Thursday, July 10, 2008

MLB All-Star Review...National League

Alright. I did American League yesterday. Today is National League. Like last time, I'll write who was voted in to start at each position, and then who I think it should have been. I'll then explain why, and give a runner-up for each spot.

National League

Geovany Soto-Cubs
Should have been: Brian McCann-Braves
So, we get the first EVER Rookie Catcher for the NL as an All-Star starter, and really, he's only the third best catcher in the league so far this year. Brian McCann and Russell Martin of the Dodgers are simply having better seasons. Soto, while an excellent defensive catcher, can't fall back on that either. He and McCann both have identical .995 fielding percentages, although Soto has thrown out 25% of base stealers to McCann's 23%. The bottom line, though, is that McCann leads NL catchers in doubles, home runs, and on-base plus slugging, while Soto only leads in RBI. Soto's having a great year, but he's only third best.
Runner-Up: Russell Martin, Los Angeles

First Base
Lance Berkman-Astros
Should have been: Berkman, like there was a question
Lance Berkman is far and away the class of what is never an easy position to stand out in in the NL. This year, it's a two horse race with between Berkman and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals with the Cubs' Derrek Lee, the Dodgers' James Loney, the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez and the Brewers' Prince Fielder watching from afar. Berkman and Pujols are two of the best players in the game, but this is Big Puma's year. He leads Pujols in batting average, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs, walks, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging. Would things have been different had Pujols not spent time on the Disabled List?? It's tough to tell, but one thing that isn't tough to tell is that Berkman very well could be this year's National League MVP.
Runner-Up: Pujols

Second Base
Chase Utley, Phillies
Should have been: Utley
This is another one that wasn't even close. Utley leads the National League in home runs and leads NL Second Basemen in hits, runs, home runs, RBI, walks, and on base percentage. There really isn't much to say. Utley will be in the race for the MVP at the end of the season, hoping to make it three in a row for three different Philadelphia players.
Runner-Up: Dan Uggla, Florida

Third Base
Chipper Jones, Braves
Should have been: Jones
Either National League fans are a little smarter than American League fans, or there are just many more clear cut winners on the Senior Circuit. I'm going to go with the latter. Chipper has been flirting with a .400 batting average all season, and though he has dropped to a season low .379 while I write this, that still is easily the Major League lead. He doesn't win this spot without any kind of struggle, though. When you really look at the stats, Garrett Atkins of the Rockies, Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs and David Wright of the Mets have all had outstanding first halfs. Chipper wins the spot with the superb batting average and by leading the other third basemen in home runs, on base percentage and on-base plus slugging.
Runner-Up: David Wright, New York

Short Stop
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Should have been: Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez is a rising star, and he's proving it this season, leading NL short stops in runs, home runs, RBI, walks, and on-base plus slugging. This isn't your father's short stop. This is a new age of power hitting short stop that can hit in the middle of the line up. Jose Reyes of the Mets should be applauded for the way he has played so far, as should the resurgent Christian Guzman of the Nationals and the reliable Ryan Theriot of the Cubs, but this is Hanley's season thus far. Now if they could just get these guys a glove. Ramirez is worst in the NL in fielding percentage, Reyes is closest to him, Theriot is right after that and Guzman is 3 from Theriot.
Runner-Up: Jose Reyes, New York

Ryan Braun, Brewers
Kosuke Fukodome, Cubs
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs
Should have been: Matt Holliday, Rockies
Nate McLouth, Pirates
Carlos Lee, Astros
Leave it to the fans to get everything wrong once they get a competitive position like outfield. Matt Holliday, last year's MVP runner-up, and probably the most important piece in the Rockies run to the World Series last year, is having a stellar season, even if it isn't quite up to par with last year. He leads NL outfielders in batting average, hits, on base percentage and on-base plus slugging. Nate McLouth is a shining star for the Pirates this year. He was my second-rated outfielder and leads NL outfielders in runs and doubles. Finally, El Caballo, Carlos Lee, rounds out my outfielders. Lee is leading the National League in RBI right now, and he's second amongst outfielders in home runs.
Xavier Nady, Pittsburgh
Corey Hart, Milwaukee
(There are a lot of good outfielders in the NL Central)

Starting Pitcher
Edinson Volquez, Reds
Here is my bonus. Volquez is getting the start for my National League team, and not just because I cheer for the Reds. His competition for the start is Tim Lincecum of the Giants and Brandon Webb of the Diamondbacks. Let's look at the stats. I searched 18 categories for pitchers, and the averages worked out as such. Volquez-1.89, Webb-1.89, Lincecum-2.22. So, Volquez and Webb tied with Lincecum a close third. That means it's my discretion as to whose wins, statistically speaking, are bigger. Take a look for yourself. Volquez is best in ERA, hits against, runs against, earned runs against, batting average against, strike outs per 9 innings and home runs against. Webb was on top in wins, innings, walks, complete games, shut outs, strike out to walk ratio, walks per 9 innings, ratio, and wild pitches. Meanwhile, Lincecum led strike outs and hit batsmen. Volquez is the clear winner. It seems absurd not to start a pitcher that leads his main competitors in ERA, runs against, batting average against and hits against, let alone the fact that he's the only one of the three that plays in a hitter's stadium. The edge goes to Edinson.
Runner-Up: Webb

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done Jake. I applaud your efforts on this, as I would not be as dedicated to keep stats like you have.

well done, again. :)

I would say who I believe deserves each...but two things: stats don't lie, and I'm too tired. haha