The Deserving All-Stars: NL Edition

The All-Star Game is about a month away, and the latest batch of voting results for the National League were released yesterday. If there are no changes, the NL will roll out the following team to begin the midsummer classic:

Catcher: Brian McCann
First Base: Albert Pujols
Second Base: Brandon Phillips
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki
Third Base: Placido Polanco
Left Field: Matt Holliday
Center Field: Ryan Braun
Right Field: Lance Berkman

That’s not a bad line-up, certainly. There are no egregious errors there (except for the hilarious defensive alignment of the outfield, but that’s the ballot’s fault), and you could make a good case for everyone listed above to deserve their spot on the roster. But my personal ballot would look a little bit different, and while I’m extolling the virtues of the starters, we might as well look at all the players who I think should be on the team this year.

The deserving starter (as determined by me) is listed first, followed by my reserves at each position, and yes, I’m following the actual MLB rules, so every team gets a representative:

Catcher: Brian McCann, Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina

Pretty easy picks for the most part – Molina beats out Iannetta based on career track record and defensive value.

First Base: Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Gaby Sanchez

Again, pretty easy calls. Sanchez gets the nod as the Marlins team rep. Fielder gets the start at DH because that’s his best position anyway.

Second Base: Rickie Weeks, Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinosa

The first two are no-brainers, and Espinosa is having a nice year and the Nationals need a rep.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Stephen Drew

Another position without too many tough calls.

Third Base: Placido Polanco, Ryan Roberts, Chase Headley

Yeah, not a banner year for third baseman in the NL. Roberts and Headley have flown under the radar, but both are having quality seasons and the Padres needed a rep.

Outfield: Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Hunter Pence

The first five should be on everyone’s ballot. For the last spot, Pence beat out Michael Bourn for the spot as somewhat deserving Astros rep.

Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Tim Lincecum, Jaime Garcia, Cliff Lee

Easily the hardest place to pick, you could make a case for 15-20 guys here. Ryan Vogelsong just hasn’t thrown enough innings for me, and believe it or not, Shaun Marcum lost his spot because the Giants (of all teams) needed a rep, so Tim Lincecum took his spot on the squad. The Lee pick was tough because his ERA is higher than many others (and, I’m assuming, probably too high to actually get him on the squad), but it’s primarily BABIP driven, he’s second in the league innings, first in strikeout rate, and he’s an established front line starter.

Relief Pitcher: Jonny Venters, Joel Hanrahan, Fernando Salas, Sean Marshall

Another place where you could make a case for a lot of guys, I went with the guys I’d actually want holding down a close lead against some top notch hitters. Marshall also got a bump because the Cubs needed a rep.

There’s my NL squad. We’ll do the AL once we have the most recent voting tabulation for the junior circuit.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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