The fans and the players voted, defending National League champion manager Clint Hurdle selected the remainder of the players, and the National League All Star team has been announced. The Cubs, with the NL's best record, have the most all stars with seven.
The starters are Geovany Soto (Cubs, C), Lance Berkman (Astros, 1B), Chase Utley (Phillies, 2B), Chipper Jones (Braves, 3B), Hanley Ramirez (Marlins, SS), Ryan Braun (Brewers, OF), Alfonso Soriano (Cubs, OF), and Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs, OF).
Soto, Fukudome, Braun, and Ramirez will be making their first all star appearances.
The starting pitchers that were selected to the team are: Aaron Cook (Rockies), Tim Lincecum (Giants), Ben Sheets (Brewers), Ryan Dempster (Cubs), Dan Haren(Diamondbacks), Edinson Volquez (Reds), Brandon Webb (Diamondbacks), and Carlos Zambrano (Cubs).
Relief pitchers on the NL team are: Brad Lidge (Phillies), Billy Wagner (Mets), Kerry Wood (Cubs), and Brian Wilson (Giants).
The reserve position players for the NL will be Russell Martin (C, Dodgers), Brian McCann (C, Braves), Adrian Gonzalez (1B, Padres), Albert Pujols (1B, Cardinals), Dan Uggla (2B, Marlins), Aramis Ramirez (3B, Cubs), Miguel Tejada (SS, Astros), Cristian Guzman (SS, Nationals), Nate McLouth (OF, Pirates), Ryan Ludwick (OF, Cardinals), and Matt Holliday (OF, Rockies).
The National League will need to select one of their all stars to start as designated hitter because the game is being played in an American League ballpark. I think Albert Pujols should, and most likely will, be that guy.
While Fukudome and Soriano are having good years with the high powered offense of the first place Cubs, I don't think either of them deserve to start. It could be argued that neither deserve to be on the team at all.
I think Nate McClouth and Ryan Ludwick are more deserving of a start. McClouth has hit eight more home runs, driven in 18 more runs, and scored three more runs than Fukudome.
Soriano is currently on the disabled list and has already made a couple of trips to the DL this year. Ludwick has better numbers than him across the board. Pat Burrell and Carlos Lee (see Final Vote) deserve to be on this team rather than the Cubs duo. However, the huge numbers of Cubs fans got their vote out for Soriano and Fukudome and they will start.
I don't think Brian Wilson, San Francisco's closer, deserves to be on the all star team. Wilson leads the NL in saves with 24, but has a 4.37 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Those are not exactly all star numbers. I think Washington's Jon Rauch (17 SV, 2.49 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) and the Dodgers' Takashi Saito (15 SV, 2.21 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) are more deserving, and would be more effective against the AL lineup.
Here are the players I think had all star worthy performances so far this season. Every year there are deserving players left off the team because of poor voting, poor manager decisions, or just because there wasn't room on the roster for them. Note: I did not include players involved in the "Final Vote."
SS Jose Reyes (Mets) .294, 63 R, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 29 SB. Reyes very easily could have been included on this squad rather than Tejada or Guzman. Since Guzman is tied for the league lead in hits, it would be tough to leave him off. Reyes has one less homer, and six less RBI than Tejada while scoring five more runs, stealing 23 more bases, and hitting .012 higher than Tejada.
P Cole Hamels (Phillies) 9-5, 2 SO, 3.22 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 110 Ks. Hamels has been electrifying for the Phillies, tossing two shutouts, and is fourth in the NL in strikeouts. However, it would be hard to argue for leaving off one of the other NL starting pitchers. It's just a tough luck year for Hamels.
You can vote on MLB.com for one of the following five players to take the final spot on the NL All Star team. All five of these guys deserve a spot on the team, but only one will get it. My vote would go to either David Wright or Pat Burrell.
Pat Burrell, OF, Phillies: .278, 47 R, 21 HR, 53 RBI, .996 OPS.
David Wright, 3B, Mets: .288, 55 R, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 9 SB.
Carlos Lee, OF, Astros: .293, 42 R, 19 HR, 66 RBI, .884 OPS.
Aaron Rowand, CF, Giants: .303, 40 R, 8 HR, 47 RBI.
Corey Hart, OF, Brewers: .294, 43 R, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 12 SB.
*Stats are as of July 5th
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