To check out my thoughts about the AL roster and the All Star game itself, take a look at this POST. This post is just looking at the NL All Star team and some NL snubs. So let’s jump right in and take a look at the NL squad.
National League Starters
C Buster Posey 300/14 HR/57 RBI/44 R/1 SB
This one was pretty easy. Posey leads in the Triple Crown categories. He’s also 1st in R, OBP, slugging and OPS (on-base plus slugging). This was the right call.
1B Paul Goldschmidt 351/20 HR/68 RBI/59 R/16 SB
This was also an easy one. Goldy is the leading hitter in the NL and is tied for the league lead in RBI. He’s 2nd among NL first basemen in HR (tied for 4th in the league). He is also a great defender and is 1st in SB among all major league first basemen.
2B Dee Gordon 335/1 HR/21 RBI/43 R/29 SB
Gordon is also a great choice. He’s 1st among all second basemen in AVG (3rd in the league) and SB (2nd in the league). He leads the league in hits and is 2nd at his position in R. Unfortunately he got hurt and will miss the game.
SS Jhonny Peralta 293/11 HR/42 RBI/37 R/1 SB
This one’s tricky. Just like the AL, there is no clear leader. There are 3 to consider. Peralta has the 3rd best AVG, is 1st in HR and is 3rd in R. He is lower in the runs scored category, only has 1 steal and is a butcher at short defensively. He’s clearly top 3, but for me is 3rd and shouldn’t be starting, maybe not even on the team.
3B Todd Frazier 281/25 HR/55 RBI/54 R/8 SB
I like this choice a lot. It is also a bonus that the All Star game is in Cincinnati this year, so there is a hometown player in the starting lineup. Frazier is hitting 281, 3rd among true third basemen. He is 1st in HR, 2nd in RBI and 1st in R. He’s also tied for 3rd in SB among third basemen and plays good defense. He’s the number one guy for me this year.
OF Giancarlo Stanton 265/27 HR/67 RBI/47 R/4 SB
This is another good choice. Stanton got off to a slow start, but has gotten hotter and pulled his AVG up to a respectable 265. He also leads the league in HR and all NL outfielders in RBI, despite only playing in 74 games. He is a premier power hitter, has some speed and plays good defense in right. An injury will keep him out of the game, but he was a good selection to start.
OF Bryce Harper 343/25 HR/60 RBI/58 R/4 SB
Harper was another great choice. He is tied for the league lead in AVG, is 2nd in HR and 4th in RBI. He’s also tied for 1st in R and leads the league in OBP, slugging percentage and OPS. At his position, he is no lower than second in any major category. He might be having the best offensive season in the NL.
OF Matt Holliday 303/3 HR/26 RBI/20 R/2 SB
The fans got this one wrong. I like Holliday, but he’s only played in 52 games. He’s hurt right now, so he won’t even be able to pay in the game, which is good because he’s undeserving. He has played well in his 52 games, but there were other, better, choices out there that have played more.
National League Reserves
C Yadier Molina 289/2 HR/28 RBI/22 R
Molina is getting into that territory that Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. got into at the end of their careers. They are automatic additions to the All Star team, regardless of how well they have played. He’s the best defensive catcher in baseball and has the 2nd best average among all NL catchers. But AVG is often overrated. I’d argue that Derek Norris is having a better season. Norris has a rough AVG (233), but far more HR, RBI and R. Molina is not a good choice this year.
C Yasmani Grandal 277/14 HR/36 RBI/32 R
Grandal is a great choice. I think he’s having the second best season among catchers, even only having played in 69 games. I think this year it goes Posey, Grandal, Norris and then Molina among NL catchers. At least fans got Posey starting and Grandal on the bench.
1B Anthony Rizzo 293/16 HR/48 RBI/46 R/12 SB
This is a great choice. Rizzo is 3rd among all true first basemen in AVG, 4th in HR, 6th in RBI, 4th in R and 2nd in SB. He’s also 2nd in OBP and OPS and 3rd in slugging. He plays excellent defense and appears no lower than 6th on any list of NL first basemen.
1B Adrian Gonzalez 291/16 HR/51 RBI/47 R
Gonzalez was the hottest hitter in baseball early this year and is a solid bench option for this team. His AVG is 5th among all true NL first basemen and he’s 3rd in HR. He’s also 3rd in RBI, 2nd in R and an excellent defender.
2B D.J. LeMahieu 304/4 HR/34 RBI/42 R/10 SB
LeMaiheu isn’t a bad choice at second. He is probably the third best second baseman in the league this year, and the two ahead of him are already on the team. His big stat is AVG, where he is 2nd out of all NL second basemen. He’s 3rd in R and 5th in SB. That’s not bad, but there may have been others more deserving than LeMahieu, though not at his position.
