On Tuesday, the announcement for who will be making the 2016 MLB All-Star Game will occur on ESPN. That reveal includes everyone – who the fans voted in, who the reserves will be, and who will be pitching.
For the National League, there’s a plethora of talent to go around at pretty much every position. Teams like the Cubs and Giants are dominating the league, but even the worst teams have a player or two doing well. Whoever gets selected for the NL will be a true talent having a deserving season. I’m not anticipating any head-scratching decisions on anyone’s part. The NL is deep this year.
So who makes it? I have a few predictions for what I think the team will end up being. It should be noted that this is not necessarily the starting lineup and roster I think should be representing the National League, but instead who I think the fans, players, and coaches will decide on.
Here are my predictions for the NL All-Star Team.
First Base: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Second Base: Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs
Third Base:Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
Shortstop: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Outfielder: Dexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs
Outfielder: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Outfielder: Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets
There were 5 updates to MLB All-Star voting throughout June. For the National League, there was never a change in the leaders. So why the change in my predictions? Well, a recent report revealed that Buster Posey, after weeks of just barely trailing Yadier Molina, overtook him by over 100,000 votes. I expect that to hold up, not just because Posey is a far more worthy starter, but because Giants fans tend to vote a lot in these ballots and I don’t think Molina will come back.
Other than that, I anticipate the other starters being the same as they have throughout the voting process. The entire infield is going to be Cubs. Bryant definitely deserves it, and Rizzo is possibly the best first baseman in the NL. Zobrist is having a good year, though second best for NL second basemen, and Russell shouldn’t be starting, but here we are.
The outfield isn’t bad, though there are more deserving starters. Fowler has come back down to earth but is still putting together an impressive season. Harper’s average is disappointing, and his power is down somewhat, but he’s perfect if you want to see someone take a walk in the game. And Cespedes is the Mets offense. He’s the whole thing. He deserves to start just for having to carry that burden for two months, but he’s also having himself a great season in the first year of his new contract.
First Base: Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Second Base: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals
Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Third Base: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
Shortstop: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Shortstop: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
Catcher: Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Outfield: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
Outfield: Sterling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
Outfield: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
Outfield: Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds
Outfield: Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia Phillies
Myers has done San Diego proud this year, even if their fanbase isn’t large enough to vote him into the lineup. He and Goldschmidt are fantastic reserves, and likely DH candidates for the starting 9. Murphy should be in that starting 9 too with his ridiculous season, but instead he’s on the bench.
Third base was a particularly deep position, and I think a guy like Arizona’s Jake Lamb gets snubbed in favor or Arenado and Carpenter, both having fantastic years. Corey Seager should be the obvious starting shortstop, but he’ll have to settle for reserve. I also think Story’s hot start to the season ends up getting him in ahead of someone like Brandon Crawford of San Francisco.
Yadier Molina not making it will be a real blessing to the game, as now 3 deserving catchers will get to be there. Posey starts, but Lucroy is having another All-Star year for Milwaukee too. And Wilson Ramos came out of nowhere to hit for a high average. With Molina out of the picture, he can get in.
Outfield was tougher. Adam Duvall and Odubell Herrera are their teams’ only representatives, pushing out someone like Christian Yelich of Miami. His teammate Marcell Ozuna, however, has been undeniable and simply has to be there. Meanwhile, in a year for the Pirates where Andrew McCutchen has struggled, Marte and Polanco have been fantastic.
Starter: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Starter: Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
Starter: Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants
Starter: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Starter: Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
Starter: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Starter: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Starter: Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Starter: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Reliever: Kelsey Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Reliever: Jeurys Familia, New York Mets
Reliever: A.J. Ramos, Miami Marlins
Reliever: Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Reliever: Fernando Rodney, San Diego Padres/Miami Marlins
Kershaw and Strasburg are on the DL, but their incredible seasons prior to that get them obvious spots. But Kershaw was the obvious starter for the game prior to that, so who takes his place? I’m guessing either Noah Syndergaard, who has been phenomenal in his second year (and has his manager managing the game), or Madison Bumgarner, the only other qualifying NL starter with a sub-2 ERA.
Beyond that, reigning Cy Young winner Arrieta is a lock. Jose Fernandez has blossomed into a strikeout machine, while Johnny Cueto is earning his expensive contract in his first year with the Giants. Lester has been yet another great Cub, and to put a close to the starters is the lone Braves player, Julio Teheran.
Teheran’s inclusion forces out a dominant reliever, like the Cardinals’ Seung Oh, but there are still great options. Jansen has been sublime closing for the Dodgers. Familia’s ERA isn’t necessarily where you want it to be, but he leads the league in saves, and I think a combination of his fantastic 2015 season and having Terry Collins managing the NL gets him a spot. A.J. Ramos is striking out 11 batters per 9 innings, Mark Melancon is having another lights out year closing for Pittsburgh, and Fernando Rodney gets to return to San Diego after very recently being traded to the Marlins.
There it is, my predictions for the NL All-Star team. It’s going to be a good team, with deep pitching. The deep bench and seemingly unending group of ace starters could be the key to getting them a win over the AL.
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