Comparing Fan Vote To Who Deserves To Start in the MLB All-Star Game- National League
Since the process began in 2010, the selections by fans of both leagues’ starting lineups for the Midsummer Classic has often turned into popularity contests and which fans go online to vote for their players most often rather than those that actually deserve to start. This year is no different; even with the most recent tallies, there are definitely more than a few snubs in each league. We have already broken down the American League, which you can check out here, so let’s finish off with a closer look at the National League.
Catcher- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (.349, 7 HR, 16 RBI, .948 OPS)
SBNY Pick- Posey
A lot was made about the recent brawl between the Nationals’ Bryce Harper and Giants reliever Hunter Strickland and the star catcher’s role (or lack thereof) of not getting in the skirmish. No matter what side of the debate you’re on, you can’t deny that Posey is indispensable and easily the Giants’ best and most important hitter. His .349 average is good for third in the NL and his OPS is far and away the best of his position. Also, as MLB.com notes, Posey simply doesn’t strike out; he remarkably still has fewer strikeouts (17) than walks (25).
1st Base- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals (.365, 16 HR, 48 RBI, 1.100 OPS)
SBNY Pick- Zimmerman
Finally the fans are giving this guy some love! Zimmerman finally overtook the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo this week as the NL’s starting 1B, and leads by a miniscule 13,000 votes, which speaks volumes about how flawed this process can be because, in the absence of Freddie Freeman, Zim has been the best player at this position in the National League. People forget that before Bryce Harper, this was the guy the Washington Nationals built their franchise around to compete for a championship. As I alluded to in my fantasy baseball profile last month, the 32-year old is finally looking healthy again, and with Zimmerman still putting up video game-like numbers (1st in AVG, T-1st in HRs, 1st in SLG, 1ST OPS, 4th in RBI), both an MVP and a Triple Crown are doable.
2nd Base- Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals (.333, 10 HR, 41 RBI, .942 OPS)
SBNY Pick- Murphy
In what has so far been an overall down year for NL 2nd baseman as a whole, Murphy has been a consistent source of average, power, and bringing in runs in the heart of the order for the NL’s most potent offenses. And the fans see it as well; Murphy had the second-most votes of any National League player, only trailing his teammate, the aforementioned Bryce Harper.
3rd Base- Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (.273, 13 HR, 26 RBI, .934 OPS)
SBNY Pick- Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (.284, 14 HR, 39 RBI, .908 OPS)
This one is very tough to call, as both the reigning MVP in Bryant and another MVP candidate in Arenado are two of the brightest young stars the game has to offer. Both have gone through peaks and valleys this season in terms of slumps and breaking out of them. We give the slight edge to Arenado because of his contribution to his team’s surprising place atop the leaderboard in what has become a very tight NL West. Before his injury, the case could easily have been made for Justin Turner after his phenomenal start.
Shortstop- Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (.275, 7 HR, 24 RBI, .822 OPS)
SBNY Pick- Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds (.353, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 1.065 OPS)
If this were to hold, it would easily be one of the biggest ASG starter snubs in recent memory. Cozart, the 31-year old homegrown product drafted by the Reds in 2007, has been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises and breakout stories of 2017. The Cincinnati shortstop is in the top 3 in the National League in average, slugging (.626), and OPS. Oh, and did I mention he’s second in ALL of baseball with his 3.29 wins above replacement (WAR), trailing only one Mike Trout? Sabermetricians rejoice!
Outfield- Bryce Harper (Nationals), Charlie Blackmon (Rockies), Jason Heyward (Cubs)
SBNY Picks- Harper, Blackmon, Michael Conforto (New York Mets)
I think I speak for the rest of the SBNY team when I say that I don’t have any problems with the top 2 spots in Harper and Blackmon. They are both putting up historic numbers, especially Blackmon, who is on pace to become just the second player in MLB history (Darin Erstad, 2000) to record 100 RBIs as a leadoff hitter. I do, however, have a problem with Jason Heyward, who has put up nothing more than pedestrian numbers at best so far, as the third outfielder. The fact that the Mets’ Michael Conforto doesn’t crack the top 15 of the ballot boggles my mind (shame on you, Mets fans!). With a team that has dealt with so many struggles, injuries, and inner turmoil, Conforto has been the catalyst from pretty much day one for the Mets and their offense. Matt Kemp of the Braves has really elevated his game back to his 2011 MVP days as a Dodger, and to me is a close 4th.
But Mets and Conforto fans alike, do your part, WRITE IN CONFORTO!
The MLB All-Star Game will be held July 9th in Miami. Let’s hope all of these guys, starters or not (but preferably the former), get the recognition they deserve.