Tuesday, July 3, 2018

My 2018 All-Star Ballot: NL Style

Last week, I posted my All-Star ballot for the AL as my 9-card post.  I'm primarily an NL fan, though, so I can't leave them out.  As with my AL ballot, I tried to be as objective as possible.  No Anthony Rizzo here; he just started out the year in too big of a slump to be a legitimate candidate this year.  If I wanted to be a little less fair-minded, I could probably make a case for an all Cubs outfield, but I didn't and I won't.  Here are my actual votes.

NL Catcher: J.R. Realmuto, Marlins

Part of me really wants to put in Willson Contreras, but Realmuto deserves this 100%.  He's been good at the plate and behind the plate.

NL 1st Base: Freddie Freeman, Braves

This one is easy.  Freeman is batting .318 with 15 HR.  He's looking like an MVP candidate this year.

NL 2nd Base: Javier Baez, Cubs

This is a close one.  I almost had Scooter Gennett here, and Ozzie Albies looks good, too.  But Javy is an RBI machine and his glove is magical.  He's also a better baserunner than the other two, so I'll fit my Cub in here.

NL 3rd Base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies

He hits.  He fields.  He's a great 3rd baseman.  Arenado and Kris Bryant will be battling out this position for years to come.

NL Shortstop: Brandon Crawford, Giants
 I've always known Crawford for having a pretty slick glove.  This year he is hitting well, too.  I think he's playing the best shortstop in the National League right now.

NL Outfield: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

The NL outfield is insane.  I don't think that I would ever have predicted the three starters that I have going in here.  Kemp is having a career renaissance (or at least a late-career high point) this year.  He's batting above .300 and showing a little pop with 13 HR.

NL Outfield: Nick Markakis, Braves

Markakis the most surprising of the three names here.  Like Kemp, he's having a great season in a career that looked like it had peaked long ago.  Now he's batting .326 and has driven in 50 runs.

NL Outfield: Albert Almora, Cubs

There are a number of guys with very similar numbers who could all fit in this spot--right around  .300 and double digit homers.  I originally went with Odubel Herrera on this one, but I settled on Almora, who may be better in the field.  He has less power than the other guys I considered, but a significantly higher average.  The clincher was Almora's OPS+, which is just slightly higher than Herrera.

So there you have it: my 2018 All-Star Ballot.  Going by the strength of the starters, I think that the AL has the edge.  We'll have to see which pitchers are chosen.  Maybe it will help balance the teams a bit.  Who would you have in the NL starting lineup?

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