Figuring out my NL All-Star ballot
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Major League Baseball is getting ready to unveil its All- Star rosters this weekend, so I figured it was time to fill out a ballot of my own.
Over a much-needed break from the Sports Network, I kind of went through my selections recently. The American League was fairly straightforward, but if you take a look at the National League, it's kind of tough.
For one, you have perhaps the worst position in the entire game to choose from at third base, while first base is perhaps the deepest of any spot on either roster, even with St. Louis' Albert Pujols sidelined for the game.
Anyway, let's take a look at those who I think are the deserving All-Stars in the National League. For a look at my AL picks from earlier in the week bang this link: http://bit.ly/mmcirT.
1B - PRINCE FIELDER, MILWAUKEE: You can go a number of different ways here. Of course, Pujols is going to win the fan vote. Cincinnati's Joey Votto is the league's reigning MVP, Ryan Howard is Ryan Howard and an MVP threat every season, and there's Fielder, who is batting over .300 and hit 21 home runs to go along with a league-leading 69 RBI, just 14 more than he had all of last season. Fielder is of course in a contract year, and who knows how much motivation there is from that, but for these purposes he's the guy who should start this game.
Roy Halladay is tied for the league lead with 10 wins while pitching to a 2.40 ERA.
2B - BRANDON PHILLIPS, CINCINNATI: As is the case with second base in the AL, the pickings here are kind of slim in the NL at this position, especially with Philadelphia's Chase Utley missing so much time with a bad knee. Phillips and Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks are having similar offensive seasons, but Phillips is the better player. He gets the start.
SS - JOSE REYES, NY METS: Like Fielder, Reyes is in a contract season. And like Fielder, Reyes is in the midst of his best season and one of the great all-time seasons ever by a Met. Reyes has simply been the best player in baseball this season. He is electric. Every one of his at-bats is a must- watch. He already has 15 triples, becoming the quickest player to reach that many since 1920, not to mention he also leads the league in average (.352) runs (65), hits (121), doubles (22) and has stolen 30 bases. Mets' owner Fred Wilpon said at the start of the year that Reyes wasn't worth Carl Crawford money. He was right. He's worth a lot more and isn't going anywhere at the trade deadline.
3B - PLACIDO POLANCO, PHILADELPHIA: As bad as second base is, there might not be a weaker position this season than third base in the NL. The Mets' David Wright is out with a stress fracture in his back, Washington's Ryan Zimmerman has missed time and San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval has been sidelined because of an injury. So that leaves Polanco, who started the season red-hot but has since cooled off. Still, he's hitting 288 with 33 runs scored and he's the best of an extremely weak bunch.
OF - MATT KEMP, LOS ANGELES: Ahem, I would just like to point out that I picked Kemp to be the NL MVP at the start of the season. So far he hasn't disappointed, as he is second in hitting at .331 with a league-high 22 home runs and 63 RBI, six off of Fielder's pace. Though the Dodgers are a mess, meaning barring something amazing happening they are not going to be competing for a playoff spot, so that all but ends his chances at an MVP run. You might start hearing Triple Crown talk with him in about a month or so from now, however.
OF - JUSTIN UPTON, ARIZONA: You can go with St. Louis' Lance Berkman here, but the Diamondbacks are as surprising a story in the NL as Cleveland is in the AL. Plus, it's not as if Upton isn't deserving anyway. Since May 29, he is hitting .412 (47-for-114) with an on-base percentage nearing .500. Upton is also tied for fifth in the NL with 21 doubles to go along with 68 total bases.
OF - RYAN BRAUN, MILWAUKEE: The Brewers made their decision to keep Braun rather than Fielder when they locked him up through the 2020 season last year. Braun is just one of the best hitters year-in and year-out, and this year is no different. The slugger is in the midst of a 20-game hitting streak and is third in the league with a .321 average. He has also belted 16 home runs to go along with 60 RBI, 57 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. There's not much he can't do offensively. Defensively is a different story, but even there he is showing improvement.
DH - RYAN HOWARD, PHILADELPHIA: If Howard won the fan vote I doubt anyone would blink an eye, but he won't. In fact, he probably won't even finish in the top three in voting and is not even a lock to be chosen as a reserve on Sunday. Thanks to there now being a DH in the game, though, Howard's chances of being selected go up dramatically. I mean, could you think of a better DH option in the NL than the big man? How he is so productive with the slop in the Phillies' lineup around him amazes me, but there he is again among the league leaders with 64 RBI.
C - BRIAN MCCANN, ATLANTA: I really wanted to get Arizona's Miguel Montero in here, but McCann is just having a terrific season and if I had to choose a D'Back it was going to be Upton. In addition to backstopping one of the best rotations in baseball, McCann has been a force at the plate, where he is hitting .314 with 14 home runs and 47 RBI.
SP - ROY HALLADAY, PHILADELPHIA: A lot of people are getting caught up in Cliff Lee's tremendous run of late and rightfully so, but let's not forget what Halladay has done. The NL's reigning Cy Young Award winner is tied for the league lead with 10 wins while pitching to a 2.40 ERA. And oh by the way, his five complete games are also tops in the NL. Some people will argue Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens for the start, but you tell me if there is a game on the line tomorrow, who do you want starting, Halladay or Jurrjens? Thanks. I thought so.