Baseball

Picking One MLB All-Star for Each National League Team

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With the MLB All-Star game around the corner, voting is underway and fans are starting to get excited. One of baseball’s more controversial rules is that all 30 teams must be represented in the MLB All-Star Game. Following this rule, let’s look at the likely MLB All-Stars for each National League team.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Mantiply

The 31-year-old has been an elite bullpen arm for the Diamondbacks. He has an ERA of 1.29 and ERA+ of 324. His FIP and WHIP are also exceptional with a 1.92 FIP and 0.893 WHIP. He has modest strikeout numbers (9.0 K/9), but he allowed just one home run and one walk in 28 frames. Mantiply has turned 107 batters faced into one walk and one home run. While he has not usurped Mark Melancon as the closer, Mantiply is the most likely MLB All-Star on the Diamondbacks.

Atlanta Braves: Dansby Swanson

Swanson might be the National League Player of June with his ridiculous numbers fueling a breakout season in his contract year. After a strong May, Swanson has elevated to an elite level with a .370/.432/.630 slash line in June. The Braves are 19-5 in this span as Swanson made the permanent move to the top of the lineup. He has also been elite on the basepaths and defensive at shortstop. Swanson should start at shortstop for the National League All-Stars.

Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras

Contreras might be a two-time MLB All-Star already, but he is having his best season in 2022. He currently has career bests in on-base percentage and OPS+. He does lead the Majors with 14 hits by pitches, but he has a 10.6% walk rate fueling a .383 on-base percentage. Contreras has 2.5 bWAR in 64 games, and he has already surpassed his previous best in batting runs. The question with Contreras is not whether he will make it, but it is whether his brother will join him.

Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Stephenson

Stephenson is the best of an underwhelming bunch of Reds. He is slashing .305/.361/.468, good for an OPS+ of 120. He is on pace for 5.4 bWAR over 162 games, but he is currently on the injured list. If Stephenson is skipped because he is hurt, the National League could opt for Brandon Drury or Graham Ashcraft. Drury has mashed 15 home runs, and he has an OPS+ of 125. Ashcraft has an ERA+ of 145 across his first seven starts.

Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard

Bard is likely to accomplish the unique feat of celebrating his 37th birthday before making an MLB All-Star Game. As the closer for the Rockies, Bard has been nearly unhittable. He is allowing 4.4 hits per nine, and his WHIP of 0.942 is the best of his career. Bard has pitched to a 1.88 ERA and 252 ERA+. He is even striking out 11.0 batters per nine. He does have a bit of a walk issue, but he has allowed just two home runs in 28.2 innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Mookie Betts

Betts has been on the injured list, but his first 60 games are more than enough to be worthy of an All-Star selection. He has bashed 17 home runs en route to a .535 slugging percentage. Betts is on pace for another 7.0-WAR season, and he has been one of the most well-rounded players in the sport yet again. The Dodgers will be well represented at the home MLB All-Star Game, but Betts is the best pick. In his place, expect Trea Turner and several pitchers to wear the Dodger Blue.

Miami Marlins: Sandy Alcantara

Alcantara has been a throwback of sorts on the mound. He leads the Majors with 106.1 innings pitched in 15 starts. He is averaging just over seven innings per start, meaning he is likely to be one of a rare group to eclipse 200 innings. His strikeout rate is down, but he has career highs in ERA, ERA+, FIP, and WHIP. He has a 1.95 ERA, more than a run lower than his previous best. Assuming Alcantara makes the MLB All-Star Game, his cycle will be complete as he once made the All-Star Game as the Marlins’ lone rep. Now, he would be a headliner.

Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader

Hader has been elite for several seasons, but his 2022 season has been a masterpiece. Through 22 innings, he has allowed just three earned runs, good for a 1.19 ERA. He is striking out 15.1 batters per nine innings, and he has an ERA+ of 351. Hader leads the Majors with 22 saves, and his 0.662 WHIP is superhuman. Hader has scattered nine hits over his 22.2 innings pitched, good for an H/9 of 3.6.

New York Mets: Pete Alonso

Alonso leads the National League with 22 home runs. He also leads the Majors in runs batted in with 69 in 73 games. He is slashing .281/.360/.567 for a career-best 161 OPS+. For advanced metrics, Alonso ranks 10th in the National League in win probability added and fourth in championship win probability added. Few have been as influential to their team’s success as Alonso. He is likely second in the National League MVP race as several key contenders deal with injuries.

Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper

Speaking of injured stars, Harper will be out until August with a hand injury. Despite moving to designated hitter in the Phillies’ lineup, Harper was keeping pace with his 2021 MVP numbers. He slashed .318/.385/.599 with an OPS+ of 175 across 64 games. Without Harper, Kyle Schwarber is the most likely replacement. However, Harper is leading the fan vote at designated hitter, so he would satisfy the aforementioned MLB All-Star Game rule anyways.

Pittsburgh Pirates: David Bednar

Bednar is a modern anomaly. He has 10 multi-inning appearances already this season. He has turned these into five saves, two holds, and three wins. He has a trio of six-out saves, and he had a heart-stopping eight-out save on June 15. Across 35.1 innings, Bednar has surrendered a 1.78 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 238. He has a WHIP under 1.000 for the second season in a row, and he is striking out a career-best 12.5 batters per nine innings.

San Diego Padres: Joe Musgrove

Musgrove and Bednar landed in their current locations after being traded for each other, so the universe is equalling out as they are both likely All-Star nods. Musgrove has a 2.12 ERA across his first 85 innings. He is only striking out 8.7 batters per nine innings, but he has the lowest FIP, WHIP, H/9, and HR/9 of his career. His 1.9 walks per nine are the second-best of his career. He has an ERA+ of 182, and he is in the National League Cy Young race and an easy pick for the MLB All-Star Game.

San Francisco Giants: Joc Pederson

Pederson has made a career out of slugging, but he is in his best run of form ever. He has 17 home runs in 63 games, on pace to smash his career-best of 36 in 149 games. Pederson has the highest slugging percentage of his career with a robust .578. He has an ISO above .300 for the first time, and he has an 8.1% home run rate. Pederson has struggled defensively in left field (-5 DRS), but his offensive production is more than enough to make his second MLB All-Star Game.

St. Louis Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt has a pair of MVP runner-ups, but he is on pace to finally win the award in 2022. He leads the National League in runs, slugging percentage, and OPS+. He leads the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage, and total bases. As dominant as Goldschmidt has been for 12 seasons, he is in the middle of his best-ever run. He has 4.3 bWAR through 73 games, on pace for 9.5 WAR over 162 games. Goldschmidt won the May Player of the Month, and he could win the June award as well. He has been the best player in the National League since the season began.

Washington Nationals: Juan Soto

Entering 2022, Soto had a career 160 OPS+. He has only had a 137 OPS+ this season, but that is still tied for 13th in the National League. Despite being 70th out of 82 qualified hitters in batting average, Soto is ninth in the National League in on-base percentage. He leads the Majors in walks, and he is well on his way to a third season with at least 100 walks. Josh Bell might be more deserving of an MLB All-Star nod this season through 77 team games, but it would only take Soto a few swings to change that and launch himself into the MVP race as he did in 2021. Soto’s career second-half OPS is 131 points higher than his first-half OPS.

Who do you think will represent the National League at the MLB All-Star Game? Please let us know in the comments below!

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Ryan Potts is an avid football and baseball fan. He covers the NFL and Major League Baseball, focusing on the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Braves.