Major League Baseballâ€™s All-Star Game is July 10th and the rosters are set. Each year, comparing my All-Stars with the actual rosters is fun and interesting. No sense in wasting any time. Having not looked at the rosters yet, weâ€™ll begin with my National League All-Star team. After revealing my team, weâ€™ll scope out the real All-Star team, compare and contrast, Iâ€™ll defend my picks, and weâ€™ll do the same for the American League (which will be the topic of discussion next week). All stats used are as of games completed through June 30, 2012.
C â€“ Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia Phillies) .356, 11 HR, 43 RBI. Ruiz leads all NL catchers in hits, batting average, on base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage (SLG), and OPS (on base + slugging).
1B â€“ Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds) .350, 14 HR, 47 RBI. Vottoâ€™s batting average is fifty-seven points higher than anyone else at his position, in the NL. Statistically, heâ€™s first by a landslide in every category except HRs and RBIs, where heâ€™s second in both.
2B â€“ Aaron Hill (Arizona Diamondbacks) .300, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 7 SB. This was a four-man race. Hill wins out because, while other categories are close, his OBP, SLG, and OPS are all much higher than those of Brandon Phillips, Dan Uggla, and Jose Altuve.
3B â€“ David Wright (New York Mets) .355, 9 HR, 50 RBI, 8 SB. Wright may not have elite power, but he has everything else. Other third basemen are enjoying nice years, but Wrightâ€™s average, OBP, and SLG are astronomically ahead of his competition.
SS â€“ Ian Desmond (Washington Nationals) .276, 13 HR, 43 RBI, 8 SB. This is an extremely close two-man race between Desmond and Starlin Castro of the Cubs. Desmond gets the nod for two simple reasons. His overall numbers are slightly more impressive and his team is 17.0 games ahead of Castro and the Cubs, in the standings.
OF â€“ Carlos Beltran (St. Louis Cardinals) .310, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 7 SB.
OF â€“ Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado Rockies) .337, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 10 SB.
OF â€“ Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates) .346, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 14 SB. This group of three is at or near the top of the outfield crop for just about every statistical category. The NL is stacked with amazing outfielders, but the only three other five-tool OFs, who could be considered in the same tier as these guys are Matt Kemp, who is injured, Melky Cabrera, whose HR and RBI numbers arenâ€™t quite good enough, and Ryan Braun, who is a cheater. So there you go!
SP â€“ R.A. Dickey (New York Mets) 12-1, 2.15 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 116 K. As recent as a few months ago, if you were to ask me if R.A. Dickey would ever be the starting pitcher in an All-Star game, I would have been confident enough to tell you I would bet absolutely everything I had against itâ€¦Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m not a betting man. Dickeyâ€™s 12 is already a career high in wins and his WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) and ERA are somewhere around about half of what theyâ€™ve been for the majority of his career. Quite impressive for a man in his late 30â€™s.
C â€“ Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals) .312, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 7 SB.
C/DH â€“ Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants) .298, 10 HR, 41 RBI.
1B â€“ Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks) .292, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB.
2B â€“ Brandon Phillips (Cincinnati Reds) .287, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 4 SB.
MI â€“ Jose Altuve (Houston Astros) .308, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB.
3B â€“ Hanley Ramirez (Miami Marlins) .259, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 10 SB.
SS â€“ Starlin Castro (Chicago Cubs) .296, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 16 SB.
OF â€“ Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins) .282, 19 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB.
OF â€“ Melky Cabrera (San Francisco Giants) .354, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 10 SB.
OF â€“ Matt Holliday (St. Louis Cardinals) .307, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 3 SB.
OF â€“ Martin Prado (Atlanta Braves) .321, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 9 SB.
OF â€“ Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers) .308, 22 HR, 55 RBI, 13 SB.
SP â€“ Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals) 11-3, 3.01 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 112 K.
SP â€“ Cole Hamels (Philadelphia Phillies) 10-4, 3.08 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 111 K.
SP â€“ Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants) 10-4, 2.85 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 92 K.
SP â€“ Chris Capuano (Los Angeles Dodgers) 9-3, 2.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 89 K.
SP â€“ Zack Greinke (Milwaukee Brewers) 9-2, 2.82 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 102 K.
SP â€“ Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants) 9-3, 2.53 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 114 K.
SP â€“ Johnny Cueto (Cincinnati Reds) 9-4, 2.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 79 K.
SP â€“ Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) 9-3, 2.81 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 122 K.
SP â€“ James McDonald (Pittsburgh Pirates) 7-3, 2.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 86 K.
RP â€“ Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves) 23 SV, 1.50 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 50 K.
RP â€“ Joel Hanrahan (Pittsburgh Pirates) 20 SV, 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 35 K.
RP â€“ Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants) 21 SV, 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 28 K.
RP â€“ Tyler Clippard (Washington Nationals) 13 SV, 10 Holds, 1.83 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 39 K.
RP â€“ Huston Street (San Diego Padres) 12 SV, 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 28 K.
Between the two teams, 11 players were different. Some of it was due to fan voting, some of it was not. Here are the differences and why Plattnerâ€™s Picks went the way they did. Weâ€™ll do a quick breakdown of my team versus the real All-Star team and why my picks are the correct ones!
Aaron Hill vs. Dan Uggla: Hill is hitting .300, Uggla is hitting .232; enough said.
Hanley Ramirez vs. Pablo Sandoval: At .300, 6 HR, and 25 RBI, there are no less than eight 3B in the NL who are better than Sandoval. This is the downfall of fan voting.
Brandon Phillips vs. Rafael Furcal: Of all major categories, Furcal is only better in OBP and SB, and not by much in either category.
Matt Holliday vs. Matt Kemp: I only left Kemp off my team because of his injuries. In my book, heâ€™s the best OF and maybe even the best player in the National League.
Martin Prado vs. Jay Bruce: Bruce not making my team was a direct result of the â€śevery team gets an All-Starâ€ť rule. Look past the 12 HR and 23 RBI edge for Bruce and Prado is better almost everywhere else. He has twenty-five more hits, more SB, thirty-eight less strikeouts, and his average is sixty-four points better.
Paul Goldschmidt vs. Bryan LaHair: Goldschmidt has more runs, hits, doubles, RBI, SB, a better batting average, better OBP, SLG, and OPS. LaHair has two more HRs. You tell me??
Tyler Clippard vs. Aroldis Chapman: Clippard has the better ERA, Chapman the better WHIP. Clippard has 23 combined saves and holds to Chapmanâ€™s 15. Finally Clippard has 1 blown save to Chapmanâ€™s 4.
Chris Capuano vs. Clayton Kershaw: Besides W/L record, their numbers are eerily similar, so why not take the guy with the far better record? Capuano is that guy.
James McDonald vs. Lance Lynn: I admit itâ€™s hard to leave a 10-4 starting pitcher off your All-Star team, but I managed to do so with Lynn, thanks to his 3.62 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Compare those numbers to McDonaldâ€™s (2.44 and 0.98) and itâ€™s not even a contest.
Johnny Cueto vs. Wade Miley: Same record, but Cuetoâ€™s ERA is much lower than Mileyâ€™s, plus Cueto plays for the first place Reds.
Santiago Casilla vs. Jonathan Papelbon: Paps clearly won here on name recognition only. Casilla has more saves, lower ERA and WHIP, and plays for the better team.