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I already posted my American League All-Star Selections to date and I finally got around to picking my National League All-Star selections. Remember, these selections are made as of right now and I will probably change my picks about a week or two before the voting ends.
There are some players having some monster seasons in the NL and it was tough at some positions to choose who should be the pick but here are my finals selections:
I was all set to pick Geovany Soto as my catcher until I went through all the teams and saw that Brian McCann was playing even better than Soto. I had no idea McCann was having such a good season. I was surprised to see Bengie Molina hitting .340 as well. Russell Martin deserves some mention too.
It was really tough to not pick Albert Pujols because he is one of the best hitters in the game and he is having a monster year, but Berkman is no slouch either, and I couldn't deny someone who has a 207 OPS+. Adrian Gonzalez would probably be the starter if he were in the AL, but in the NL, he's a distant third. Also, since this game is in Yankee Stadium in the AL, then Pujols would be my choice to be the starting DH.
Chase Utley is having an amazing season especially for a second basemen. Part of me has to wonder how much his stats are inflated because he plays in Citizens Bank Park but his stats are still amazing regardless. What might surprise people even more is that Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins is having just a good of a season as Utley is. Here we have another case where the backup would be starting in the AL. Orlando Hudson, Brandon Phillips, and Mark DeRosa would be next in line, but don't even come close to Uggla and Utley.
Hanley Ramirez is the easy pick here even though he's not quite having as good of a season so far as he did last year. Jose Reyes has picked it up as of late and is next in line here. Rafael Furcal would have had a good chance at being the starter if he didn't get hurt.
Chipper Jones is the obvious pick at third base. Any time you are hitting .420 this late in the season, you have to be starting in the All-Star Game. David Wright and Aramis Ramirez are both having solid seasons but have no chance to catch Chipper here.
The National League outfield was probably the toughest for me to pick out of all the positions for both the AL and NL. There really aren't any perennial All-Star outfielders in the NL that are having big years, and most of the guys who are playing the best are guys who really haven't performed at such a high level before. There really aren't any clear cut picks. I stuck Soriano in there mostly because of his star power, and I gave the nod to Pat Burrell over Nate McLouth because Burrell has more of a track record than McLouth and is having his best season to date. Ludwick gets in because he is having the best season of any NL outfielder. My NL OF selections are probably the most likely to change in the next few weeks before the voting ends.
Next in line:
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, .291, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 129 OPS+
Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates, .308, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 6 SB, 157 OPS+
Jason Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates, .290, 14 HR, 32 RBI, 150 OPS+
Aaron Rowand, San Francisco Giants, .328, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 140 OPS+
Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies, .321, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 140 OPS+
You can't actually vote for a DH in the NL and the NL manager will get to pick the DH. Since I have Berkman as my first baseman, then I am going with Pujols at the DH.
While it was tough to not choose Brandon Webb as my pitcher, Edinson Volquez made it a lot easier with the season he is having so far. Volquez has put up some Pedro Martinez like numbers so far and leads the Majors in both ERA and strikeouts. Unless he gets shelled in his next few starts before the All-Star break, then I am going with Volquez as my starter. Tim Lincecum is also next in line. After these three guys there is somewhat of a drop off.
A couple more things I noticed when researching the stats for this post:
- Who would have thought that the Pittsburgh Pirates would have the best hitting OF in baseball? Here are the stats for their three Outfielders this season:
Nate McLouth, .308, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 6 SB, 157 OPS+
Jason Bay, .290, 14 HR, 32 RBI, 150 OPS+
Xavier Nady, .320, 9 HR, 45 RBI, 138 OPS+
- The Phillies' bullpen has been impressive this year, especially Brad Lidge. Left for dead the last few years after his struggles, Lidge has been excellent this season as the Phillies closer, with 16 saves, a 1.00 ERA, and a 435 ERA+. The Phillies only have one starting pitcher performing above league average, so their bullpen and offense has been carrying them this season.
- People continue to call for Willie Randolph's head, but the fact of the matter is he is coaching a Mets club that is vastly overrated. The team is performing below average on offense with a 97 OPS+ and pitching with a 99 OPS+. Sounds more like a roster issue than a coaching issue.
- The Washington Nationals are by far the worst hitting team in the NL and barely beat out the Kansas City Royals for worst hitting team in the Majors. They sport a pathetic 77 OPS+, which is 23 OPS points below a league average offense. The also sport the lowest slugging % in the Majors at .347.
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