Catcher: Bengie Molina, San Francisco Giants
Molina leads all catchers in the National League with 10 home runs and 36 RBI, and he is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. He has commanded a great pitching staff to go along with his offensive numbers and has the Giants flying under the radar.
First Base: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
This is about as big of a no-brainer as you can have here in taking Pujols. While there are other first basemen having great years, Pujols gets the job done everywhere and is putting up ridiculous numbers with 23 home runs and 58 runs driven in, all while batting .323.
Second Base: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies
Utley is also a pretty easy choice here at second base, as no one can match his power numbers on offense (15 home runs) and amazing on-base percentage (.490). He does a little bit of everything on offense, but has been a little shaky on defense this year with five errors.
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins
While the popularity contest is holding strong with Jimmy Rollins leading the votes here, Ramirez is putting together a great year that cannot go unnoticed. I have seen him play two series against the Brewers this year, and he has been unstoppable.
Third Base: David Wright, New York Mets
While his power numbers are down (just four home runs), Wright is batting .357 and has stolen a ridiculous 18 bases this year. He has been keeping the up-and-down Mets afloat so far and, in my book, slightly edges out Ryan Zimmerman for the starting nod.
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Braun is quietly putting up outstanding numbers that have been overshadowed by Prince Fielder’s MVP-type first half. For the year, Braun has hit 14 home runs and 46 RBI’s while batting .318.
Outfield: Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies
PED accusations or not, Ibanez has put up monster numbers and, despite going on the DL today, is a sure-fire starter in this year’s All-Star Game. The Phillies’ fans crazy voting numbers and Ibanez’s 21 home runs and 57 RBI’s are a pretty good combo to get a starting nod.
Outfield: Carlos Beltran, New York Mets
After Braun and Ibanez, the third spot in the outfield is up in the air. In the actual fan voting, Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino and even Manny Ramirez are keeping pace with Beltran, but it’s hard to argue against what Beltran has done this year. As always, the five-tool center fielder is putting up great numbers and should start in the Mid-Summer Classic.
Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
Cain has been dominating this year with a 9-1 record and a 2.39 ERA. While his strikeout numbers aren’t great, and he walks a fair amount of batters, he finds ways to get outs and win ballgames. In his starts this year, the Giants are 10-3.
Pitcher: Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers
Billingsley has struggled as of late, but still continues to be the workhorse for the Dodgers' pitching staff. He has posted a 9-3 record with an ERA under three and has also struck out over a batter per inning.
Pitcher: Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks
Haren might be the best pitcher with a 5-4 record on the planet, as he boasts a 2.20 ERA and has walked 13 batters in 90 innings. His WHIP stands at 0.81 (no one else in the NL has a WHIP under 1.00), and in his four losses, his offense has scored two runs while Haren has given up seven.
Pitcher: Johan Santana, New York Mets
As bad as his last outing was against the Yankees, Santana is still a sure-fire All-Star this year. He has struck out 94 batters in just 82 innings while winning eight games already. I’ve mentioned this stat before, but in Santana’s first two losses, he gave up a combined zero earned runs.
Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
Gallardo has really stepped up his game this year and has become the ace of the first-place Brewers. He sports a 7-3 record with a 2.93 ERA, and opponents are batting just .193 against him, which is good for fourth in the National League. Command has been an issue as of late, but he has also struck out 85 batters this year.
Relief Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets
K-Rod has been just as good this year as he was last year and, outside of the number of saves, one could argue he has been better. He has 17 saves on the year with just one blown and sports a 0.56 ERA in 32.1 innings.
Relief Pitcher: Heath Bell, San Diego Padres
When Trevor Hoffman bolted to Milwaukee in the offseason, the biggest question was how the Padres would replace the all-time saves leader. Well, Bell has been every bit as good as Hoffman was, and he should earn his first All-Star appearance because of it. He leads the NL with 18 saves and a 1.56 ERA.
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee Brewers
Despite missing the first month of the season with a rib injury, Hoffman is still at the top of the leaderboard with 17 saves and a 1.31 ERA. Despite being shaky as of late (a loss and a blown save in his last two appearances), Hoffman has walked just three batters in 20.1 innings and has blown just the one save.
