Unless a late voting surge changed the direction of All Star Game balloting, the Chicago Cubs will have an overwhelming presence at the July 12 showcase in San Diego, with as many as five of the eight elected National League starters possibly coming from the NL Central leaders. And that doesn’t even count likely starting pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Plenty of obvious choices will populate the rosters of both teams when they’re announced Tuesday, including the likes of Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Mike Trout, David Ortiz and Jose Altuve. On the pitching side, Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester, Johnny Cueto, Chris Sale and Cole Hamels are locks as well.
But several of the 68 available spots should be filled by players with a lower profile who have proven themselves among baseball’s best over the first three months of the season. Cheap Jerseys free shipping Here’s the case for a number of the lesser known deserving candidates:
National LeagueJake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks
Lamb did not appear among the top five NL vote getters at third base in the last voting update released a week ago, yet he had the league’s second highest on base plus slugging percentage (.974) going into Monday’s games. His 19 homers and 58 RBI rank third at the position, but he’s in a tough field with Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado also enjoying banner seasons, and Matt Carpenter (now playing second) also in the mix.
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
It may sound silly to suggest a pitcher with a 3 7 record deserves to be an All Star, until you realize Teheran has the NL’s second lowest WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) at 0.93 and is holding hitters to the fifth lowest batting average at .197. He also ranks in the top five in innings pitched with 112 2/3 and has pitched to a 2.72 ERA, but is stuck on the league’s worst team.
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Aledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals
Part of a bumper crop of slugging rookie shortstops that includes Trevor Story and Corey Seager, Diaz leads all players at his position with a .907 OPS. That’s stunning considering the Cuban defector was taken off the Cardinals’ 40 man roster almost exactly a year ago, before getting reinstated in November. Diaz has been a revelation offensively with a .317 batting average, 11 homers and 42 RBI, but his case is hampered both by his league high 14 errors and the stiff competition he faces. Smooth fielding Brandon Crawford leads all NL shortstops with 53 RBI, Story has driven in 50 and belted 19 homers, and they both trail the Cubs’ Addison Russell in the voting.
Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
Even avid baseball fans could be forgiven for seeing the Ramos name near the top of the race for the batting crown and wondering who he was. Ramos, 28, had never hit better than .275 over a full season, yet his .343 average trails only teammate Daniel Murphy’s .348 mark. Ramos also has a .961 OPS and leads all NL catchers with 13 homers and 46 RBI, making him a strong candidate to earn a nod even if Buster Posey or Yadier Molina wins the popular vote.
Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
Ozuna has bounced back from his miserable 2015 season, which included a demotion to the minors, to deliver production more in tune with his talent. The Marlins center fielder ranks fourth among NL outfielders in OPS (.911) and in home runs (tied, 17) while batting .311. Ozuna was stuck at 14th in the latest vote, and he faces competition from other underappreciated outfielders like the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gregory Polanco (.875 OPS) and the Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Duvall (22 home runs, 58 RBI), but Ozuna may have the strongest overall case.
American LeagueFrancisco Lindor is occasionally spectacular in the field and has a .356 on base percentage for the Indians. (Photo: Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports)Not a single Indians player appeared among the top five in his position when the latest voting update was released a week ago, a regrettable development considering the club was in the midst of a 14 game winning streak and led the AL Central for nearly all of June.
The Indians’ rotation leads the league in ERA and should be well represented with the likes of Danny Salazar (10 3, 2.22 ERA) and Josh Tomlin (9 1, 3.21), but some of their position players merit consideration as well. Chief among them are brilliant shortstop Francisco Lindor, an MVP candidate batting .300 with 10 homers, and unlikely leadoff hitter Carlos Santana, whose 18 homers and .342 on base percentage make up for his .245 batting average.
Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox
One of the few bright spots on the Red Sox rotation, the 31 year old knuckleballer earned a starting spot because of injuries in spring training and has come through with the best season of his career. Wright owns the second best ERA in the league at 2.42 about half of David Price’s 4.78 mark and he ranks in the top 10 in innings (108) and wins (9).
Eduardo Nunez, Minnesota Twins
As long as the woebegone Twins must be represented, it might as well be Nunez doing the honors. a href=”http://www.cheapnfljerseysonsale.top/” target=”_blank”>cheapnfljerseysonsale He would certainly give AL manager Ned Yost some flexibility. Nunez, who has split time evenly between shortstop and third base, can also play second and the outfield. And he’s enjoying a breakthrough season, already setting career highs with 11 home runs and 34 RBI while batting .319 with 19 steals.
Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays
Not the first player or even the first pitcher anybody thinks about when pondering the Blue Jays, Estrada has been a model of consistency, completing at least six innings in all but two of his 16 starts. He has experienced recent back soreness that may render him unavailable for the All Star Game, but his 2.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP both among the top five in the league make him a deserving candidate.