2B Joe Panik 306/6 HR/30 RBI/43 R/3 SB
Panik is the other second basemen deserving of a nod after Dee Gordon. He is 3rd in AVG, 1st in R and 2nd in hits among NL second basemen. He has also shown more speed and power than people thought he had.
SS Brandon Crawford 262/12 HR/60 RBI/39 R/4 SB
Crawford’s AVG isn’t great, but it’s in the top 5 among true NL shortstops. He is 2nd in HR, 1st in RBI and 3rd in R. He has swiped a couple bags and plays excellent defense. I like him better than Peralta. I’d have him start over Peralta, but maybe not over another player who I haven’t even mentioned yet.
3B Nolan Arenado 279/24 HR/68 RBI/49 R
Arenado is having an excellent year. He is 3rd among true NL third basemen in AVG, 2nd in HR (4th in the league) and 1st in the league and at his position in RBI. He’s also 2nd in R and a defensive whiz at third. He is a great choice to be on the team and clearly the number 2 third baseman in the league this year.
3B Kris Bryant 275/12 HR/49 RBI/45 R
Bryant is a guy with a lot of excitement around him. He is 3rd among true NL third basemen in HR and RBI. He’s 4th in R, tied for 3rd in SB and appears in the top 10 in AVG. Third base is deep with Frazier and Arenado at the top. Yunel Escobar and Matt Duffy have had strong years too and Matt Carpenter is always good. I may put Bryant at the head of that group, but clearly behind Frazier and Arenado.
OF Andrew McCutchen 301/10 HR/52 RBI/45 R/5 SB
McCutchen is a solid selection among a deep group of NL outfielders. He is 6th in AVG, 11th in HR, 4th in RBI and 6th in R. He plays a solid defensive center field and has good speed. I like him better to start than Holliday, but not more than other reserves on this list.
OF Joc Pederson 231/20 HR/39 RBI/45 R/2 SB
Pederson is a rookie who has made this list despite a low AVG and high K rate. He is third among all NL outfielders in HR, 12th in RBI and 8th in R. He is hitting bombs, playing good defense and getting on base. He is an exciting player, but I think there are more deserving outfielders out there.
OF A.J. Pollock 301/10 HR/39 RBI/54 R/18 SB
Pollock has an argument to start. He is 4th in AVG and SB among NL outfielders and 2nd in R. He’s also very competitive in the HR and RBI stats (top 15) and is in the top 10 in OBP and OPS. He plays a very good defensive center field and leads all NL outfielders in hits. For me, he’s a top 3 outfielder who should be starting.
OF Justin Upton 269/14 HR/46 RBI/44 R/16 SB
This is another guy I’d consider starting. While his AVG isn’t elite, he is great everywhere else. He is 5th in HR, 6th In RBI, 5th in SB and 11th in R among NL outfielders. He’s a great defensive left fielder too. I don’t have him beating out Stanton, Harper or Pollock to start, but I’d have him ahead of Holliday, Pederson and McCutchen.
National League Pitchers
SP Madison Bumgarner 8-5, 3.34 ERA, 114 Ks, 113.1 IP, 1.08 WHIP, 1 CG
Bumgarner is having a very solid year. It’s not as good as previous years, but above average to good. But there are a number of pitchers with better numbers than him who are more deserving. But if you thought Bruce Bochy wouldn’t put his own ace in the game, you’d be crazy. This pick reeks of rewarding Bumgarner for his great postseason run last year.
SP A.J. Burnett 7-3, 1.99 ERA, 94 Ks, 113 IP, 1.21 WHIP
Burnett was a good choice. His numbers are obviously great. He has the second best ERA in the NL, and 5th most IP. The ERA alone is enough to get him in.
SP Gerritt Cole 12-3, 2.28 ERA, 113 Ks, 110.1 IP, 1.11 WHIP
Cole is another excellent choice. He leads the NL in Wins, is 5th in ERA and is 9th in Ks. He’s in the top 10 in IP and top 15 of WHIP and BAA. The Wins give him a shot to start the game, but I like others better.
SP Jacob deGrom 9-6, 2.14 ERA, 112 Ks, 113.2 IP, 0.92 WHIP
deGrom is having a fantastic year and is a great choice for the All Star team. Last year’s Rookie of the Year is 4th in ERA, 12th in Ks, 15th in IP and tied for 6th in Wins. He’s also got the 4th best WHIP and 5th best BAA in the league.
