Projecting the 2010 NL All-Star team

4 Comments

With voting close at several positions, there aren’t as many sure bets for the NL All-Star team as the AL squad. That’ll make things a bit more challenging today. Still, I’m going to give projecting the 21 hitters and 13 pitchers a try.
Catcher
Locks: none
Possibilities: Yadier Molina, Brian McCann, Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Ruiz
Molina currently leads McCann in the fan balloting by about 120,000 votes. The best bet is that both go as the NL’s two catchers, but they are having down seasons. The NL’s top three catchers by OPS are Olivo, Geovany Soto and Nick Hundley. Barajas, with 11 homers and 30 RBI, has been the No. 1 run producer. Pudge is tops with a .316 average. I’m listing Ruiz because NL manager Charlie Manuel might go that route if he’s given a choice. There just aren’t any standouts here.
First base
Lock: Albert Pujols
Possibilities: Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Troy Glaus, Adam Dunn, Aubrey Huff, Ryan Howard
The NL has five first basemen with OPSs over 900: Pujols (974), Votto (969), Gonzalez (961), Huff (949), and Dunn (929). Still, it remains to be seen how many of those guys will get the call when Glaus and Howard will have plenty of support themselves. Glaus leads the NL with 55 RBI, and Howard isn’t far behind at 51. Fortunately, with the DH spot available, at least four first basemen figure to make the team.
Second base
Lock: Chase Utley
Possibilities: Martin Prado, Kelly Johnson, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips
All five second basemen listed here have OPSs between 837 and 874. I think Prado is a pretty sure thing to go as Utley’s backup, given his .339 average. Johnson also has a shot, particularly since no other Diamondback stands out.
Third base
Locks: none
Possibilities: Placido Polanco, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Scott Rolen, Mark Reynolds, Casey McGehee
Polanco currently has a 130,000-vote lead over Wright in the fan balloting. Zimmerman and Rolen have been the NL’s best third basemen this season, but it’s possible neither will get to go if Polanco’s lead holds up.
Shortstop
Lock: Hanley Ramirez
Possibilities: Troy Tulowitzki*, Juan Uribe, Jose Reyes, Stephen Drew
It seemed like a given that Hanley and Tulo would be the NL’s shortstops, but Tulo’s broken wrist changed that in a hurry. Perhaps he’ll still be named to the squad and replaced. Uribe is the obvious candidate to fill in, even though he’s hardly a legitimate defensive shortstop these days. Behind Tulo at 877, Hanley at 862 and Uribe at 834, the next highest OPS for an NL shortstop belongs to Drew at 766.
Outfield
Locks: Ryan Braun, Jason Heyward, Andre Ethier
Possibilites: Andrew McCutchen, Corey Hart, Jayson Werth, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Shane Victorino, Josh Willingham, Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus, Jonny Gomes, Chris Young, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence
Fourth-place outfielder Werth is 380,000 votes back of Ethier in the fan balloting, so it’s safe to assume the starting outfield is set.
I think McCutchen is nearly a lock as well. At .315/.392/.479 with 18 steals, he’s the obvious choice to represent the Pirates.
Hart, as the NL home run leader, looks like a strong bet to claim a spot. If Manuel has his way, it’s safe to assume that at least one from the Werth-Victorino duo will go. Werth is more deserving, but a true second center fielder would be nice. I’d like to see Rasmus get the nod for that spot. Young, as the potential lone Diamondback, is another option.
Pitcher
SP possibilities: Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Mike Pelfrey, Tim Lincecum, Jaime Garcia, Yovani Gallardo, Livan Hernandez, Chris Carpenter, Mike Leake, Carlos Silva, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Oswalt, Tommy Hanson, Stephen Strasburg
RP possibilities: Jonathan Broxton, Billy Wagner, Matt Capps, Carlos Marmol, Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, Matt Lindstrom, Ryan Franklin, Leo Nunez, Luke Gregerson, Arthur Rhodes, Tyler Clippard
It’s impossible to project the pitching staff without knowing who is starting the Sunday before the game, but Jimenez, Johnson, Wainwright and Halladay seem like sure things, even if one or two end up being replaced on the roster.
Personally, I’m against the idea of Strasburg going and taking a spot away from someone who has earned it over the course of the season. And while they’ll never say it publically, I can’t imagine the Nationals are thrilled by the idea either.
In the bullpen, Broxton and Wagner seem like sure things and Marmol might go as the lone Cub. The choices for the lone Astro come down to Oswalt, Lindstrom and Pence. It figures that one of the pitchers will go.
The 2010 NL All-Stars
Lineup

SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Chase Utley
1B Albert Pujols
RF Andre Ethier
LF Ryan Braun
DH Adrian Gonzalez
3B David Wright
CF Jason Heyward
C Yadier Molina
Reserves
C Brian McCann
1B Joey Votto
1B Troy Glaus
1B Ryan Howard
2B Martin Prado
3B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Scott Rolen
SS Troy Tulowitzki*
SS Juan Uribe
OF Corey Hart
OF Andrew McCutchen
OF Jayson Werth
OF Chris Young
Pitchers
Ubaldo Jimenez
Josh Johnson
Adam Wainwright
Roy Halladay
Matt Cain
Roy Oswalt
Tim Lincecum
Mike Pelfrey
Jonathan Broxton
Billy Wagner
Carlos Marmol
Brian Wilson
Heath Bell

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
6 Comments

Friday’s weekend series kicked off with Gift Ngoepe’s first major league start, Mike Trout‘s important anniversary and an informal home run derby between the Yankees and Orioles. Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 14, Orioles 11 (10 innings): Manny Machado may have hit 2017’s longest home run on Friday night, but he was forced to share the spotlight as the Orioles and Yankees combined for eight home runs in their 10-inning slug-fest. In the end, the only home run that mattered was the last one of the night: a walk-off, three-run 411-footer by Matt Holliday to clinch the Yankees’ first win of the series.

