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NL All-Star Voting: Who Would Start vs. Who Should Start

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Some NL players will have legitimate gripes if they don’t get voted into the starting lineup.

NL All-Star Voting: Who Would Start vs. Who Should Start

Yesterday, we took a look at how fans did in regards to voting in the most worthy players to start in the MLB All Star Game for the American League.  They did an alright job.  Did National League fans do a better job?  Let's get right into it and found out.

Catcher: Who Would Start - Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves.  Who Should Start - Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves.

There really is no other choice for catcher in the National League besides McCann.  The burly Braves catcher is the only one hitting over .300 in the NL (with a minimum of 250 at bats) and is raking in the process. His 14 home runs and 46 RBIs are both tops for catchers.  There aren't many name brand catchers in the National League these days, but McCann is definitely the biggest and most productive name.

First Base: Who Would Start - Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals.  Who Should Start - Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers.

This is a moot point now since Pujols' wrist injury last month.  He won't start the game, so the runner-up will take his place.  At the moment, that person is Prince Fielder, but he should have gotten the starting nod from the get-go.  Pujols started the season slow, while Fielder came out of the gate red-hot and hasn't stopped.  He leads the league in OPS (1.033), extra-base hits (41), HR (21), and RBI (68).  It's a strong field, and certainly players like Joey Votto, Gaby Sanchez, and Michael Morse are all deserving.  But this is Fielder's year.

Second Base: Who Would Start - Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers.  Who Should Start - Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers.

Weeks was trailing to the other worthy second baseman in the NL, Brandon Phillips, but has surpassed him in the last week.  Weeks is having a very nice year for the Brewers, hitting .290 with 14 HR and 33 RBI.  He leads NL second basemen in OPS (.854) and extra-base hits (36).  You could make a case either way for Phillips or Weeks, but I'll let Rickie do his thing this year.  

Third Base: Who Would Start - Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies.  Who Should Start - Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs.

Third base is week in the NL, and it was made a lot weaker with Casey McGehee's sophomore slump and Pablo Sandoval's wrist injury earlier in the season.  If not for that setback, Sandoval would be a clear favorite to start this game, but he hasn't played enough games for me.  Polanco started the year beating up on pitching and hitting for great average, but that has since dipped to a still-respectable .289.  Ramirez is having just a slightly better season in my eye, though.  He leads NL third basemen in extra-base hits (29) and is hitting a solid .291 with an OPS of .790, 89 points higher than Polanco.  Ramirez isn't even in the top-5 in voting, so he has no realistic shot at starting, even though he is very worthy.

Shortstop: Who Would Start - Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies.  Who Should Start - Jose Reyes, New York Mets.  

Any other season, I would have not qualms with Troy Tulowitzki starting.  He is having a fine year for the Rockies, hitting .272 with 14 HR and 50 RBI.  That's fine, but he isn't even the second-best shortstop in the NL offensively this season.  Jose Reyes is doing unearthly things on the diamond this year.  He leads all shortstops in average (.349), hits (117), 2B (21), 3B (15), stolen bases (29), extra-base hits (39) and OPS (.922).  If New York fans can vote Derek Jeter into the starting lineup, they should be able to do the same for Reyes.  He's having too good a year not to start in this game.  

Outfield: Who Would Start - Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers, Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals.  Who Should Start - Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman.

Just like in the American League, the fans got two out of three right.  In this case, they left out the league's best outfielder.  Matt Kemp is having an MVP-caliber season for the woeful and bankrupt Dodgers.  He leads the NL in HR with 22, is second in RBI with 63, has stolen 21 bases, and has an NL-leading OPS of 1.071.  Matt Holliday is another guy that is having a good year, but has missed too many games.  I want guys that have done it all season long, not for just a little bit, and Kemp has certainly played like an All Star this year.  Plus, the Dodgers could use some good publicity.  Throw them a bone!

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