Wednesday June 25, 2003
National League All-Stars
Just a final reminder, if you want to be included in tomorrowís report, send me an e-mail to Fridayís question. Basically, would former players like Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams and other players be as good today as they were back then? If so, why? If not, why not? Thanks again for taking the time to e-mail me.
As promised, today I will be naming my 2003 National League All-Stars. Again, the rules are 32 players, 11 pitchers, and each team represented. Developing my American League team was fairly tough yesterday, but the National League team today was far more difficult to compile. Part of the difficulty is figuring out who will be the starters. Unlike the AL starters, the NL voting in the final week will be crucial! There seem to be a few sure things. The OF will more than likely include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Gary Sheffield. 3B will be manned by Scott Rolen. The other 4 starting positions are still up for grabs (too close to call). Here is the breakdown at the last count at those spots:
SS - Atlantaís Rafael Furcal 526,630 - St. Louisís Edgar Renterria 483,765.
2B - Atlantaís Marcus Giles 418,742 - Houstonís Jeff Kent 384,329
C - Atlantaís Javy Lopez 410,630 - Floridaís Ivan Rodriguez 395,927
And the closest vote at this point:
1B - Coloradoís Todd Helton 379,713 - Houstonís Jeff Bagwell 379,499
So, hereís what Iím going to do. In each case, I will take the current leader because 1.) I think all four will end up as the leaders, and 2.) in each case, they have better numbers (with the possible exception at SS) and I do think that they should be selected.
With that said, here are the starting position players. (all stats through games of Monday, June 23, 2003)
Starting Position Players -
C - Javy Lopez - Atlanta Braves - (.310/.349/.695, 21 HR, 44 RBI)
1B - Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies - (.343/.437/.587, 13 HR, 61 RBI)
2B - Marcus Giles - Atlanta Braves - (.291/.366/.488, 8 HR, 36 RBI)
3B - Scott Rolen - St. Louis Cardinals - (.291/.399/.533, 12 HR, 51 RBI)
SS - Rafael Furcal - Atlanta Braves - (.307/.369/.513, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 12 SB)
OF - Barry Bonds - San Francisco Giants - (.303/.486/.644, 20 HR, 44 RBI)
OF - Sammy Sosa - Chicago Cubs - (.294/.412/.483, 7 HR, 30 RBI)
OF - Gary Sheffield - Atlanta Braves - (.346/.429/.661, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 11 SB)
Discussing who the voters have selected, itís really hard to argue with any of them. Of course, Sosa is having a down year, and has the corked-bat incident, but he is a huge star. Iím really happy to see Giles and Lopez and Furcal getting the votes that they deserve. Note - Javy Lopez had another 2 home run night last night, so heís now up to 23 home runs!
So, there are eight position players, now I have to pick 13 reserves:
Reserve Position Players -
Paul Lo Duca - Los Angeles Dodgers (.326/.378/.470, 5 HR, 28 RBI)
The batting average alone puts him on this list. Not much for catchers in the National League. Lo Duca was snubbed last year though, so he gets on this yearís roster.
First Base -
Ryan Klesko - San Diego Padres (.261/.365/.518, 15 HR, 43 RBI)
Richie Sexson - Milwaukee Brewers (.260/.362/.509, 21 HR, 49 RBI)
Two reserves from teams that are bad! But, both have good power numbers, even if their averages are low.
Second Base -
Jose Vidro - Montreal Expos (.328/.419/.492, 7 HR, 36 RBI)
It was him or Jeff Kent. It was Vidro or Expos teammate Orlando Cabrera. There were already 3 shortstops, so Cabrera gets snubbed there, leaving Vidro as the one Expos player on the roster.
Third Base -
Mike Lowell - Florida Marlins (.291/.354/.606, 23 HR, 61 RBI)
Aaron Boone - Cincinnati Reds (.275/.342/.504, 15 HR, 45 RBI, 11 SB)
Mike Lowell is having an amazing year! He probably deserves to start. Big question is: Will he still be with the Marlins at the All-Star break?
The Cincinnati Reds need an All-Star. Adam Dunnís batting average is too low, and there are plenty of other outfielders as good as Austin Kearns. Boone is having a very solid year. Can play all 3 infield positions.
Edgar Renterria - St. Louis Cardinals (.346/.394/.502, 6 HR, 50 RBI)
Alex Gonzalez - Florida Marlins (.323/.368/.590, 12 HR, 50 RBI)
Renterria has been good for a number of years, but this year heís really breaking out. Look at that batting average!
