Carlos Beltran, Lance Lynn Top Early NL All-Star Starting Lineup Predictions
As we enter mid-May, the MLB All-Star Game begins to creep up on us.
This is the time when players will have around 150 at-bats and will have to prove that their hot start isn't just a fluke. It has been an interesting year so far, to say the least.
Some of the names that we are hearing about now were players who we would not have expected to be in the All-Star race.
Although there are many games still to be played before the break, here are some early predictions of what the National League All-Star team will look like.
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz
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One of the few bright spots offensively for the last-place Phillies, Ruiz is in the NL's top ten in hitting and off to one of the best starts of his career.
He has been on an absolute tear lately, hitting .471 in the past week—not to mention, he already has seven home runs, which is more than his total from all of last season.
If Ruiz keeps up his offensive production, this All-Star selection will be a no-brainer.
First Base: Bryan LaHair
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Bryan who? Possibly the biggest surprise of this year, LaHair starts at first base for the Chicago Cubs.
The 29-year-old minor-league veteran got the opportunity to play for the Cubs last year as a September call-up. During spring training, he was named the Cubs' starting first baseman and has not looked back since.
LaHair already has five home runs in May in just 53 at-bats. Now, LaHair hits cleanup for Chicago and has not shown many signs of slowing down.
Second Base: Omar Infante
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Infante has been a hitting machine in the month of May, batting .350. Hitting behind Jose Reyes is not an easy task, either.
Infante is hitting .336 with an uncharacteristically high amount of home runs. The second baseman already has six for the year—with five of them coming in the month of April.
Considering the fact that Infante has proven to be one of the most consistent hitters in the league over the past few seasons, he's a very probable All-Star selection come July.
Third Base: David Wright
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This is the easiest pick for the National League. Wright has been playing like a superstar all year long.
Hitting at .402, he has been the hottest hitter in the NL. Although his home run numbers are not through the roof—only four thus far—he has been compromising power for production, with 21 RBI’s and a .497 on base percentage.
Wright’s fielding has also improved drastically, as he has only made one error this season and has shown flashes of brilliance at the hot corner.
Shortstop: Rafael Furcal
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Furcal is slowly pulling away from other National League shortstops in hitting and is an imperative piece to the Cardinals lineup this season.
Hitting at .370 with nine three-hit games, Furcal is already at an incredible pace. He has been eating up left-handed pitching, batting .432 as a right-handed hitter so far this year.
Furcal is no stranger to the All-Star game, as he has made appearances in both 2003 and 2010. At this pace, he will be leading off in Kansas City come July.
Left Field: Ryan Braun
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Coming off a busy and taxing offseason, Ryan Braun seems to be getting back into an All-Star groove.
Braun is hitting .371 in his last 10 games and .305 for the season. He is also tied for third in the National League in home runs.
The reigning MVP is one of the only bright spots so far this season for the injury-depleted Brewers.
Center Field: Matt Kemp
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Before Kemp landed himself on the disabled list, he was having an MVP-caliber season. He is in the top three in the National League in both batting average and home runs.
Kemp has been carrying the first-place Dodgers up to this point. As of right now, Kemp is set to return at the end of May, and we will see if he picks up where he left off.
If he continues to swing the bat like he did in the first quarter of the season, it will be nearly impossible to argue that anyone else will be starting in center field this All-Star game.
Right Field: Carlos Beltran
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It looks as though Beltran has settled in nicely at St. Louis this season.
He has had a red-hot May so far, hitting .364 with an astonishing eight home runs and 21 RBIs. He is also leading the National League in home runs with 13 and has been playing a very solid right field for the Cards.
There is a very good chance that Beltran will be playing in his second-consecutive All-Star game and the seventh of his career.
Pitcher: Lance Lynn
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This is a selection that I spent a lot of time thinking about, since it is still so far from the halfway point of the All-Star game; however, Lynn has been absolutely sensational.
Coming off his first loss of the season, Lynn is sitting at 6-1 with an ERA that puts him at third in the National League for starters. He has only allowed nine runs so far this season, which is the least out of any other starting pitcher in the NL.
At the age of only 25, this kid has the chance to be a proverbial starter.
Other considerations could be Brandon Beachy, Gio Gonzalez, or Ted Lilly.