The starting lineups for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game have been announced, and while the game won't be played until Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET, we have plenty of time now to ask the question: Which league has the more lethal batting order?
The visiting American League lineup will look as follows:
1. CF Mike Trout, LAA
2. 2B Robinson Cano, NYY
3. 3B Miguel Cabrera, DET
4. 1B Chris Davis, BAL
5. RF Jose Bautista, TOR
6. DH David Ortiz, BOS
7. CF Adam Jones, BAL
8. C Joe Mauer, MIN
9. SS J.J. Hardy, BAL
Meanwhile, the home team National League lineup will look like this:
1. 2B Brandon Phillips, CIN
2. RF Carlos Beltran, STL
3. 1B Joey Votto, CIN
4. 3B David Wright, NYM
5. LF Carlos Gonzalez, COL
6. C Yadier Molina, STL
7. SS Troy Tulowitzki, COL
8. DH Michael Cuddyer, COL
9. CF Bryce Harper, WAS
Either lineup would be an absolute force over a 162-game schedule and easily the best lineup in baseball, but stacking them up against one another, it's unclear at a quick glance who has the better lineup. So let's dig a little deeper into the combined team numbers to see if there is a clear leader in any categories.
So what's the takeaway from this chart?
First off, it comes as no surprise to see the American League leading in the power categories, not only because of the fact that there are more run-production opportunities with the DH in play, but also with Miguel Cabrera (30 HR, 95 RBI) and Chris Davis (37 HR, 93 RBI) anchoring the team's lineup.
It was a bit surprising, however, to see the NL hold the lead in on-base percentage. Joey Votto (.434 OBP) obviously boosts that number some, but with Cabrera (.458 OBP), Joe Mauer (.402 OBP), David Ortiz (.402 OBP) and Mike Trout (.399 OBP) all ranking in the top 10 in baseball, it was surprising the AL didn't come out on top in that number.
It's also worth noting that the NL's overall counting numbers are dragged down a bit by the fact that Bryce Harper (58 G) and Troy Tulowitzki (64 G) have both missed good chunks of time with injury.
All in all, these numbers really only show that the AL holds a notable power advantage and little else as far as determining which league holds the better lineup.
While the National League holds a slight advantage in steals, the American League has a more traditional leadoff hitter in Mike Trout. Brandon Phillips will be the table-setter for the NL squad, but he has spent most of the season hitting cleanup for Cincinnati and actually has more RBI than anyone else in the NL's starting lineup.
As far as a "weak link" at the bottom (if you can call it that), shortstop J.J. Hardy has the lowest OPS of any starter at .721. However, he still has 16 home runs and 52 RBI as one of the most productive shortstops in baseball.
The lineups look as even as they have in years, with no real non-deserving starter on either side dragging down his respective lineup.
The AL has to be given a slight edge based solely on the presence of Cabrera and Davis in the middle of the lineup, as they are both having historic seasons, but top-to-bottom the NL may have the more complete lineup.
We'll find out soon enough which league is supreme this season.
Which do you think has the more lethal batting order in this year's All-Star Game? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.