Where did this output come from for Gonzalez? He started the season hot, I assumed heíd fade, like he always does, but heís maintained the stats all season.
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals (.384/.448/.720, 21 HR, 66 RBI)
Luis Gonzalez - Arizona Diamondbacks (.311/.384/.565, 15 HR, 52 RBI)
Kenny Lofton - Pittsburgh Pirates (.275/.334/.439, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 14 SB)
Preston Wilson - Colorado Rockies (.320/.379/.585, 17 HR, 67 RBI)
Andruw Jones - Atlanta Braves (.283/.352/.532, 18 HR, 53 RBI)
Albert Pujols might be the best hitter in baseball and is the best MVP candidate on the Cardinals. Gonzalez is rebounding after a sub-par season. Someone has to make it for the Pirates, so why not Lofton? Heíll be traded before the trade deadline too. Preston Wilson is having a huge year! Andruw Jones is hitting homers and playing great defense! This is a very solid group of reserves.
Starting Pitchers -
Kevin Brown - Los Angeles Dodgers (10-2, 2.22)
Hideo Nomo - Los Angeles Dodgers (8-6, 2.55)
Mark Prior - Chicago Cubs (8-3, 2.64)
Woody Williams - St. Louis Cardinals (9-2, 2.55)
Jason Schmidt - San Francisco Giants (6-3, 2.43)
Jae Seo - New York Mets (5-2, 2.66)
Shawn Chacon - Colorado Rockies (11-3, 3.91)
Randy Wolf - Philladelphia Phillies (8-3, 3.26)
Again, Iím looking for starters with good records and good ERAs. Chaconís got the highest ERA of this bunch, but heís got 11 wins! Look at all those sub-3 ERAs! And, the Mets need someone to represent them. Why not Jae Seo? Great numbers for a bad team!
Relief Pitcher -
Octavio Dotel - Houston Astros (6-2, 1.67, 2 saves)
Best non-closer reliever in the national league and the Astros lone representative!
John Smoltz - Atlanta Braves (0-1, 0.91, 27 saves)
Eric Gagne - Los Angeles Dodgers (1-2, 2.06, 29 saves)
The best two closers in all of baseball. These guys are amazing, dominant and really fun to watch!
Corey Patterson - Chicago Cubs (.308/.329/.535, 12 HR, 51 RBI)
Austin Kearns - Cincinnati Reds (.287/.391/.504, 15 HR, 57 RBI)
Adam Dunn - Cincinnati Reds (.204/.339/.513, 22 HR, 45 RBI)
Jeff Kent - Houston Astros (.313/.373/.521, 11 HR, 56 RBI)
Geoff Jenkins - Milwaukee Brewers (.286/.362/.541, 16 HR, 52 RBI)
Orlando Cabrera - Montreal Expos (.310/.371/.503, 11 HR, 43 RBI)
Cliff Floyd - New York Mets (.283/.368/.534, 14 HR, 42 RBI)
Aramis Ramirez - Pittsburgh Pirates (.296/.350/.446, 7 HR, 43 RBI)
Rondell White - San Diego Padres (.291/.343/.482, 12 HR, 37 RBI)
Jim Edmonds - St. Louis Cardinals (.296/.396/.630, 19 HR, 44 RBI)
Jim Thome - Philladelphia Phillies (.249/.375/.502, 17 HR, 51 RBI)
And, maybe some more snubs that Iím snubbing.
So, whatís the team-by-team breakdown?
6 - Atlanta Braves
4 - St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers
3 - Colorado Rockies
2 - Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants
1 - Montreal Expos, Philladelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres.
So there it is. Here are my 2003 National League All-Stars. Check back in a week or so when the rosters are announced and see how I did. Not just for the National League, but remember my American League All-Stars too. Check back there to see who I picked.
Twins Thoughts -
Esteban Loaiza continued his mastery, going 8 innings of shutout ball against the Twins, giving up just 4 hits (2 to Corey Koskie).
The loss, coupled with the Royals win, means the Twins are tied with the Royals atop the American League Central Division. That, and the White Sox are back to within 4 Ĺ games, and are talking about adding players, rather than subtract.
Rick Reed actually pitched really well!
Enough for the day!! Everyone have a wonderful Wednesday! Tomorrow, NBA Draft thoughts, and catching up with the Twins information.
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