2015 MLB All Star Game: Evaluations on the NL Starters
The National League All-Star voting process was far less deplorable with bias than the American League, but it still has it’s share of disappointments.
Meet your National League starters:
First Baseman – Paul Goldschmidt (ARI): The Diamondbacks may be in third place in the NL West, but Paul Goldschmidt may find himself first in the MVP voting. The now third time All-Star has scorched 20 home runs on the year while leading the National League in batting average (.348). One could say this is the most feared hitter in the major leagues, as he currently leads the league in walks with 66. Many may have overlooked the elite hitter this year, but he seems to be on a mission to deliver his best performance yet.
Second Baseman – Dee Gordon (MIA): Cut and dry, Gordon has wheels. The second time All-Star has proven yet again the difficulty that comes with subduing his successful delivery of getting on base. Gordon ranks second among MLB players in stolen bases with 29. He is also first in hits with 116 in just 79 games played. The trade from a NL contending Dodgers may have cost the star a run in the playoffs as the Marlins remain fourth in the NL East, but his career has set off in Miami to accomplish unbelievable feats. At tenth in the MLB for Defensive WAR, Gordon displays the versatility that validates why he was elected to the All-Star game yet again.
Third Baseman – Todd Frazier (CIN): While I do not dismiss this election, I did not see eye to eye with the voters. Frazier has been surreal this year and has thrived into a highly respected baseball player that can deliver with power in a flash. It’s evident that he has produced for the Reds this year, batting .285 with 25 home runs and 54 RBI. His defensive play wasn’t quite as impressive, accumulating a 0.2 defensive WAR on the season.
Shortstop –Jhonny Peralta (STL): The National League’s shortstop cast isn’t quite as sublime as the American League’s impressive cast, but Jhonny Peralta is one shortstop that’s holding up and playing well. The now three time All-Star has redeemed himself from a disappointing 2014 performance in his first year as a Cardinal, hitting .297 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI. Peralta ranks second among all shortstops in home runs, third in RBI and fourth in average. He has been a notable contributor for the Major League best St. Louis Cardinals and is on pace for his best statistical year yet.
Outfielder – Bryce Harper (WAS): There is not a more suitable candidate in the league to win the MVP award than Bryce Harper. Now his third trip to the All-Star game, Harper is tied for second in home runs among MLB players with 25, second in average (.344), fourth in RBI with 60, and is the league-leader in slugging percentage and OBP. There simply has not been anyone in MLB more electrifying than Harper, who has vastly improved from his previous three satisfactory, yet not exceptional seasons. Harper has elevated to greater heights that don’t simply warrant an MVP election, but a historical year for the ages.
Outfielder – Giancarlo Stanton (MIA): While the three time All-Star won’t be participating in this game, nor any game for the next 3+ weeks, Stanton has been clobbering the baseball thus far, leading the league with 27 home runs. Ranked second among all MLB players in RBI (67), Stanton has established himself as the best active power hitter in the Majors. Despite experiencing a serious facial injury last year in September, Stanton recovered back into his elite form, smashing the baseball to unbelievable lengths. Stanton is a selection you can’t go wrong with in representing the National League outfield.
Outfielder – Matt Holliday (STL): Just because he is a player with a previous history of accolades and is on the best team in the league does not mean he is the best at his position this year, nor should receive an All-Star selection. Holliday is one to fit that assertion, as the leftfielder has missed 29 of the Cardinals’ 81 games this season. While hitting a respectable .303, he has only managed to compile a mediocre three home runs on the year. Holliday is a six time All-Star that has a bevy of accomplishments worthy to honor as a possible future Cooperstown inductee. However this season does not constitute a starting role in the All-Star game. His divisional rival Andrew McCutchen is far more suitable for the honor than Holliday, knocking in 51 runs and having hit 10 home runs. McCutchen has actually been present during his team’s season, as the Pirates are the favorite to win the Wild Card, which is worth noting for his reason to start.
Catcher – Buster Posey (SF): Posey is the right choice for representing the National League at catcher, as the three time All-Star is establishing himself not just as an elite catcher, but an elite hitter. Posting a .304 average on the year, Posey is tied for seventh in RBI with 57, while leading all catchers in average, RBI, home runs, and hits. More importantly, Posey has contributed more to his team’s success than any other catcher in MLB, ranking tenth in the league in WAR (4.1). There simply was not a better choice at catcher than Posey, as he is on pace for yet another spectacular year.