The 2020 SSG National League All-Stars

Today we’re continuing our look at the 2020 SSG Baseball All-Star teams. In case you missed it, the American League All-Star Selections were reviewed yesterday. Now its time for the National League.

The Starters

The following players received the most votes at their respective positions.

Catcher – Oscar Hernandez (3rd All-Star Selection), Arizona Diamondbacks .298/.366/.561 (147 OPS+), 15 HR, 42 RBI, 0 SB, 4.2 WAR

First Baseman – Jonas Lantigua (2nd), San Diego Padres .303/.385/.583 (169 OPS+), 23 HR, 67 RBI, 0 SB, 4.1 WAR

Second Baseman – Taylor Lindsey (2nd), Milwaukee Brewers .318/.394/.534 (153 OPS+), 11 HR, 44 RBI, 4 SB, 3.8 WAR

Third Baseman – Maikel Franco (3rd), Philadelphia Phillies .288/.368/.563 (148 OPS+), 30 HR, 60 RBI, 0 SB, 4.9 WAR

Shortstop – Jurickson Profar (1st), Colorado Rockies .310/.382/.522 (129 OPS+), 16 HR, 50 RBI, 4 SB, 4.4 WAR

Left Fielder – Antonio Gallardo (1st), Los Angeles Dodgers .283/.361/.608 (162 OPS+), 24 HR, 57 RBI, 12 SB, 4.3 WAR

Center Fielder – Bryce Harper (6th), Washington Nationals .275/.379/.587 (151 OPS+), 29 HR, 75 RBI, 5 SB, 4.4 WAR

Right Fielder – Jason Heyward (3rd), St. Louis Cardinals .251/.359/.477 (131 OPS+), 19 HR, 45 RBI, 9 SB, 3.6 WAR

Starting Pitcher – Tim Cooney (2nd), Atlanta 109.1 IP, 2.39 ERA (171 ERA+), 121 K, 21 BB, 0.81 WHIP, 2.33 FIP, 4.1 WAR

Relief Pitcher – Trevor Rosenthal (2nd), St. Louis Cardinals 41.2 IP, 0.86 ERA (468 ERA+), 51 K, 10 BB, 0.82 WHIP, 1.50 FIP, 2.4 WAR

Baseball’s most surprising team this season has been the Cardinals. After winning only 70 games in 2019, St. Louis has already got 58 this year, and they sit on top of the NL Central by 7.5 games. Jason Heyward is their best hitter and plays stellar defense. His +7.4 ZR is second among all NL Outfielders, well on his way to a sixth Gold Glove award if he stays healthy. The Redbirds’ closer Trevor Rosenthal would probably be getting a lot more attention for his awesome numbers if Chapman in Baltimore wasn’t on an other-worldly level with his own. No other teams outside of St. Louis have more than one representatives among top vote-getters.

Oscar Hernandez from Arizona won a tough race for the starting catcher spot. He will be a free agent this coming off season, and he will likely be the top trade target among contenders at the deadline later this month. His Diamondbacks are in last place in the NL West.

It’s almost shocking how unsurprising Phillies’ 3B Maikel Franco’s numbers are. He’s on pace for his second 50 HR season in the past 3 years. He’s been an All-Star in all 3 as well, and he leads all NL position players in WAR going into the break in 2020.

Taylor Lindsey was selected for the second time, his first as a Brewer. He and Scooter Gennett (who finished second in voting) were swapped for each other in a trade between Milwaukee and San Diego in the offseason.

And speaking of the Padres, they have broken out and sit at first place in the NL West. Their offense is led by Jonas Lantigua who was elected for the second time in his three-year career. We’ll talk much more about the Friars later.

Unsurprisingly, Bryce Harper is an All-Star again for the surging Nationals, who are an astounding 32-6 since June 1st and lead the NL east by 5.5 games. He’s on pace to set new career highs in HR and RBI. He is elected to the Midsummer Classic for the sixth time at just 27 years old.

On the other end of the spectrum age-wise is Tim Cooney from Atlanta. The late bloomer was an All-Star for the first time in his breakout 2019 season, and his numbers are even better this year at age 29. He leads NL starters in WAR and WHIP and is second in ERA.

Finally, the two first-timers among starters are Jurickson Profar from Colorado and Antonio Gallardo from Los Angeles. Profar has followed up on his behemoth second-half last season with very good numbers in 2020. Meanwhile in what will be Gallardo’s first full big league season, he is on pace for 41 HR, 8 triples, 20 steals, and 7.3 WAR.

The Reserves

The following players are selected as reserves based on several factors, including vote totals, positional distribution (enough from each position to make up a whole team), and if necessary players from a team with no selections will get priority as each team needs a representative based on the league rules.

