Yesterday, we tackled the American League. Today, we do the NL. If you read the intro to yesterday’s post, you can just skip on down to the picks, as the next few paragraphs are the same as they were in the AL post. If you didn’t read that post, keep reading.
The All-Star Game isn’t for another 35 days, but with the voting in full swing and enough of the season under our belts, I figure it’s time to weigh in on how I’d fill out the roster if I were Grand Poobah and had the final say on all 34 players. I will note up front that I believe the All-Star Game is an annual affair, and we shouldn’t simply have the same collection of players every year just because those are the “true stars”. The All-Star Game is best when it serves as both a platform for the game’s greatest players and recognition for those who have earned their way in. I will not be putting players on the roster who have not performed well in 2013, even if they are bonafide stars.
As a reminder, the rosters now comprise 34 players, which I’ll be splitting as 21 position players and 13 pitchers, as that has been the final tally for the game most of the last few years. And, yes, we’re honoring the rule requiring every team to be represented. I’ll list each player by the tier of how they got selected, then put the final roster down below. On to the picks.
The Game Would Be A Farce Without Them
These players are the epitome of All-Stars; great players having great seasons. I imagine there will be little disagreement about any of these 14 selections. It’s hard to imagine a reasonable case for excluding any of these players, assuming they stay healthy for the next few weeks anyway.
Troy Tulowitzki, COL, SS: +4.0 WAR
Joey Votto, CIN, 1B: +3.0 WAR
Carlos Gonzalez, COL, OF: +3.0 WAR
Yadier Molina, STL, C: +2.6 WAR
Andrew McCutchen, PIT, OF: +2.5 WAR
David Wright, NYM, 3B: +2.5 WAR
Buster Posey, SFG, C: +2.1 WAR
Brandon Phillips, CIN, 2B: +2.0 WAR
Ryan Braun, MIL, OF: +1.8 WAR
They’ve Earned It
You wouldn’t have necessarily pegged these guys as All-Stars headed into the season, but their 2013 performance has been so stellar that they have to be there. You might have a different line for how great a performance needs to be to overcome a lack of a track record, but these nine players should clear most people’s bar and get in based on their performance to date.
Carlos Gomez, MIL, OF: +3.9 WAR
Matt Carpenter, STL, 2B/3B: +3.4 WAR
Everth Cabrera, SD, SS: +3.2 WAR
Jean Segura, MIL, SS: +2.9 WAR
Paul Goldschmidt, ARI, 1B: +2.8 WAR
Dexter Fowler, COL, OF: +2.5 WAR
Shin-Soo Choo, CIN, OF: +2.2 WAR
The Team Representative
These guys are mostly worthy candidates anyway, but they are also the best choice to represent the two franchises that did not have a player listed above.
With 16 hitters and nine pitchers already on the roster, that leaves us nine spots to fill, so it’s time to start looking at where the holes are. We’ve already covered most of the spots on the field with the position players above, but because of the DH, we probably need to take an extra bat oriented player and then fill out the roster with deserving players. Here are the nine guys who both fit the All-Star criteria and fill the current openings.
The Final Roster
That leaves us with these 34 players. The starters are listed first and are in bold, with the reserves afterwards. Because I know it’s going to come up, Carpenter is listed as the backup third baseman to Wright because there are no other viable All-Star third baseman in the NL this year, and so I took extra second baseman and shifted Carpenter back to third. While he probably has earned a starting spot based on his play, there’s no shame in backing up Wright, and if he started at second base, he’d have to play the whole game. So, Phillips gets the start at second and Carpenter is Wright’s reserve.
And, finally, the starting line-up.
1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
2. Joey Votto, 1B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
6. Bryce Harper, DH
7. Carlos Gomez, RF
8. Yadier Molina, C
9. Brandon Phillips, 2B
Based on both career track record and 2013 performance, this is how I’d fill out the NL All-Star roster. There are a lot of great players who didn’t make the cut, and there are certainly judgment calls here that could have gone another direction, but overall, I think this is a pretty good set of players who would represent the National League quite well.