June 21, 2004

All-Stars vol. 1

My All-Star picks, NL version:

Catcher: Johnny Estrada, Braves
Remember when everyone laughed at Atlanta for getting Estrada for Kevin Millwood. The thought was that John Schuerholz was just getting a warm body instead of non-tendering Millwood. Well, he must be doing something right, as Estrada is at .318/. 374/ .478, one of the few Braves who is holding it together offensively.

First base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
This is a tough one, with half a dozen NL first sackers having excellent seasons so far. You can’t go wrong with Sean Casey, Jim Thome, Lyle Overbay, or Pujols. I’m sticking with Albert (.306/. 401/. 616) just because he’s the best hitter of his generations.

Second Base: Mark Loretta, Padres

Loretta, almost an afterthought on the free-agent market the last couple years, has been the glue that keeps San Diego together. He’s the prototypical #2 hitter, and a class act as well.

Third Base: Scott Rolen, Cardinals

No one is even close at this position. Rolen, making those premature Mike Schmidt comparisons look good, is the NL MVP so far. He’s at .344/ .416 / .1056, plus he leads the major leagues in RBI’s with 70. Oh yeah, Gold Glove defense too.

Shortstop: Jack Wilson, Pirates

Wilson is the best of a pretty weak position in the NL. Edgar Renteria is the usual choice here, but he’s had a huge drop off from last year. Wilson is hitting a sparkling .343 with a modicum of power (27 XBH) and his usual “Jack Flash” defense.

Outfield: Barry Bonds, Giants
All you need to know about Bonds is that he’s leading the NL in slugging and OBP by over 140 points in each category. Despite having an atrocious 49 intentional walks, he’s still launched 18 homers.

Outfield: Lance Berkman, Astros
The hometown fans may vote as many as 4 Astros as starters, but this is the only one who really deserves it. He’s rebounded from a pretty mediocre year last year, and ranks in the top-10 in all major categories. Well, accepting steals, but does that qualify as a major category still?

Outfield: Ken Griffey Jr, Reds
Is this a sentimental pick? Probably, but Griffey is back, hitting a respectable .260/ .363/ .558. Add to that the excitement of his 500th homerun, and that puts him on my All-Star team.

Posted by Frinklin at June 21, 2004 04:29 PM

What? No Mets? Okay, okay, you're probably right. I went with Piazza at catcher. I know defensively he's not that strong, but he's a much better power hitter than Estrada. And, Piazza's hitting over .300. And, he's a team leader. But, true, he hasn't been catching as much this season (until this past week).

Otherwise, the only Mets I expect to see at the All Star Game will be on the staff (Glavine - definitely, Leiter, maybe, probably not. Although he's pitched really well his record is only 2-2).

Posted by: John at June 23, 2004 03:34 AM
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