Catchers

Salvador Perez (6th), Cincinnati Reds .295/.348/.635 (160 OPS+), 29 HR, 64 RBI, 0 SB, 4.3 WAR

Kyle Schwarber (4th), Chicago Cubs .284/.359/.532 (139 OPS+), 13 HR, 44 RBI, 0 SB, 2.3 WAR

As mentioned, the race for the starting catcher job was really tight. Salvador Perez is really “1A”. He’s been even more dominant in Cincinnati thanks to the hitters park. And even taking the park factors into account, his numbers hold up (160 OPS+). The Reds bet big on him in the off season with the big contract. It has paid off so far, however as a team they are just at .500, third place in the NL Central, and Perez is their only All-Star.

Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs has been an All-Star in all 4 of his big league seasons since he was the Rookie of the Year in 2017. He’s on pace in 2020 to set career highs in batting average and on-base percentage. After a disappointing 71-91 finish in 2019, Chicago is just one game back of the second Wild Card spot in the NL at the break.

Infielders

Nolan Arenado (4th), Colorado Rockies .332/.377/.542 (132 OPS+), 16 HR, 55 RBI, 0 SB, 4.8 WAR

Jim Cobb (1st), Philadelphia Phillies .273/.349/.611 (153 OPS+), 26 HR, 51 RBI, 0 SB, 2.8 WAR

Brett Lawrie (4th), New York Mets .277/.354/.509 (145 OPS+), 21 HR, 62 RBI, 2 SB, 3.5 WAR

Addison Russell (1st), Chicago Cubs .271/.350/.530 (136 OPS+), 23 HR, 72 RBI, 8 SB, 4.4 WAR

Dominic Smith (1st), Chicago Cubs .305/.396/.500 (143 OPS+), 13 HR, 47 RBI, 5 SB, 3.7 WAR

Nolan Arenado put up a good fight against elected starter Maikel Franco. He’s had a great bounceback season posting a 143 OPS+ so far (his OPS+ last year was just 106). It’s his first All-Star Selection since 2017, and he’s on pace to set a career high in WAR.

The third player from the hot corner is Brett Lawrie. He’s in year two of a big ten year contract for the Mets. He’s on pace to set a career high in HR. He’s the Mets’ only player to make the All-Star team, but they’re only one game back of the second Wild Card spot.

Jim Cobb was selected for the first time. The first baseman is second in the NL in slugging. His grades out as very poor and he will probably be a prime DH candidate when the position comes to the NL full time. More Phillies players are still to come.

Lastly, the Cubs send two first time All-Star infielders in SS Addison Russell and 1B Dominic Smith. Russell has already matched his 2019 home run total. Those 23 homers, along with his .560 slugging and 136 OPS+ are all best among NL shortstops. Smith, a two-time Gold Glover, has added good offensive numbers to finally make it to the Midsummer Classic. His current 150 wRC+ would be 19 points better than his previous career high of 131.

Outfielders

Dylan Cozens (1st), Philadelphia Phillies .269/.336/.584 (143 OPS+), 25 HR, 55 RBI, 3 SB, 3.2 WAR

Corey Dickerson (4th), Colorado Rockies .330/.422/.623 (164 OPS+), 18 HR, 45 RBI, 0 SB, 2.8 WAR

Nomar Mazara (1st), Washington Nationals .306/.397/.540 (145 OPS+), 21 HR, 53 RBI, 2 SB, 4.2 WAR

Giancarlo Stanton (7th), Los Angeles Dodgers .271/.387/.518 (148 OPS+), 21 HR, 59 RBI, 4 SB, 3.6 WAR

Tyrone Taylor (2nd), San Francisco Giants .275/.342/.505 (133 OPS+), 16 HR, 56 RBI, 15 SB, 3.9 WAR

Jesse Winker (2nd), San Diego Padres .293/.400/.540 (163 OPS+), 20 HR, 66 RBI, 0 SB, 4.3 WAR

The standout for the reserve outfielders is Jesse Winker from San Diego. So far in 2020 he’s been even better than he was during his break-out last year. His OBP and RBI are the best among all big league left fielders, and he’s doing it in a very pitcher-friendly home park.

Nomar Mazara from the Nationals is on par with Winker offensively numbers-wise but Mazara also plays great defense in right field. He’s finally elected to the All-Star game for the first time after being snubbed the past 2 seasons (6.0 and 5.0 WAR in 2018 and 2019 respectively). He couldn’t be ignored this year, however; he’s on pace for a 7.0 WAR in 2020.

Dylan Cozens from the Nats’ NL East rival in Philadelphia is also a first-time selection. So far in what will be his first full big league season, he is on pace for 42 homers, 35 doubles, and 5.4 WAR. Keep reading for even more Phillies.

The Rockies’ RF Corey Dickerson has become an All-Star regular, being selected to his third Midsummer Classic in a row and fourth of his career overall. Due to an injury in April he has played in only 58 games in 2020, but he already has 16 homers for Colorado. After 4-straight division crowns, they are second in the NL West to the aforementioned breakout Padres, but they do currently hold the second Wild Card spot.

