With the unveiling of the MLB All-Star Game starters for the July 14 Midsummer Classic at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the fan vote always provides a little controversy. Take a look below at the National League starters and why they were or were not the best choice for the spot:
Note: Statistics as of July 6
C: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (Got it right)
There’s little doubt that Posey is the best all-around catcher in baseball, and the Giants providing him some playing time at first base has only helped. Among all qualifying NL catchers, he ranks first in home runs, RBIs, average and OPS. He’s a solid defender, who also helps manage games for his pitchers well.
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (Got it right)
There was really no challenge to Goldschmidt’s starting selection at first base, as he’s been arguably one of the league’s most complete players. At the plate, he's merely batting .348 with 20 home runs, 67 RBIs, and an astonishing OPS of 1.087, putting him well ahead of his peers. The Diamondbacks’ star, in essence, does it all.
2B: Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins (Got it right)
Every team needs a good leadoff hitter who can get on base and advance, and Gordon will bring this ability to the NL team. He leads his fellow second-sackers in both average (.339) and stolen bases (29), making him the NL team's best option to get things started. When he gets on base (which is often), he always a threat to advance.
SS: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals (Got it wrong)
By no means is Peralta not worthy to start, but Brandon Crawford arguably seems to edge him out. While Peralta may pass the eye test because of his higher batting average, Crawford deserves the nod a bit more, highlighted by a WAR of 4.0, compared to Peralta’s 2.6. In addition, Crawford also has hit one more home run, scored three more runs, and driven in seven more than Peralta. Crawford's also considered a better defender by a reasonable margin.
3B: Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds (Got it right)
Sure Nolan Arenado could be argued for the spot, but playing in front of his home crowd in Cincinnati should be enough of a tiebreaker if any is needed for Frazier. The hometown hero, Frazier, leads all third basemen with 25 home runs and a .937 OPS. There’s enough of a gap between both players where Frazier fits the starting spot comfortably, but Arenado is putting together his own impressive season, leading the majors with 68 RBIs.
OF: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals (Got it right)
If you have watched any amount of baseball this season, you don’t really need an explanation of why Harper is a starter. His ridiculous 1.185 OPS, 6.1 WAR, and 25 home runs make him the most obvious All-Star this year. At times, it seems like it is impossible to get him out. It actually may be.
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (Got it right)
Sadly Stanton won’t be able to play because of a broken hand, but he has been the majors' most powerful hitter with an MLB-best 27 home runs and 67 RBIs. If he had been available, the combination of Harper and Stanton would have made a lethal power-hitting duo. Regardless, Stanton is one of the best young players in the game, and it already seems like he’s been gone for so long.
OF: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals (Got it wrong)
While the injured Stanton really deserved his spot, Holliday has been out since June 8 and hadn’t done enough to make him worthy of a starting role. He had been hitting a solid .303 with .417 OBP, but he didn’t add much beyond that. A.J. Pollock, Joc Pederson, and Andrew McCutchen, each of whom was named as a reserve, all seem to be more viable options with more power and speed.