The Real National League All Stars
Over the next few weeks Major League Baseball will give the public updates on the voting for the All-Star teams.
Nothing upsets me more than the rosters that the fans, players, and coaches select. The closers with the most saves and the starting pitchers with the most wins populate the rosters, while deserving set-up men are left at home.
Here are my picks for the 34 man National League roster. (Every team in the NL will be represented). No matter what there will always be deserving candidates left off the roster, but these are my guys.
Starter: Brian McCann
McCann leads all NL catchers in wRC+ (133), and he comes into Wednesday with a .301/.372/.489 with 9 home runs. There is no doubt that McCann is the best offensive catcher in the National League, and deserves a place in the starting lineup.
Reserves: Miguel Montero and Chris Iannetta
Montero is the most obvious first reserve. He is third among NL catchers with a wRC of 128, and has an impressive line of .282/.362/.490 with 8 home runs. His ISO of .209 is the second best among NL catchers.
My last catcher spot was between Iannetta and Yadier Molina. Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game and he has put together a nice season going .306/.357/.437. However, Iannetta leads NL catchers in ISO, OBP and is tied with McCann in home runs. Furthermore, I like what Iannetta's performance behind the plate this season.
Starter: Joey Votto
Votto is second among NL First Basemen in wRC+ (168) and first in WAR (3.4), batting average (.332), stolen bases (6) and OBP (.458). He is also an above-average defender at the position.
Reserves: Prince Fielder, Gaby Sanchez, Albert Pujols
If there wasn't a DH spot in the lineup, I would have made Fielder the starter at first base. He has posted an impressive slash line of .300/.416/.617, and he leads all NL first basemen in home runs (19) and ISO (.317).
The last two spots were easy to decide. Sanchez's .311/.386/.504 line, 11 home runs and 144 wRC+ are too impressive to ignore, and Albert Pujols, despite his struggles, has produced 15 home runs and a .210 ISO.
Starter: Rickie Weeks
Weeks is at the top of the class among NL second basemen. He leads in home runs (12), runs scored, (48), wRC+ (137) and wOBA (.371). He has a line of .282/.355/.487 and 7 stolen bases for the season.
Reserves: Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinosa
There really isn't a standout among the rest of the NL second basemen. I chose Phillips and Espinosa because Phillips provides the best defense and Espinosa is the Washington Nationals' lone representative.
Daniel Murphy hasn't played enough games at the position, and Neil Walker would have been my last pick if the Nationals had another representative.
Starter: Ryan Roberts
Roberts continues to have the best overall season among National League third basemen. He leads in WAR (2.0), ISO (.210), home runs (10) and stolen bases (9). Additionally, he is an above average defender at the position.
Reserves: Chase Headley, Placido Polanco
This group is the least impressive field in the National League. Headley makes the squad because the Padres need a representative and he leads all NL third basemen in wRC+ (125). He may be the best defensive third baseman in baseball. Polanco leads in batting average, and provides above average defense.
Starter: Jose Reyes
Reyes is having a career year in 2011, hitting .346/.389/.525 with 3 home runs and 22 stolen bases through the first two and half months of the season. Furthermore, he leads all NL shortstops in wOBA (.402), wRC+ (157), WAR (4.0), and runs scored (49).
Reserves: Troy Tulowtizki, Stephen Drew
Tulowitzki and Drew represent the other top shortstops in the NL. They are second and third respectively, in wOBA, wRC+ and WAR. Starlin Castro could have made the roster as the Chicago Cubs' lone representative, but I found a more appropriate spot for the Cubs later in the list.
Starters: Matt Kemp, Lance Berkman, Ryan Braun
Kemp is having a fantastic season hitting 20 home runs, stealing 20 bases and posting a line of .332/.417/.636.
Berkman, the comeback player of the year, continues to amaze with 17 home runs and a line of .318/.435/.630.
Braun takes the last starting spot with a line of .306/.393/.548, 16 home runs and 16 stolen bases.
Reserves: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Hunter Pence
Adding the last three outfielders was one of the tougher decisions I made.
McCutchen has had one of the better overall seasons hitting .292/.393/.490 with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases.
Pence had to make the roster because he is the best player the Houston Astros have on the roster.
The last spot was between Bruce, Mike Stanton and Matt Holiday. Holliday played in the fewest amount of games, and I felt that Bruce could provide the same power as Stanton but with better defense.
Starter: Roy Halladay
Halladay is the best pitcher pitcher in baseball, and he should get the start for the NL.
Reserves: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jaime Garcia, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Tommy Hanson
There were a bunch of different pitchers who could have made this roster.
Hamels and Lee are second and third in xFIP, and Lee leads all starters in strikeouts. The San Francisco Giants needed a representative, and Lincecum has the best xFIP of the group.
I believe Hanson and Garcia are better pitchers than Jair Jurrgens and Kyle Loshe, and Kershaw deserves his spot over Marcum because of BABIP.
Relief Pitchers: Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel, Mike Adams, Sean Marshall
These roster spots are the most subjective. Venters is the best reliever in the National League, and Hanrahan has had the season of any closer in the NL. Kimbrel has the highest strikeout rate and Mike Adams is in the top five in xFIP. The Chicago Cubs needed a representative and Sean Marshall is also in the top five in xFIP.
Number of Representatives per team:
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