There are a lot of advanced statistics these days, but the most useful one is a stat called WAR (Wins Above Replacement). So I’m going to pick the National league starting lineup by using WAR, while trying to avoid using batting average to give examples.
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies
Ruiz is in the midst of a career year. He boasts an astounding .416 OBP along with eight home runs and 35 runs batted in. It’s unfortunate that his efforts will likely go to waste as the Phillies remain nine games out in the N.L East, but he needs to be rewarded. And there’s no better way to reward him by having him start the summer classic in Kansas City.
First Base: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Is there really anything I need to see about Votto? He’s doing it all for a power hitting Reds’ squad. Votto leads the National league with a .658 slugging percentage, a .486 OBP, and according to a stat called FLD rate, he’s been the best defensive first basemen in the National league as well. There’s really no argument here, and at the moment, Votto seems like the clear choice for the MVP award too.
Second Base: Dan Uggla, Atlanta Braves
Surprisingly, Uggla leads all National league second basemen with a 2.5 WAR. He also boasts a respectable .380 OBP as well as 46 runs batted in. The second base spot in the National league could really just be a toss up in 2012. Jose Altuve is having a breakout year, and Brandon Phillips is always in the mix, but it’s definitely the weakest position in the N.L. However, Uggla’s WAR average shows that he is the best.
Third Base: David Wright, New York Mets
Wright has been terrific for the Mets in 2012. Even though they have struggled over the past few weeks, Wright still deserves some credit for his team’s smoking hot start to the season. He has a .456 OBP and he is only striking out 12.3 percent of the time, a big improvement upon last year’s mark. Third base in the National league also lacks pop, so Wright should be the easy choice here.
Shortstop: Jed Lowrie, Houston Astros
The big names such as Jose Reyes and Troy Tulowitzki are both having down years, and while Starlin Castro is playing well, Lowrie has easily been the best shortstop in the National league in 2012. On a struggling Astros team, Lowrie leads all shortstops with 13 home runs, and he leads the N.L with a .354 OBP. The former Red Sox should be the starting shortstop, but I doubt the fans in Houston will vote for him.
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
People may not no it, but Braun is having a better season this year than his MVP year last season. Braun has smacked 20 long balls, while driving in 51 runs. Not to mention that he leads all N.L outfielders with a .627 slugging percentage and .400 OBP. To cap it all off, he’s third in the National league with a 4.3 WAR.
Outfield: Michael Bourn, Atlanta Braves
Expect the unexpected with this second outfield selection. Without Bourn, the Braves would not even be in contention in the National league. He just does so much for the team, both offensively and defensively. He has swiped 18 stolen bases, and leads the N.L with an 11.2 FLD average. After starting the year slow, Bourn has really bounced back, while he may not get voted to start, he should easily be spending the break in Kansas City.
Outfield: Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giants
Cabrera still isn’t receiving the spotlight he should be getting from the baseball world. He just recently got his 100th hit, fastest player in Giants history to do so since the great Willie Mays did it. He has also scored 48 runs which trails just Carlos Gonzalez for the National league lead, and his OBP of .399 ranks second behind Ryan Braun for the top spot in the N.L. If the all-star game was today, he would start because the fans have voted for him, but expect the race for the third spot to be a tight one with Ryan Braun right on his tail.