Cano, Roy Halladay, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Ryan Zimmerman, Shane Victorino