We did the AL earlier this afternoon, so now we’re tackling the 34 man rosters for the National League. Quick primer in case you didn’t read the AL post — I value first half performance (even flukes) since I see the game as a reward for the players, every team gets a representative, and injured guys are not considered. On to the picks, with starters listed first.
Don’t need four catchers, but can’t leave any of these guys at home. The first two would be legitimate MVP candidates if not for some first baseman in Cincinnati, and Ellis and Posey have been huge factors in their team’s success as well. They all deserve to go.
Apologies To: Miguel Montero.
Hey National League First Baseman Not Named Joey Votto – you suck. Okay, Goldschmidt is having a solid enough year, but the lack of depth behind Votto at the position in the NL is pretty staggering. There are seven qualified NL first baseman with less than +0.6 WAR. Essentially half the team’s in the NL are getting nothing from their first baseman. Let’s move on.
Apologies To: Fans of NL teams who have to watch their league’s first baseman hit.
A pretty balanced group here, with Phillips getting the starting nod mostly because his track record suggests he’s probably the best of the three. While this is a performance reward, when the performance is this close, tie goes to the best guy.
Apologies To: Jose Altuve, who is in if he’s healthy.
Lowrie’s an easy pick, but it gets a bit tougher to pick the reserves after that. Castro gives us a needed Cubs representative and is pretty much in line with the rest of the non-Lowrie guys, so he gets a spot. Reyes isn’t far back of the group in 2012 performance while being a worthy player based on talent, but I wouldn’t argue much if you wanted to swap him out for one of the others.
Mostly cut-and-dried here, with Wright as the obvious starter, Headley as the obvious Padres representative, and Freese getting the last spot due to nothing more than personal preference. I’d have no problem with anyone who wanted to change out Freese for someone else out of the pile of similar players.
There are about 15 deserving candidates here, so the apologies list could span a couple of pages, but I took nine so that one of them could serve as the DH – probably Beltran. The first eight guys are all clearly deserving on performance, while Harper gets in as something of a good-for-the-game selection. He’s played well enough that it’s not a charity selection, and having him and Trout make their first all-star games together will simply make the event more fun. This is the one case where I’m going with fan spectacle over pure player performance, and thankfully, Harper has played well enough that he’s not a ridiculous pick on his own merits.
The NL has so many good starting pitchers that I’ve decided that I just can’t exclude as many as I did in the AL, so the NL’s bullpen is going to be almost entirely made up of starters. Really, which of these eight guys don’t deserve to go? Even among the guys who I’m already apologizing to, there are legitimately strong cases for a spot on the roster. The NL might want to consider just bring 33 pitchers and Joey Votto just to be fair to the NL starting pitching field.
Probably the two best relievers in baseball right now, so my regrets to all the good setup guys in the NL — sorry, you were aced out by ridiculous starting pitching performances this year.