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From The Stretch: NL All-Star Picks
Posted By Connor Callaghan On Jun 21 2012 @ 5:44 pm In MLB | 1 Comment
Last week I came up with a list of who I thought deserved to be in the All-Star Game for the American League which you can find here: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2012/06/15/from-the-stretch-al-all-star-picks/.
Now it’s time for the National League:
Catcher, Buster Posey, Giants: The former Rookie of the Year winner adds a little star power and raw hitting power that Yadier Molina and Carlos Ruiz just don’t have. Plus, Brian McCann has somewhat disappeared this year, even though his three-run double in the 2010 All-Star Game ended a 14 year losing streak for the National League. Runner up, Carlos Ruiz, Phillies.
First Base, Joey Votto, Reds: In the past month Votto has been on an absolute tear. He just recently surpassed Melky Cabrera for highest AVG in the Major’s and thanks in part to Matt Kemp’s injury problems, Votto is now the favorite for NL MVP. Runner up, Freddie Freeman, Braves (but it’s not even close).
Second Base, Dan Uggla, Braves: This is easily the weakest position in the NL, and Uggla just barely beats out Brandon Phillips of the Reds for the spot. Uggla has the power while Phillips has the AVG, but ultimately it comes down to who gets on base more, and Uggla’s .376 OBP beats Phillips’ .330. Runner up, Brandon Phillips, Reds.
Shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: This position is actually pretty competitive with the likes of Tulowitzki, Rafael Furcal, and Starlin Castro. Ultimately it’s not so much what Tulo does better as it is what Furcal and Castro are missing. If the All-Star Game was played in late May, Furcal would have been the hottest hitter on the NL roster, but since the first of June his AVG has dropped dramatically. As for Castro, his AVG is exceptional but his OBP is only .013 higher which means Castro swings at everything. He’s not taking any pitches and not making pitchers work for their outs. Plus, he doesn’t seem to pay much attention while out in the field: http://www.csnbayarea.com/sportsnetBayArea/search/v/57292126/starlin-castro-mental-error-is-embarrassing.htm. Runner up, Starlin Castro, Cubs
Third Base, David Wright, Mets: It’s hard to say what might have been if Pablo Sandoval wasn’t forced to sit out a few weeks with another broken bone in his right hand, but the reality is that David Wright has kept the Mets’ offense relevant and reliable behind the career year of R.A. Dickey. He led the Major’s in AVG at the start of the season and is still hitting over .350. Runner up, Pablo Sandoval, Giants.
Left Field, Melky Cabrera, Giants: What an off-season steal Cabrera has been for the Giants, he leads the Major’s in hits with 101 and Michael Bourn of the Braves, coming in second, is only at 91. Up until recently he led the league in AVG and is now in second with .363, which is good enough for second. Plus his arm in the outfield has saved runs from scoring against the Giants.
Center Field, Matt Kemp, Dodgers: Assuming he’s healthy when All-Star weekend begins, Kemp is a no-brainer for the NL Roster. He’s probably the most athletic and exciting player to watch in baseball. He hits, runs, fields and throws better than most.
Right Field, Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: Anyone who thought Beltran’s career was winding down were sure in for a surprise this season. With a new team, Beltran has found his swing again and is playing like his days in Houston. He’s in the NL top 5 for HR and RBI.
Outfield Runner ups: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Andre Ethier, Dodgers; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies.
Starting Pitcher, R.A. Dickey, Mets: It was really hard for me not to put Matt Cain here, but after Dickey’s second straight one-hitter, it’s impossible not to have him start for the NL. After two great starts, Dickey also leads the Major’s in ERA and Wins. However, here’s hoping Cain’s perfect game and career season make him a serious contender for the NL Cy Young. Other pitchers: Matt Cain, Giants; James McDonald, Pirates; Johnny Cueto, Reds; Stephen Strasburg, Nationals; Gio Gonzalez, Nationals.
Closing Pitcher, Craig Kimbrel, Braves: Leads the NL in saves. Runner up, Santiago Casilla, Giants.
Photo Credits: NY Daily News, SportsIllustrated.com
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