Phase 1 of MLB All-Star voting ends today, so I decided to put together the all-deserving National League All-Star team. These guys may not make the all-star team due to a multitude of reasons, but they have all been the best players at their positions to start the 2021 season. 32 players will make the National League all-star team, but this team will only include the starters at each position and the starting pitcher.
Most Deserving National League All-Star Team
Starting Pitcher – Jacob deGrom
This is an easy pick, and I could ramble on about the season Jacob deGrom is having all day, but I’ll limit myself here. Jacob deGrom’s 2021 season has been so good that we aren’t comparing him to Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber, we are comparing it to Pedro Martinez and Bob Gibson.
Jacob deGrom has given up one earned run per eighteen innings pitched so far this season, which is exactly a 0.50 ERA, the greatest qualified mark of all time. His 0.87 FIP is also the best mark ever, as are his 1.60 xFIP and 1.61 SIERA, although the data used to calculate those numbers was unavailable prior to 2002. deGrom has had injuries hold him back slightly, but he still has 4.2 WAR, leading the National League.
Catcher – Buster Posey
Buster Posey will start at catcher for the National League all-star team in 2021, for the first time since 2017. He has slashed .322/.411/.556 with a .410 wOBA, 165 wRC+, and 2.7 WAR while playing very solid defense (2.5 FRM, 3 RES, 88th percentile statcast framing). He leads NL catchers in each offensive category I mentioned, and is 2nd in home runs, only trailing Willson Contreras. Posey has a 9.8% Barrel% and 44.8% HH% to go along with his .386 xwOBA, and .530 xSLG.
1st Base – Max Muncy
Max Muncy’s incredible month of May has propelled him to the starter spot for NL 1st basemen. In May, Munch slashed .300/.440/.714 with a 212 wRC+ and .479 wOBA. Freddie Freeman has unbelievable batted-ball data, but he doesn’t have the results, so Muncy is the runaway favorite in voting, and in most offensive categories. He’s walking at a 19.0% clip and has a .421 OBP despite his fairly pedestrian .266 average. He has 14 homers, second among NL first basemen, and his 2.9 WAR leads the position, with second place Freeman and Brandon Belt at just 1.3.
2nd Base – Jake Cronenworth
Jake Cronenworth made a name for himself last season, finishing second in rookie of the year voting in the National League and helping the Padres to their first playoff appearance since 2006. Cronenworth doesn’t have the same level of offensive production as Adam Frazier and Chris Taylor, but he makes up for it with his defense and baserunning. He’s played in 76 games and has a .284/.351/.468 slash line with a .353 wOBA, .349 xwOBA, and 2.5 fWAR. His 3.4 rWAR also ranks 2nd among position players in the NL.
3rd Base – Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant was off to an absolutely incredible start, but he has gone cold in the past couple of weeks. He’s still the deserving starter at 3rd base, despite playing more outfield than third this year. Through June 4th, Bryant had a .397 OBP and .607 SLG with a 172 wRC+, but in the past two weeks, he has a 22 wRC+ with just a .170 SLG, bringing his season’s average down to a respectable .273/.361/.514 with a 140 wRC+ and 2.2 fWAR. Bryant is no longer among the league leaders, but he’s still the most deserving National League all-star 3rd baseman.
Shortstop – Tatis Jr.
The generational shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. has been nothing short of spectacular in 2021, and is proving all of his doubters wrong. His defense hasn’t been there like it was in 2020, but he has put up even better offensive numbers, which many thought wasn’t possible. Tatis Jr. leads the National League in home runs with 25, and is slugging .702, the highest mark since Barry Bonds. He has a 184 wRC+ and 4.8 BsR, resulting in him being the most productive offensive player in the National League despite missing two weeks.
Outfield – Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Castellanos, Bryan Reynolds
Ronald Acuna Jr. is another one of the group of young stars who will headline baseball for the next decade, and he is having another incredible season in 2021. He was off to the best start of any player, and has heated up once again in June. On the season, the 23-year-old Braves’ outfielder has a .391 OBP, .592 SLG, .413 wOBA, 163 wRC+, and 3.5 fWAR. He also has a 3.2 BsR and .430 xwOBA, making him one of the most productive offensive NL stars, despite getting a little unlucky according to xwOBA.
Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker were both in the running, but Winker has cooled off quite a bit, so the spot here goes to Castellanos. He has a .402 OBP and .600 SLG with a .424 wOBA and 169 wRC+, and a 3.4 fWAR despite having terrible defensive value. His .400 BABIP shows he’s due for some regression, and he’s been one of the streakiest hitters in MLB for years, but Castellanos is hot at the right time, just in time for the All-Star game.
The Pirates will likely have two all-stars, maybe three, despite being 22 games under .500. Bryan Reynolds and Adam Frazier will almost certainly make the all-star team, and Richard Rodriguez may get in as a reliever. For Reynolds, it’s been a great bounce-back year following a downturn in 2020. Reynolds has a .312/.401/.538 slash line with a 159 wRC+ and a 2.9 WAR so far this season, and has been even better than his 2019 season that landed him 4th in rookie of the year voting.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images