The 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star game is being held in Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds.
Despite being held in a National League city, both squads will have the use of a DH, which will no doubt further the conversation of whether or not both leagues should use the extra batter or not.
But that is a topic for a later time.
The following are the 10 players that I think will be first onto the field for the National League; here are my early projected NL starters for the Mid-Summer Classic.
Unlike my prediction in the American League, I think the NL’s starting catcher will be a much more familiar face to the average fan.
Posey’s .291 AVG, 8 HRs, and 27 RBIs ranks him Top-3 among qualifying NL catchers.
The Giant’s catcher is off to such a good start to the 2015 season, that at this pace he will certainly surpass his 2013 season totals – the last time he was selected to appear in an All-Star game.
The month of April belonged solely to Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez blasted eight of his total 10 HRs and drove in 19 of his total 35 RBIs in the first month of the season.
Gonzalez, who I said on our U92 Awards Prediction podcast would have to have a great season in order for the Dodgers to be successful, has been just that. And the Dodgers have followed suit.
The Los Angeles first baseman did drop off during May from a power number stand point, but he continued to hit the ball well, posting a .337 batting average to this point.
Gordon has been performing well despite the rest of his team – minus Giancarlo Stanton – vastly under performing to where a lot of people (including myself) had this team before the start of the season.
Gordon’s .370 AVG is first in all of Major League Baseball and his 20 stolen bases is second behind Billy Hamilton, who has 21.
His 78 hits also lead all MLB players.
Carpenter, like nearly everyone in the Cardinals organization, has been consistent all year long.
His .311 AVG ranks second among NL third basemen, he leads the position and his team in doubles with 17, and his 8 HR, 27 RBI numbers each rank him in the Top-10 for his position among players from both leagues.
Carpenter will be comforted by my prediction at shortstop.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis
The left side of the National League infield will be covered with Cardinal red on July 14 as both Carpenter and Peralta will get the start.
Peralta’s .310 AVG, eight home runs, and 30 runs batted in puts him in the Top-2 among National League shortstops.
St. Louis’ shortstop really heated up in May, hitting six long balls and driving in 18 runs. He also hit nine of his 15 total doubles in the second month of the season.
Harper was the hottest player in baseball during May. His 13 home runs in the month of May led all of Major League Baseball and his 28 RBIs during the month tied for the league lead.
Harper’s .884 slugging percentage last month was far and away better that the rest of the league for any player with at least 80 at bats.
His stat line of .325 AVG / 18 HR / 44 RBI leads all NL outfielders.
For all of those reasons, it’s easy to see why he’s leading the National League vote totals.
Outfield: Matt Holliday, St. Louis
Not only will the left side of the infield be covered by Cardinal players, but the left side of the outfield will also be covered by a player that calls Busch Stadium home.
It’s no surprise that Holliday’s batting average is north of .300 to this point in the season (.318), and even though his power numbers are down with only three home runs, his 50 hits, including 10 doubles, put him Top-10 among NL outfielders.
Holliday is also getting on base at an incredible rate, as his .435 on-base percentage is 5th among all players.
Outfield: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami
Stanton’s average may not be up to par with the rest of the All-Stars, but his power numbers (15 HRs and .508 SLG), and 44 RBIs are top notch around the league.
If any stat is indication of Stanton’s power, it’s that he’s hit four of the six longest home runs of the year.
All of the 42,000-plus people that will pack Great American Ball Park full will be hoping to catch a Stanton home-run ball.
Sadly for Cincinnati fans, they won’t be able to see the only Red I have in the starting lineup in the field on defense, but they will see him when he comes up for his first at bat in the bottom of one of the first three innings.
Frazier was in strong consideration for starting at third base, but he may be better suited in the DH role with the 16 homers he’s hit this year. He’s also driven in 31 runs, which is third among NL third basemen.
National League, and San Francisco Giant, manager Bruce Bochy is a smart guy, no way he he would pick Bartolo Colon to start the game for his club. Remember, the league that wins the All-Star game gets home field advantage in the World Series, so the MLB All-Star game is more important than other sports’ All-Star games in that respect.
Colon may be off to a good start to 2015 with an 8-3 record, but two stats to me say he won’t sustain this run for the entire season – ERA and WAR. Colon’s ERA is 4.72 and his WAR is -0.4.
Neither of those numbers are good at all.
Compare Colon’s numbers to Cole’s 1.90 ERA and 2.1 WAR, and the ace of the Pittsburgh Pirate staff looks really, really good.
Cole has been the most evident bright spot from the Steel City this year. He has fanned 79 batters, while only giving up 61 hits, in his 71 innings of work this year.
*NOTE: Stats as of June 1.