This past Friday, the finalists for the All Star game were announced based on the results of the fan voting primaries. For each league, the top three position players, including nine outfielders have advanced to the Starter Elections that begins on Wednesday, June 26 at noon and lasts 28 hours until 4 PM EST on the 27th. The player from each position with the most votes during this period will be named the starter and all others will wait until Sunday to see if they make the Midsummer Classic.
Below, I will share my picks for who the starters should be at each position for the National League. I will release my picks for the American League Wednesday.
- Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs (.294 / .388 / .561)
- Yasmani Grandal, Milwaukee Brewers (.274 / .384 / .544)
- Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (.278 / .346 / .474)
I thought J.T. Realmuto would have been a finalist instead of McCann, but the latter is still deserving. However, I think Contreras and Grandal are on a different tier. I don’t think you could go wrong here between these two, but I am going with Contreras due to his play behind the plate and slightly better offensive numbers.
NL First Base:
- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (.315 / .402 / .601)
- Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates (.315 / .386 / .640)
- Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (.277 / .388 / .539)
Bell and Freeman have very similar stats, but Bell has a higher slugging percentage and OPS while Freeman has a higher on-based percentage. Freeman is the best first baseman in the game currently, but I’m going with Josh Bell to start the game. Two reasons: (1) I’d rather have the first basemen with the higher slugger percentage than the one who walks more and (2) I am a bias Pirates fan who has witnessed Josh Bell’s insane month of May.
NL Second Base:
- Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves (.284 / .345 / .460)
- Mike Moustakas, Milwaukee Brewers (.280 / .359 / .583)
- Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (.312 / .361 / .585)
I think the 22-year-old Albies will have a monopoly as the 2B All Star starter for years to come, but he falls short this year. Moustakas is having the best start to a season in his career, while Marte is absolutely breaking out. Their numbers are so similar, but I have to go with Marte (.312) due to having a batting average that is 32 points higher than Moustakas (.280).
NL Third Base:
- Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (.326 / .390 / .587)
- Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (.284 / .394 / .533)
- Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves (.259 / .361 / .493)
If I had it my way, I’d select Anthony Rendon to be the starter. No way that Josh Donaldson should be here over Rendon. Even though I don’t get my way, I am more than fine settling with a top-5 MLB position player: Nolan Arenado.
- Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies (.294 / .360 / .547)
- Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (.287 / .325 / .554)
- Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves (.259 / .325 / .475)
Swanson is growing into a great player and a franchise centerpiece, but he is not on the same scale as Story and Baez. I’m stressed about making the decision between these two guys. Baez is having an another electrifying MVP season while Story has a stronger AVG, OBP and OPS. Looking objectively, Story is the winner, but he is currently on the 10-day IL with a thumb strain. So using that as justification for the biggest cop out ever, I am going with Baez.
- Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies (.330 / .374 / .637)
- Albert Almora Jr., Chicago Cubs (.245 / .286 / .396)
- Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers (.353 / .450 / .702)
- Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs (.268 / .358 / .441)
- Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves (.275 / .359 / .413)
- Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers (.232 / .325 / .550)
- Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves (.289 / .369 / .498)
- Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs (.232 / .322 / .467)
- Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers (.342 / .435 / .744)
Although this a crowded field, this is an easy decision. Right off the bat, I can eliminate Nick Markakis and all the Cubs outfielders. Like how did they get here? Oh yeah – fan voting. Joc Pederson is having a solid year with a high slugging and 20 HR, but is a sizable step below the rest of the back. Yelich and Bellinger are easy selections, but I am stuck choosing between Acuna and Blackmon. This could go either way, but I am going with Blackmon by a hair. And by a hair, I mean his sick beard.
Let me know your thoughts and make your own picks here: https://www.mlb.com/all-star/ballot
Voting starts 6/26 at Noon EST and goes until 6/27 at 4 PM EST.