SP Zack Greinke 7-2. 1.48 ERA, 98 Ks, 115.1 IP, 0.89 WHIP, 1 CG
This one was a no-brainer. He currently has the best ERA in the senior circuit. He’s also tied for 10th in Wins, is 15th in Ks and is 2nd in IP. He’s 2nd in both WHIP and BAA. He would be my second choice to start the game and is having a great season.
SP Shelby Miller 5-4, 2.08 ERA, 88 Ks, 108 IP, 1.10 WHIP, 2 CG, 2 SHO
This was a great choice for a few reasons. One, the Braves had to have a representative. Two, and more importantly, Miller is having a great year. His ERA is 6th in the league. He’s in the top 15 in IP and top 25 in Ks. He’s 15th in WHIP and 10th in BAA. Just like with Burnett, it’s the ERA that is the clincher.
SP Max Scherzer 9-7, 2.12 ERA, 143 Ks, 123 IP, 0.80 WHIP, 3 CG, 2 SHO
This is the guy I think is having the best season in the NL right now. He is 3rd in ERA, 2nd in Ks, 1st in IP and tied for 2nd in Wins. He also leads the league in WHIP, BAA, CG and is tied for the league lead in shutouts. He’s my pick to start the game for the senior circuit. Unfortunately, after pitching Sunday, he will miss the game.
SP Michael Wacha 10-3, 2.93 ERA, 86 Ks, 107.1 IP, 1.10 WHIP
Wacha is having a solid year, but I don’t like this choice. His ERA is 13th and he’s tied for 25th in Ks. He doesn’t appear in the top 25 in IP, is 11th in WHIP and 12th in BAA. His only elite number is Wins, where he is tied for second. But recent trends have taught us how unpredictable Wins are, and they should not be weighed with the same amount of scrutiny as other pitching stats. For that reason, I don’t think he’s a good choice to be on the roster.
RP Mark Melancon 28/29 Saves, 1.54 ERA, 29 K, 41 IP, 0.98 WHIP
Melancon was a good selection. NL All Star Game manager Bruce Bochy, unlike his AL counterpart Ned Yost, only selected closers for his relief slots. I think closers are a better choice than middle relievers for an All Star game, but I still think you only need 2, if any at all. It’s hard not to pick Melancon. He leads the NL in Saves and has an excellent 1.47 ERA, miniscule 0.95 WHIP and very strong 210 BAA. While he leads the NL in Saves, I still think he’s my number 3 man, which means he wouldn’t be on my team.
RP Jonathan Papelbon 14/14 Saves, 1.60 ERA, 35 K, 33.2 IP, 0.98 WHIP
Papelbon is having a good year. Also, the Phillies had to have a representative and Papelbon was probably the best choice (over Hamels). He’s played well with better than 1 K per inning and an excellent ERA and perfect Save record. His WHIP and BAA are excellent. He doesn’t get a lot of Save opportunities with a bad team. Hard to blame him for that. I think he’s a good choice, but I wouldn’t have picked him.
RP Francisco Rodriguez 19/19 Saves, 1.41 ERA, 37 K, 32 IP, 0.88 WHIP
He’s another good choice. He’s got a perfect Save record and has better than 1 K per inning. He also has an excellent WHIP and miniscule BAA. He’s another one of those guys, like Papelbon, having a good year, despite fewer Saves. Solid pick again (if I liked relievers for the All Star roster).
RP Trevor Rosenthal 25/26 Saves, 1.49 ERA, 43 K, 39.1 IP, 1.04 WHIP
Rosenthal was having the best season among closers, until one bad outing pulled his totals up. I updated his ERA from 0.69 (where it was when he was selected) to what it is now. His other totals have come up too. He’s still got the third most Saves, a great ERA and WHIP and miniscule BAA. I had him as my number 1 closer when he was selected, but now his numbers aren’t necessarily the best. That being said, you can’t know what will happen in the future. So he was one of the two I would have selected. Though, in retrospect, Melancon would have been a better choice based strictly on the numbers.
RP Aroldis Chapman 17/18 Saves, 1.73 ERA, 62 K, 36.1 IP, 1.18 WHIP
Chapman is also having a good year. He is playing for a struggling team so that is hurting his Save total. But he’s got more Ks than any other reliever in the NL and a solid ERA. His WHIP is ok, but his BAA is phenomenal. It also doesn’t hurt that he plays in Cincinnati where the All Star game is happening, though I try not to take that stuff into consideration. The fact that he throws 106 MPH and leads all relievers in Ks makes him a good choice, even without having the most Saves. I would have voted for him as one of my two closers.
