If the MLB All-Star game took place tomorrow, who would you want to see? Who would deserve to make the starting lineup? Here is my opinion, feel free to share yours.
C: Brian McCann (ATL): McCann continues to be the best hitting-catcher in the National League. At some point the Braves are going to have to consider moving him to another position in order to keep him on the field for many years to come. Batting .318 with 10 HRs and 33 RBI, McCann certainly deserves to start behind the plate for the NL.
1B: Lance Berkman (HOU): .385 AVG, 17 HRs, and 47 RBI as of June 1, really? Berkman continues to chase the Triple Crown in what has been a flat-out amazing start to the season. This switch-hitting stud is protected in the Astros' lineup by slugger Carlos Lee, and has certainly been taking advantage of seeing good pitches.
2B: Chase Utley (PHI): Mr. Utley is putting up numbers you expect to see out of your 1B or OF positions! There really is no comparison at 2B to the type of season Chase is currently having. Batting .312 with an eye-popping 20 HRs and 50 RBI, Chase is redefining the 2B position.
3B: Chipper Jones (ATL): Any one of you remember watching someone hit .400? No? Me neither. That is the type of history Chipper is chasing this year. Even after a little bit of a slump Chipper is still batting at a .405 clip for the season. With Teixeira finally heating up, Chipper should actually start seeing quality pitches. If this is the case, and he can stay healthy, this could be an exciting second half for Braves fans.
SS: Jose Reyes (NYM): The young SS debate rages, but I will take Reyes on my team every day of the week. The prototypical leadoff hitter is like a ball of fire and energy, who seems to do whatever he can to lift the spirits of his team. Jose started the season trying to be someone he's not, sitting quietly in the dugout and playing "emotionless baseball". This idea turned out to be a very bad one, as Jose started the season in a slump that (not surprisingly) ended when he went back to his fiery self.
OF: Nate McClouth (PIT): After beating Chris Duffy out for the starting CF spot in Spring Training, Nate McClouth has turned out to be the bright spot for a disappointing Pittsburg Pirates team. .309 AVG, 13 HRs, 42 RBI are certainly the type of numbers that would earn anyone a spot on an All-Star team, but doing it for the lifeless Pirates is an even more impressive feat.
OF: Alfonso Soriano (CHC): Soriano has changed positions more than any "superstar" in recent memory. Finally settling in LF, Soriano's bat has recently started heating up. His overall numbers look good (.287/13/35) but he was scolding hot during the month of May. Alfonso may be a bit of a liability in the field, but his bat more than makes up for his fielding miscues.
OF: Jay Bruce (CIN): Ok, so I am a homer, but should we penalize Jay for the Reds unexplainable delay in bringing this kid to the majors? All he has done in his first week as a major leaguer is hit .590 while homering in three straight games.
Viewed as a "can't-miss" prospect, Jay is showing the world why Reds fans everywhere were so excited to see him finally get a chance to play with the big boys.
DH: Albert Pujols (STL): What's an All-Star game without Prince Albert? Oh wait, didn't he sit on the bench and watch them lose recently? Ok, well that can't possibly happen this season!
With all of the media talking about Chipper Jones, Lance Berkman, and Chase Utley's start to the 2008 season, somehow Albert's .363/14/37 production has been overlooked. One of the top five offensive players in the game today, Albert is a perfect fit for the DH slot. Just give him a stick and let him come swat it every other inning...sounds like a winning philosophy!
P: Edinson Volquez (CIN): After a dominating start to the season, I see no way to leave this kid off my list of pitchers for the NL team. A blistering fastball followed by what is becoming one of the best change-ups in the game has made Mr. Volquez a must-see for baseball fans everywhere.
P: Brandon Webb (ARZ): Doesn't this get boring? Brandon's not flashy, he's not vocal, he doesn't get the 10+ strikeout games, doesn't throw the ball 100 MPH. What he does do, however, is win baseball games. Throwing what is easily the best sinker in the majors, Brandon continues to mystify hitters and put up a very solid ERA and pick up victories.
P: Johan Santana (NYM): Ok, so maybe Johan hasn't had the year everyone expected out of him (yet), but what is an All-Star game without this lefty? Johan has shown flashes of the brilliance we have come to expect out of him, but has yet to 'put it all together'. He will need to channel his old self if the Mets expect to see the playoffs in 2008...but for now, I want him on my All-Star team.
P: Brad Lidge (PHI): Brad Lidge is making people quickly forget about the mess he became his last couple of years in Houston. Yet to blow a save in '08, Lidge is 14 for 14 with an ERA below one, and 30 punchouts. He has rediscovered the release point on his slider and is showing everyone now that he is still one of the most dominant closers around.
So what do you think? I will post my AL selections tomorrow but until then, let me know what you think of my NL squad.