Mets 7, Nationals 5: In a battle of elite arms, the Mets took the lead with Jacob deGrom‘s 12-strikeout performance. Max Scherzer struck out seven over six innings, but a couple of timely knocks from Travis d'Arnaud in the second and fourth innings unraveled the Mets’ flimsy one-run lead and eventually, their hold on the game altogether.

Rays 7, Blue Jays 4: Home runs are swell, as are late-game comebacks and solid pitching performances, but it’s not every day that you get a full highlight reel’s worth of plays from Steven Souza Jr.:

Red Sox 5, Cubs 4: Visiting Cubs fans monopolized a good section of Fenway Park on Friday, and the Cubs played nearly as well as if they were playing against the ivy backdrop of Wrigley Field. Although the Sox jumped out to an early five-run lead in the first inning, the Cubs worked a four-run comeback and put the game-tying run on second base when Ben Zobrist lined a double in the ninth inning. That’s as far as they got, however, leaving Zobrist stranded to drop their second consecutive loss of the week.

White Sox 7, Tigers 3: The White Sox extended their win streak to five consecutive games on Friday, clinching first place in the AL Central after a shutdown performance from the bullpen and a late-game comeback spearheaded by Geovany Soto and Tim Anderson. Tigers’ third baseman Nicholas Castellanos helped, too, committing three errors in the sixth and eighth innings to facilitate the White Sox’ rally and cement their 12th win of the year.

Pirates 12, Marlins 2: If you haven’t gotten up to speed on Gift Ngoepe’s intriguing path to the major leagues, do yourself a favor and peruse this excellent 2009 profile by Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith. Ngoepe was promoted to the bigs last Wednesday and has already garnered some attention for hitting a single in his first career at-bat. He was no less impressive on Friday, going 3-for-3 with two base hits, two walks and an opposite-field triple that just cleared Giancarlo Stanton‘s head at the wall.

Mariners 3, Indians 1: The Mariners may be short one Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz, but they looked more than capable of taking on the Indians during Friday’s series opener. Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel combined for a three-run lead on two home runs and Ariel Miranda allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings, effectively stifling several rally attempts by the Indians and clinching his second win of the year.

Angels 6, Rangers 3: It’s been five years since Mike Trout received his permanent call-up from the minors, and he celebrated in true Mike Trout fashion, engineering an impressive catch on the warning track and collecting a two-run homer against Rangers’ right-hander Nick Martinez:

The Rangers, meanwhile, would have been better off spending their Friday like Yu Darvish:

Braves 10, Brewers 8: Don’t look now, but the Braves are no longer in last place. They relinquished their spot at the bottom of the NL East on Friday, scooting half a game above the Mets after they mounted a six-run rally in the last few innings of a 10-8 win over the Brewers. That’s thanks in large part to their bullpen, which stifled Milwaukee’s comeback attempts with four scoreless frames, giving Ender Inciarte and Adonis Garcia just enough time to clear the bases in the seventh inning and take the lead on Kurt Suzuki’s RBI single in the eighth.

Astros 9, Athletics 4: Consistency isn’t exactly what Charlie Morton is known for, and Friday’s outing was no exception. The veteran right-hander got off to a rocky start in the first inning, putting runners on first and second and watching Khris Davis unleash a three-run bomb for an early lead. While Morton eventually settled down to strike out a career-high 12 batters, Davis still had the righty’s number, and took him deep a second time for the Astros’ fourth and final run of the night.

Cardinals 7, Reds 5: Reason #7 why you should never sleep on the job:

Twins 6, Royals 4: It looked like the Royals finally caught a break on Friday. They built a modest three-run lead early in the game and were able to keep their heads above water even after Miguel Sano brought the Twins within a run of tying the game on a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Everything looked hunky-dory for Kansas City until the eighth, when Joakim Soria loaded the bases for Sano, home plate umpire CB Bucknor took a 92 m.p.h. fastball to the face mask, and the Twins jumped out to a two-run lead to secure the Royals’ eighth consecutive loss.

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 1: Just as we all predicted, neither the Giants nor the Dodgers are anywhere near the top of the NL West this year. The top two spots appear reserved for the Rockies and Diamondbacks, who have traded first place several times during the month of April. Colorado reclaimed the division on Friday, spearing their 15th win on a one-run outing by rookie southpaw Kyle Freeland and a handful of hits from Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon.

Dodgers 5, Phillies 3: Kenta Maeda is finally looking like the starter the Dodgers need him to be, and not a moment too soon. The right-hander struck out eight over seven innings, holding the Phillies to five hits and two runs in his second winning effort this season. It’ll still take some time to get that ERA below 6.00, however, and the Dodgers have to dig themselves out of a three-game deficit if they want to reclaim first place in the NL West this spring.

Giants 4, Padres 3: So much for rookie jitters. Christian Arroyo has made a comfortable home in the major leagues, slugging .250/.250/.800 through his first four career games and topping it off with his second home run against the Padres on Friday night.