There are 3 types of snubs. Guys who are on the team but should be starting, guys who should be on the team but aren’t and guys who should be starting, but aren’t even on the team. I’ll go through each position and list anyone I think was snubbed.
C Derek Norris
I’d put Norris in ahead of Yadier Molina, but this isn’t a huge snub. I think Norris’ superiority in HR (second), RBI (third) and R (second) puts him ahead of Molina who is only ahead in AVG and plays better defense. I wouldn’t have him start, but think he should be on the team ahead of Molina.
Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman are worthy of mention, but haven’t played well enough to dethrone any of the first basemen ahead of them.
Howie Kendrick has had a good year, but doesn’t necessarily belong on the list ahead of anyone else.
SS Troy Tulowitzki
This is one of the biggest snubs. I know he’s missed some time, but he’s played in 69 games. That’s enough to be worthy of a selection, especially when he leads all true NL shortstops in AVG, is tied for third in HR, is tied for first in R and is second in RBI. I like him not only to be on the team, but also to start ahead of Peralta and Crawford. I’d have Tulo start, Crawford back him up and then maybe not even carry Peralta and save his spot for Votto or an outfielder.
There are a lot of good third basemen this year. But I think the top 3 are on the team.
OF Charlie Blackmon, Ryan Braun, Starling Marte
Blackmon (291/11 HR/40 RBI/5 R/23 SB) is probably the biggest snub on the list. He’s 8th in AVG, tied for 12th in HR and 13th in RBI. But he’s 4th in R and 2nd in SB. He’s also playing a good center field in the cavernous Coors outfield. I like him ahead of Holliday, Pederson and McCutchen.
Braun won’t get a lot of votes anymore due to his PED suspensions, but he’s having a good year. Braun (275/16 HR/56 RBI/51 R/12 SB) is 4th in HR, 3rd in RBI and 5th in R with a solid AVG and some speed. I’d pick him ahead of Holliday and Pederson.
Starling Marte (279/13 HR/49 RBI/45 R/16 SB) is my last snub. He’s 10th in AVG, tied for 7th in HR, 5th in RBI, 10th in R and 7th in SB. He’s another guy I like more than Holliday and Pederson. I think he’s right up there with McCutchen.
There are lots of good outfielders in the NL this year. I like Harper and Stanton, then probably A.J. Pollock to start. But after them, I’d go with Justin Upton, Charlie Blackmon, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Ryan Braun in that order. Pederson and Holliday are further down the list and I think bad choices.
P Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, Jake Arrieta
Well two of these guys are in the final vote. And we already know both got in to the All Star game. So let’s just look at Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta is continuing his strong second half with the Cubs last year. He’s 8th in the league with a 2.66 ERA. At 10-5, he’s tied for 2nd in wins. His 123 Ks are 5th in the league. He’s also 4th in IP. I like him better than Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Madison Bumgarner and all the relievers. He’s a major snub as far as I’m concerned.
NL Final Vote
SP Johnny Cueto 6-6, 2.73 ERA, 113 Ks, 118.2 IP, 0.90 WHIP, 1 CG
SP Carlos Martinez 10-3, 2.52 ERA, 113 Ks, 107.1 IP, 1.22 WHIP
SS Troy Tulowitzki 313/10 HR/49 RBI/44 R
SP Clayton Kershaw 6-6, 2.85 ERA, 160 Ks, 123 IP, 1.02 WHIP, 1 CG
RP Jeurys Familia 27/29 Save, 1.25 ERA, 43 K, 43.1 IP, 0.90 WHIP
To start, I’d eliminate Familia as he’s a reliever and I don’t think they have enough of an impact in a game to be All Stars.
Out of the starting pitchers, I think Cueto, though my favorite player out of the three, has the worst stats out of the group. Even though he’s the local hero, I think Kershaw and Martinez are better options.
Out of those two, I like Kershaw better because he is so dominant and leads the league in Ks. His ERA is good too, though not as good as Martinez’s. His WHIP is better and he throws more innings. Martinez is good, but I give the edge to Kershaw.
So the question now is what is more impressive between Kershaw’s pitching stats and Tulo’s hitting stats. An apples and oranges comparison. I’ll give the edge to Kershaw because he’s been so dominant out there. But it’s really close and I feel both players deserve to be All Stars.
Luckily both are. Kershaw and Tulowitzki were named to the team as replacements. Carlos Martinez won the final vote and is also in the game. Honestly I think he won because Tulo and Kershaw made the team as replacements. I think Arrieta would be a better option, but what can you do.
Okay, the All Star game is tonight. I’m picking the NL to win, 8-5. No science behind that. Just seems like a good guess to me. I can’t wait to watch it.