30 June 2011

National League All-Star Ballot 2011

As promised, here are the All-Star selections for the National League to round out Rational Pastime's ballot for the Midsummer Classic (see AL picks here).

Catcher: Brian McCann (Atlanta)
Honorable mention: Miguel Montero (Arizona)
The last couple of seasons, McCann has battled eye issues. Two Lasik surgeries later, the lefty slugger has bounced back in a big way. He is arguably amidst the best season of his career. To this point, he has 14 HR, .914 OPS and 2.2 Rally wins above replacement (rWAR) -- all of which are tops among National League catchers.

First Base: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee)
Honorable mention: Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
With Albert Pujols first looking human and now injured, there is an opening for someone else to start the All Star Game at 1B. Nobody has taken better advantage than Prince Fielder. The soon-to-be-free agent has pounded pitching this year to the tune of 21 HR, 1.031 OPS and a 3.2 rWAR.

Second Base: Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee)
Honorable mention: Danny Espinosa (Washington)
The gold standard, Chase Utley, has spent too much time on the DL this year to be deserving of a spot. With Dan Uggla mired in the worst season of his career, there is an opportunity for fresh blood at 2B. Having been snubbed the last few years, Weeks' 14 HR, .844 OPS and 2.7 rWAR are good enough to earn him the starting nod this year.

Third Base: Chase Headley (San Diego)

Honorable mention: Aramis Ramirez (Chicago)
In a continuing theme, the usual suspects, Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright, have each spent too much time on the DL to earn a spot here. Despite the lack of HR, Chase Headley barely edges out the competition here with his .394 OBP and 1.7 rWAR.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes (New York)
Honorable mention: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
After struggling through a couple of injury plagued seasons, the electric switch hitter has bounced back with a vengeance, posting career high numbers across the board. The impending free agent already has 15 triples to go along with his .918 OPS and 4.2 rWAR.

Outfield: Matt Kemp (Los Angeles)

Honorable mention: Justin Upton (Arizona)
At 26 years old, Matt Kemp is finally having the long-awaited monster season that Dodgers fans had been hoping for. He is the league leader in many offensive categories, including HR (22), SLG (.628) and OPS (1.043), topped off with a 5.2 rWAR.

Outfield: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh)
Honorable mention: Shane Victorino (Philadelphia)
The budding star has come into his own this season with 11 HR, an .847 OPS and a 4.6 rWAR. His strong offensive and defensive performance has put the Bucs in contention for their first winning season since 1992.

Outfield: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee)
Honorable mention: Lance Berkman (St. Louis)
The converted infielder is having another typical Ryan Braun season. Thus far, he has hit 16 HR with a .953 OPS and 3.9 rWAR. The biggest difference in his game this year is on the base path, where he has stolen successfully 19 times in 23 attempts.

Image credit: Wikipedia

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