Monday, July 7, 2008

All Star Game Thoughts, Part 2

Yesterday I went over who is starting for the American League as well as who should be starting. Today I will do the same for the National League. Let's get right to it.

(All Stats as of July 6th.)

Catcher: Geovany Soto, Cubs. .289/15/52. I think the difference between Soto and Brian McCann (Braves - .293/15/48) is small enough that the fact that Soto's team is in 1st place should give him the nod. Pretty crappy year for catchers across the majors.

1st Base: Lance Berkman, Astros. .349/22/70/74 R/.437 OBP. Berkman is having a phenomenal year and is the clear choice here despite a strong class of NL 1st baseman.

2nd Base: Chase Utley, Phillies. .294/25/68. Utley is having a typically superb year and deserves to start, but it's a lot closer than I would have imagined due to the excellent play of Dan Uggla (Marlins - .289/23/58).

3rd Base: Chipper Jones, Braves. .388/18/50/.485 OBP. As much as I hate Larry, he's a hell of a baseball player having a hell of a year. No argument here.

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. .303/21/43/21 SB. Ramirez is also the clear choice in a down year for shortstops. Still no complaints so far with the fans choices, but I may have spoken too soon...

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers, (.284/21/59). Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, (.283/15/40). Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs, (.287/7/35). Ah, here we go. Now I have some complaints. Braun is fine, he's having a good year when most NL outfielders aren't. Soriano shouldn't be starting, but I don't have a problem with him being on the team. Fukudome is a different matter. His numbers are above average, sure. But starting an All Star game? You've got to be kidding. He shouldn't even be on the team. So who else should be starting? Well, two guys who are eligible for the final spot, Carlos Lee (Astros - .292/20/70) and Pat Burrell (Phillies - .278/22/54/.410 OBP). The fact that one of these guys isn't going to make the team is ridiculous when you've got guys like Fukudome and Ryan Ludwick occupying spots. And yes, I understand that the suggested starting outfield of Carlos Lee, Ryan Braun and Pat Burrell might be the worst defensive outfield of all time, but so what? It's a fucking all star game.

As for the designated hitter, just put Pujols there and let Adrian Gonzalez be the first sub at 1st base.

All right, I've said my peace. As usual, I'm right. But hey, that's why they pay me the big bucks.


Zwill said...

Why don't you take a position that doesn't include "Phillie X got robbed!?" Yes, Utley, Larry and Hanley are clearly the top players at their positions. They're rightful starters. No news there. And Soto/McCann and Berkman/Pujols are both close races and everyone made the team. The fans' choices in the OF are suspect but:
A) Japanese players are always voted onto the team, just as Yao is always voted into the NBA ASG, and
B) Soriano isn't really deserving as he has only played 51 games and has a .332 OBP in those games, but
C) Soriano is injured and won't be making an appearance so someone will replace him on the team, most likely Pat Burrell.

McLouth, Ludwick and Holliday are deserving. Carlos Lee is too but with his .341 OBP playing half his games in that park, I'm glad he's the guy that got squeezed. It also bothers me that CFs get screwed every year. The value of Rowand or Beltran on the defensive end is always undervalued and that results in power-hitting corner outfielders getting spots over the far more complete center fielders.

The real travesties on the NL roster are at SS and the pitching staff. Clearly, Guzman and Tejada over Reyes is horrendous. The Nats should be sending Jon Rauch, a closer who actually is deserving with his sub-1.00 WHIP and his nearly 7-to-1 K-to-BB ratio. (I won't say such nice things when he is traded to the Yankees later this month.)

Elsewhere on the pitching staff, where is Cole Hamels? I realize that his ERA is something like tenth-best among NL starters but does anyone understand park effects? He has a 0.99 WHIP and leads the league in innings pitched despite throwing half the time in the pitching hell that is CBP. Aaron Cook made the team despite his 3.66 ERA because he pitches at Coors so clearly there is some understanding in this case, at least when the player in question is managed by the guy who picks the pitchers. Hurdle was smart enough to pick only four relievers ... but then he went and picked Brian Wilson, who has been extremely hittable despite his frequent save opportunities. Rauch or Takashi Saito deserve the nod over him. Wilson is the immediate front-runner in the "Most Likely to Allow GW HR" odds.

Lionel McClure said...

I'm not sure I follow your first sentence here. The only Phillie I mentioned is Burrell, and most people who follow baseball agree he deserves to be on the team.