Yesterday we discussed the American League All Start Starting Lineup. Today we will discuss the National League starters. I mentioned my disdain for fan voting, and although I believe the AL starters were pretty close, I believe the NL did not get it right. With that lets jump into this.
Catcher: Buster Posey: It seems the reigns have been handed over to Buster Posey. Yadier Molina has been a long time perennial starter for the senior circuit, but Buster Posey has claimed his rightful place as the NL starter at catcher. He is the standard by which all catchers should try to live up to. He should be the starting catcher this year and for years to come. He leads all major league catchers in Runs (49), and Doubles (19). He is second only Wilson Ramos in the National League in Home Runs (11), RBI’s (41), OBP (.362), and OPS (.844). He got off to a slow start, but has really turned things around lately to help lead the Giants to currently having the most wins in the National League.
Other Possibilities: We already mentioned Wilson Ramos who is hitting out of his mind this season. He leads all NL Catchers in Home Runs with 14, RBI’s with 49, Batting Average with .333, On Base Percentage with .388, Slugging percentage With .549, and OPS with .937. He is one of the reserves along with Jonathan Lucroy who is have a bit of a resurgent season. He is batting .302 with 10 home runs of his own.
First Base: Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo leads all NL First basemen in RBI’s with 61 and is tied with Chris Carter for the lead in Home Runs with 20. He is putting up respectable numbers across the board and is a good choice for the starting spot.
Other Possibilities: Paul Goldschmidt is an annual MVP candidate. His numbers are slightly down this year but he is still batting .294 with 15 home runs, and 58 RBI’s. Brandon Belt, who just won the final vote spot, has finally started to produce like the Giants always thought he would. He leads all NL first baseman with a .300 batting average. Wil Meyers is playing out of his mind since moving to first base this season. His 19 home runs, and 59 RBI’s are second only to Rizzo, and he is 10 points higher than Rizzo in average with .291. With the game being in San Diego and with the season that Meyers is having I think that he should have been the starter at first base. With Belt getting Final Vote status, all of these guys are on the reserve list.
Second Base: Ben Zobrist: The super utility man has been a great addition for the Cubbies this season, and has been a big part of their early success. He is batting .290 on the year and has 12 home runs with 45 RBI’s. He leads all NL second basemen with 57 runs. Those are good numbers for a middle infielder. But are they good enough?
Other Possibilities: This is another spot where the fans got it wrong. DJ LaMahieu has been outstanding for the Rockies with his .336 Batting Average and .399 OBP. Jean Segura is having a nice season in Arizona batting .317 with 108 hits. Matt Carpenter leads all second basemen with a .420 On Base Percentage and he has 53 RBI’s to go along with that. However, none of these stand up to what Daniel Murphy is doing. He leads the Majors with a .346 batting average and leads the National League with 112 hits. He also leads all NL second basemen with 15 Home runs, and 59 RBI’s. Between him and Jose Altuve, we could see two second basemen taking home MVP honors. Carpenter makes the teams as a third baseman, and Murphy should be starting, but is in the reserves.
Third Base: Kris Bryant: Bryant leads the National League in home runs with 25 and is second in RBI’s with 64. Bryant can definitely crush, and is a solid option at third. He also leads all NL third basemen with 69 runs. His .277 batting average leaves something to be desired however.
Other Possibilities: We have already talked about Matt Carpenter’s credentials and he is one of the reserves. Then there is Jake Lamb who is absolutely crushing the ball for the Diamond Backs. He has 20 Home runs, 61 RBI’s and is batting .293. He may be one of the biggest snubs of the year as he is not even on the reserve list. Martin Prado leads all NL third basemen with 100 hits and a .314 batting average. The other reserve on the list should be the starter. Nolan Arenado has 23 home runs, and leads the NL in RBI’s with 70. His . He is batting .288 and his slugging percentage of .573 is second only to Lamb among NL Third Basemen.
Short Stop: Addison Russell: Russell rounds out the all Chicago infield. However, his .238 batting average and mediocre stats and sub par defense shouldn’t even make the list. This is the biggest fan fail of the year. No offense to Cubs fans. The Cubs have a great team this year and a large part of that is their supremely talented infield. You can make a strong case for all of them to be in the starting lineup of any All Star game. That is with the exception of Russell who could be considered the weakest link on that team.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Crawford is the best defensive short stop in the National League and his 58 RBI’s lead all NL Short Stops. Jonathan Villar is batting .294 and his 28 stolen bases are the best in the majors. Behind them are three rookies that make some very compelling arguments. Aledmys Diaz of the Cardinals leads all NL stops with a .319 Batting average and a .382 OBP. Trevor Story has been quite the story in Colorado with his 21 Home Runs and 55 RBI’s. Corey Seager is batting .299 with 17 Home Runs and 41 RBI’s. he leads all NL Short Stops with 102 hits and 59 runs. He should be the starter. he and Diaz both make the reserve list. Crawford and Story somehow get snubbed. Needless to say the NL West has a plethora of great Short Stops this season.
Outfield: Dexter Fowler, Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes: It is easy to see why these three guys got elected as starters. Harper is the reigning MVP, Cespedes had a great playoff run with the Mets last season, and Fowler is part of that exciting Cubs organization that is trying to overcome its long World Series drought. That said these should not be the guys starting in the NL outfield, and with injuries to Cespedes and Fowler they won’t be. Cespedes is actually having a pretty great year. He is batting .302 with 21 Home Runs, and 52 RBI’s. Harper has 19 Home Runs and 52 RBI’s, but he also has an ugly .256 Batting Average. That said he does have a .399 OBP which is pretty nice. Then there is Fowler. His .290 average is respectable, and he was a nice spark to have at the top of that high powered Cubs offense, but really his missed time due to injury add to the fact that his numbers really just are not all star caliber.
Other Possibilities: Ryan Braun is putting together a nice season batting .312 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI’s. Christian Yelich is hitting great in the Marlins outfield batting .317 with a .398 OBP. It would be fun to see his teammate Ichiro Suzuki make another all star game. I understand why he won’t because he is a bench player, but he also is posting a .335 batting average with a .412 OBP. Odubell Herrera is having a really nice season for the Phillies as is Stephen Piscotty in St. Louis. The starters however should be Marcell Ozuna (it is now in the starting lineup). Ozuna is batting .307 with 17 Home runs, and 47 RBI’s. He also has 99 Hits to go along with 52 runs. Starling Marte also has 99 hits and a .316 batting average. He has helped carry the load in Pittsburgh as Andrew McCutchen has had a rough season thus far. Finally Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies, (he also is now in the starting lineup). CarGo has a .317 Batting average, 19 Home Runs, 57 Ribby’s, 107 Hits, and 58 Runs. Chalk it up to Coors field if you want, but Gonzalez is having a terrific season.
There you have it. The AL fan voting just about got them all right, and the NL fan voting just about got them all wrong. That’s okay though, because let’s be honest, the all star game is for the fans, so give them what they want.