Backup Catcher: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves
McCann leads all National League catchers with a .325 batting average and has six homers on the year to go with 25 RBI’s. These numbers are even more impressive considering he has missed a decent amount of time with injury this year.
Backup First Baseman: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
An easy choice here, as Fielder is as close to a starting nod over Pujols as anyone ever has been. He leads the majors with 64 RBI and is batting over .300 with 16 home runs. After Ibanez, Fielder is next in line in the MVP talks.
Backup Second Baseman: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Phillips is enjoying a nice year, just as long as he keeps his mouth closed (he stated the Reds were better than the Brewers after being swept by them), and he is a solid choice as a reserve. He is batting .280 this year with 10 home runs, 43 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Backup Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros
Where is this Miguel Tejada coming from? On the year, the 35-year-old veteran is batting .342 with six home runs and an NL shortstop-leading 37 RBI. His defense is down, but his bat has all but made up for it this year.
Backup Third Baseman: Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
It would be an understatement to say Zimmerman is the bright spot in a rather dark season for the Nats. Zimmerman has hit 12 home runs this year and leads all third basemen with 42 RBI. He will easily be the lone All-Star representative for Washington.
Backup Outfielder: Nate McClouth, Atlanta Braves
While he is not getting much love from the fan vote, McClouth is putting together an outstanding year. For some reason, the Pirates did not want his 10 home runs, 36 RBI, nine stolen bases, and Gold Glove defense. The All-Star roster should suit him just fine this year.
Backup Outfielder: Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies
Say what you will about Coors Field—Hawpe is having a fantastic year and deserves to play in the All-Star Game. At .343, Hawpe leads the National League in batting and also has nine home runs and 47 RBI to go with it. His 23 doubles also lead the National League.
Backup Outfielder: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Somewhat of a sleeper pick here, but I love Kemp’s game and believe that he is an All-Star this year. He has put his whole repertoire in front of the national spotlight, and the results have been eight home runs, 37 RBI, 16 stolen bases and a .316 batting average. Kemp ranks first or second in all of those categories for center fielders.
Best of the Rest: Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
Apologies to Adrian Gonzalez, but I give the nod to Howard in this case. Maybe it’s that he got hot too early in the voting, or that he plays on the West Coast, but I like Howard’s game more and think he deserves this spot. Howard has 19 home runs and 51 RBI on the year, so this selection isn’t terribly biased.
Best of the Rest: Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates
Every team must be represented in the All Star Game, and since Nate McClouth no longer sports the black and gold, Sanchez gets in as the lone representative. On the year, Sanchez is hitting his usual .314 with an on-base percentage of .355 and 36 runs scored.
Best of the Rest: Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles Dodgers
While Hudson has cooled off somewhat, his stat line this year has been very solid and earned him a spot on the roster. His .310 batting average to go along with a .388 on-base percentage has kept the Dodgers' offense rolling without Manny Ramirez. He also sports a .987 fielding percentage, good for third in the NL.
Best of the Rest: Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs
I have become a huge fan of the North Sider southpaw, and he is deserving of an All-Star spot this year. At 7-4, he has led one of the best rotations in baseball with a 2.94 ERA and just 20 walks in 85.2 innings.
Best of the Rest: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Although he has been overshadowed by Cain’s dominating stuff this year, Lincecum has done more than hold his own with a 6-2 record and 112 strikeouts in 96 innings to lead the National League.
Best of the Rest: Jason Marquis, Colorado Rockies
Pitching in Colorado is never easy, but Marquis has stepped up to the challenge and done an excellent job. While his numbers are better away from Coors Field, he still has eight wins on the year with an ERA under four.
Best of the Rest: Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins
Johnson might be one of the best pitchers that no one talks about, sporting a 6-1 record with an impressive 2.76 ERA. The Marlins are 11-3 when Johnson takes the hill, and the tall right-hander owns a 2.02 ERA at home.
Best of the Rest:Jonathon Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers
Broxton has been crazy good this year with a 6-0 record to go along with 16 saves. The flamethrower has struck out 53 batters in 33 innings, meaning that over half of his outs recorded came by strikeouts.
Fan Vote-In: Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
Upton, May’s Player of the Month, has been very good this year on an average D-Backs squad. The 21-year old is batting .308 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI’s and has scored 40 times on the year. He also has four triples and an on-base percentage close to .400 (.391).