Elsewhere in the NL West, the Dodgers have had a disappointing start to the season. They sit at 48 and 48 after winning 93 games in 2018 and 92 in 2019. Their outfielders aren’t to blame, however; along with the elected starter Gallardo, Giancarlo Stanton is selected to the All-Star team for the third-straight season. His power has been down this year as his slugging is 34 points lower than last year. However, his OBP is up 13 points and he’s on pace for 6.0 WAR.

Lastly for reserve outfielders is San Francisco’s Tyrone Taylor. He made the All-Star team in 2018 when he was in the midst of a big breakout, but he regressed a lot last season. He seems to have returned to form at the plate in 2020 as he is on pace for 27 homers in a pitchers park, along with 26 SB and 6.7 WAR thanks to his great speed and defense in center field.

Starting Pitchers

Donnie Ellis (1st), Miami Marlins 96.0 IP, 2.53 ERA (157 ERA+), 103 K, 45 BB, 1.15 WHIP, 3.93 FIP, 1.3 WAR

R.J. Hansen (1st), Philadelphia Phillies 117.2 IP, 3.14 ERA (132 ERA+), 143 K, 45 BB, 1.17 WHIP, 3.06 FIP, 3.2 WAR

Corey Kluber (2nd), Washington Nationals 130.0 IP, 2.49 ERA (170 ERA+), 117 K, 22 BB, 0.98 WHIP, 3.61 FIP, 2.8 WAR

Antonio Pacheco (1st), San Diego Padres 76.0 IP, 1.89 ERA (211 ERA+), 115 K, 27 BB, 0.97 WHIP, 2.32 FIP, 2.8 WAR

Andy Walker (1st), San Diego Padres 127.0 IP, 2.26 ERA (177 ERA+), 120 K, 39 BB, 1.04 WHIP, 2.81 FIP, 3.8 WAR

Corey Kluber’s career continues it’s resurgence for the first-place Washington Nationals. He’s selected to the All-Star game in both of his first two seasons in the nation’s capitol. This year he’s been almost as good as he was in his Cy Young campaign in 2014.

The other 4 reserve starting pitchers in the NL are first time All-Stars. R.J. Hansen from the Phillies had 4.5 WAR in 2018 and 5.2 WAR in 2019 but he finally makes it to the All-Star Game for the first time in 2020 at 29 years old. Miami’s 25 year old rookie Donnie Ellis is fourth in the NL in ERA, K/9, and ERA+ among starting pitchers.

Finally, the Padres send their 2 front-line starters to the Midsummer Classic for the first time.  Andy Walker and rookie Antonio Pacheco are on pace for a combined 11.0 WAR for the first place Padres. Walker has the best ERA in the NL among starters.

Relief Pitchers

Frank Garces (1st), Miami Marlins 54.0 IP, 2.00 ERA (199 ERA+), 55 K, 20 BB, 1.07 WHIP, 3.28 FIP, 0.7 WAR

Ken Giles (2nd), Philadelphia Phillies 37.2 IP, 4.30 ERA (96 ERA+), 72 K, 18 BB, 1.04 WHIP, 2.90 FIP, 1.0 WAR

Josh Outman (1st), St. Louis Cardinals 42.0 IP, 1.93 ERA (210 ERA+), 44 K, 19 BB, 1.17 WHIP, 2.56 FIP, 1.1 WAR

Darwin Ramos (1st), Pittsburgh Pirates 53.1 IP, 1.86 ERA (219 ERA+), 46 K, 17 BB, 1.20 WHIP, 2.65 FIP, 1.2 WAR

The fifth and final Phillies representative is reliever Ken Giles. His 4.04 ERA may not be eye-popping, but his 2.65 FIP and 1.04 WHIP shows that he’s probably had some bad luck.

Frank Garces represents the Marlins’ bullpen, which surprisingly has the second lowest ERA in the NL. He and Donnie Ellis will be the last All-Stars to wear the Marlins’ uniforms, as they will move to Vancouver at the end of the year.

The struggling Pirates send one representative in Darwin Ramos. His 0.2 HR/9 is the lowest among all big league pitchers with at least 35.0 IP.

Last but not least is another Cardinals reliever, Josh Outman. He’s the oldest first time All-Star in 2020 at 35 years old. He and Rosenthal represent the St. Louis bullpen which has the best ERA in the NL.

Most Players by Team

1) Philadelphia Phillies (5 total, 1 starter)

2) San Diego Padres (4 total, 1 starter)

3) St. Louis Cardinals (3 total, 2 starters)

T4) Colorado Rockies (3 total, 1 starter)

T4) Washington Nationals (3 total, 1 starter)

Thanks for reading. At the end of the season I hope to have a postseason preview. Good luck to all of the contending teams in the second half.

 

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