Believe it or not, we are already one-fourth of the way through the 2013 regular season. Fans have been casting their All Star ballots for nearly a month now, so it’s high time Seeds All Day started considering who it will be voting for to represent each league in this year’s Midsummer Classic.
Of course, the actual game is still almost two months away (July 16th), so there is plenty of time for things to change between now and then, but here are SAD’s first-quarter All-Star starter selections, position-by-position, for the National League (don’t worry junior circuit fans, American League selections will be released tomorrow).
C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
This was really a two-horse race between Posey and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, and both will likely make the NL roster, but there can be only one starter. To choose who got that nod, I compared the two players stat-by-stat and took the most technical approach possible to eliminate any anti-Cardinal biases I might have – and as a Reds fan I have quite a few. Posey has scored more times (19 to 15), hit more homers (6 to 2) and driven in more runs (27 to 20) than his St. Louis counterpart. Molina has more hits (53 to 40) and a higher batting average (.333 to .294), but Posey has a higher OPS (.918 to .809). Molina is a stud defensively, and has proven he knows how to handle a pitching staff – the Cardinals starting rotation has been the best in baseball through the first quarter. However, sabermetrics put Posey over the edge. Thus far the Giants catcher has notched the highest WAR (wins above replacement player, a stat measuring how many more wins a team will get with that player in the lineup than a replacement player) of all National League catchers.
1B – Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt is putting up ridiculous numbers, especially here recently. A torrid May has sky rocketed the young first baseman to the top of the NL statistical chart in most of the major offensive categories. Among first basement, he leads his league in home runs (12), RBIs (35), slugging percentage (.635) and OPS (1.049). He’s batting .333, second only to the Reds’ Joey Votto, and has somehow managed to swipe four stolen bases along the way.
2B – Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
Phillips flashes the best smile and some of the fanciest leather in the game, but it’s what he’s done with the bat in a depleted Cincinnati order that should make him the second-base starter. When outfielder Ryan Ludwick dislocated his shoulder in the first game of the season, Phillips was thrust into an unexpected cleanup role, where he has become a big-time run producer. He’s driven in 36 runs, second most in all of the National League, to go along with seven home runs and .281 batting average.
3B – David Wright, New York Mets
He doesn’t have the power numbers of San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval, but he has boasted a better all-around season to this point. Six home runs, 28 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, three triples, a .315 batting average, .416 on-base percentage and a WAR of 2.4 – almost a full point above the next in line…’nuff said.
SS – Jean Segura, Milwaulkee Brewers
When he’s healthy, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowit is nothing short of outstanding. And this year, he’s healthy again. Tulo leads the league with 37 RBIs and leads his position in home runs (8) and OPS (.996). In most years, that would be plenty to land him the starting nod. But Brewers shortstop Jean Segura is not having an ordinary 2013 season. Segura is hitting a phenomenal .364 through 162 official at bats. He has scored 25 runs, notched 59 hits (among them, four triples and seven home runs), and stolen 14 bases – all tops at his position. We doubt Segura is capable of sustaining these numbers through 162 games, but as thing stand through the first quarter, he deserves to start.
OF- Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
This one was a no-brainer. He’s been one of the biggest stories of the season since being acquired from Arizona in an off-season trade. The young slugger has exceeded Atlanta’s expectations, mashing a league-leading 14 home runs – many of them moon shots – and becoming the ignition source of the Braves’ offensive attack.
OF – Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
The Nationals entered this season with the same dynamic lineup that made them World Series contenders a season ago, only runs have seemed much harder to come by in 2013. Surprisingly, Washington’s steadiest offensive presence has been its youngest. The 19-year-old is batting .297 with 11 homers and 22 RBIs, and his all-out effort makes him a must watch day in and day out.
OF – Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds
This was by far the toughest call on the roster, as there are several other outfielders who have put together extraordinary first quarters. Choo edges out the competition because of his power numbers and his uncanny ability to get on base. The first-year Red has already launched nine long balls, hit 10 doubles and driven in 19 runs – from the leadoff position! He is batting .309, drawing tons of walks and getting on base at a nasty .456 clip. Honorable mention to Carlos Gomez, Norichika Aoki, Gerrardo Parra, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Gerrardo Parra and Starling Marte, who have all been fantastic so far this year.
SP – Matt Harvey, New York Mets
He’s 5-0 on an abysmal offensive New York club. He leads all pitchers in baseball with a miniscule 0.72 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched), and boasts a trim 1.55 earned run average. Harvey’s 2013 campaign has been so dominant analysts have already compared him to Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. That might be speaking a little too soon, but recognizing that he’s deserving to start the All Star Game certainly isn’t.