Here we will try to pick the 34 best players to fill out each league’s All-Star Roster. First up is the National League.
Let’s start with the position players. Our goal here is to select 20 or so players to fill out the NL roster as well as possible.
Catcher – Considered: Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz, Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, AJ Ellis.
Starter: Carlos Ruiz (1) is having a stellar year on an otherwise disappointing Phillies team.
Backups: Posey (2) and Y. Molina (3). This is a tough decision, but I’m going with Posey and Molina here. Three catchers is a must since it will be hot in KC.
First Base – Considered: Bryan LaHair, Paul Goldschmidt, Allen Craig, Joey Votto
Starter: Votto (4) gets the nod here easily. The corner spots are really weak in the National League this year outside of Votto and Wright.
Backups: Goldschmidt (5)
Second Base – Considered: Daniel Murphy, Dan Uggla, Omar Infante, Brandon Phillips, Jose Altuve, Aaron Hill.
Starter: Aaron Hill (6) has really turned it around with Arizona. His .883 OPS is second in the majors to only Robinson Cano.
Backups: Altuve (7) and Infante (8)
Third Base – Considered: Wright, Freese, Sandoval, Headley
Starter: David Wright (9) gets the start easily here. Just like Votto at 1B, this is a no-brainer.
Backup: Freese (10)
Shortstop – Considered: Ian Desmond, Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal, Jed Lowrie, Troy Tulowitzki, Starlin Castro.
Starter: Troy Tulowitzki (11) is the choice, but he is hurt, so we will give the honor to Starlin Castro (12) instead.
Backup: Ian Desmond (12)
Outfield – Considered: Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Jason Kubel, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Rafael Soriano, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Hunter Pence, Giancarlo Stanton, Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper.
Starters: Matt Kemp (13) earns a spot, but gives it up for injury reasons. Melky Cabrera (14), Ryan Braun (15) and Andrew McCutchen (16) will start. Carlos Beltran (17) will be the NL DH to start.
Backups: Martin Prado (18), Carlos Gonzalez (19), Michael Bourn (20), Matt Holliday (21) and Giancarlo Stanton (22) round out the NL Bench.
That brings us to 22 players, with two being replaced due to injury. So we have 14 pitcher slots left to fill.
Starting Pitchers – Considered: Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, RA Dickey, Johan Santana, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Johnny Cueto, James McDonald, AJ Burnett, Kyle Lohse, Lance Lynn, Zack Grienke, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Wade Miley, Cole Hamels.
Starting Pitcher: RA Dickey (23). Dickey has been crazy hot over the past two months. He is 12-1 with 116 K’s and a .885 WHIP. 14 QS in 16 Starts, he has earned the nod here.
Also pitching: Zack Grienke (24), Gio Gonzalez (25), Stephen Strasburg (26), Matt Cain (27), Madison Bumgarner (28), Clayton Kershaw (29), Cole Hamels (30), Johnny Cueto (31), Brandon Beachy (32-Inj).
This was increidbly hard decision as McDonald, Miley, Vogelsong, Hanson, Lohse, Lynn probably all have legitamate beefs at being left off. The AL will have the hitters, but the NL will have the pitching.
That leaves just five slots for relief pitchers and only SD does not have a representative. That’s good as Huston Street is a solid pick here for the Padres.
Relief Pitchers – Considered: Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard, Craig Kimbrel, Jon Papelbon, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Arredondo, Sean Marshall, Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Jason Motte, Brett Myers, Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Kenley Jansen, David Hernandez, Rafael Betancourt, Huston Street, Andrew Cashner.
On the team: Huston Street (33), Craig Kimbrel (34), Tyler Clippard (35), Aroldis Chapman (36) and Kenley Jansen (37).
Lots of good options here too. I could debate many of these guys on or off the team. Romo, Casilla, Hernandez, Motte, Myers, Betancourt, Stammen, Arredondo all would get my vote on a bigger roster.
Starting Lineup for the National League:
Dickey-P (first out of the pen would be Grienke)