Filling out an NL All-Star team ballot

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The initial All-Star Game voting results have been announced in the AL and will be announced in the NL on Wednesday -- oh, you wacky Kansas City Royals fans -- so let's have some fun and fill out the potential National League All-Star team. My personal guidelines:

1. It's the All-STAR Game, not the Best Two Months of His Career Game.

2. I do weigh current season performance, but thus heavily factor in past performance.

3. We'll stick to the one player per team rule and the current 34-man roster, which usually breaks out as 21 position players and 13 pitchers.

My team

C -- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants: Jonathan Lucroy has the slight edge in the batting numbers and WAR, but I'll go with the guy who has become the best all-around catcher in the game.

1B -- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: With Joey Votto off to a slow start and Anthony Rizzo putting up good but not dominant numbers, the two-time MVP runner-up gets my vote over Brandon Belt. Goldschmidt hasn't had much support due to the season-ending injury to A.J. Pollock and the DL stint for David Peralta, so he's drawing a ton of walks as teams pitch around him. The power numbers have been climbing back into Goldschmidt territory, however, and with an OBP north of .400 and his usual great defense, he leads NL first basemen in WAR.

2B -- Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals: Tough call between Murphy and Ben Zobrist. Murphy became a different hitter last season and he's carried over the power spike he showed in the second half and postseason. With a .395 average and 25 extra-base hits entering Tuesday, he leads the NL in OPS.

SS -- Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants: Yes, Trevor Story has the more impressive power numbers. But Crawford is the better player once you adjust for home park and factor in his Gold Glove-caliber defense.

3B -- Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies: He'd be a solid MVP candidate on a better team. I like that he's walked almost as often as he's struck out, and I expect that average to climb back over .300 if he keeps that up.

OF -- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: OK, he's slipped to eighth among NL outfielders in WAR. He's still getting on base over 40 percent of the time and slugging over .500. Remember that part about the All-STAR Game?

OF -- Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets: Who says he can't repeat his August and September numbers again? The big guy is absolutely mashing, with 15 home runs and a .281/.358/.611 line.

OF -- Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates: He's having such a bad year, he's on pace for only 110 runs, 29 home runs and 75 RBIs from the second spot in the order.

SP -- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: Remember last year when National League players didn't even vote in Kershaw as one of the top five starting pitchers in the league? Yes, that actually happened, and Kershaw only made the team as a replacement for Max Scherzer. So next time you think the players know better...

On the bench: Position players

C -- Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers.

C -- Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals.

1B -- Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants.

2B -- Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs.

SS -- Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies.

SS -- Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds.

3B -- Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs.

OF -- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers.

OF -- Dexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs.

OF -- Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates.

OF -- Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins.

OF -- Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals

OF -- Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates.

The NL depth is clearly in the outfield, where I couldn't squeeze Odubel Herrera of the Phillies on the team. If you want to go with Yadier Molina instead of Ramos, I won't fight you on that one. Cozart is my one Reds representative; he’s having a career year at the plate alongside his usual plus defense. Aledmys Diaz has slowed down after a solid start and Cozart has matched Diaz in WAR. I had to find room for Marte since he led all NL position players in WAR entering Tuesday despite a terrible 43/5 SO/BB ratio. It doesn't seem possible, but he's hitting over .300, gets hit by pitches, has swiped 17 bases and plays great defense. He does everything well except walk.

On the bench: Pitchers

SP -- Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs.

SP -- Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets.

SP -- Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals.

SP -- Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants.

SP -- Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants.

SP -- Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins.

SP -- Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies.

SP -- Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves.

RP -- Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers.

RP -- Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates.

RP -- Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs.

RP -- Fernando Rodney, San Diego Padres.

RP -- Jeanmar Gomez, Philadelphia Phillies

The starting pitchers were pretty straightforward, with Teheran repping the Braves with a 2.77 ERA (ignore his W-L record, although I’m pretty sure we've never had a starting pitcher make the All-Star team with a 1-5 record). Rodney is my Padres rep, but it's not like he's undeserving considering he has a 0.00 ERA (he's allowed one unearned run in 19 innings). If you want to squeeze Jon Lester or Gerrit Cole on here, you could replace Nola or Teheran (with Arodys Vizcaino representing the Braves).


McCutchen, CF

Murphy, 2B

Goldschmidt, 1B

Cespedes, LF

Harper, RF

Braun, DH

Arenado, 3B

Posey, C

Crawford, SS

Kershaw, P