Tagged: Ryan Braun

It’s the All-Star Game, not Homecoming.

Fans of Major League Baseball usually treat the “Mid-Summer Classic” as a way of seeing all of their favorite baseball players, whether they deserve to be there or not. This season appears to be no exception. That is at least for fans of the National League.


I am of the school of thought that the All-Star Game is an honor that should go to players whose stats during the first half of the season make them deserving of such an honor. Recently, the fan vote has been making this game a popularity contest (for the most part). I has been apparent that Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies fans have either been more heard or more biased than the rest of baseball.


I won’t get into an argument about this being a game for the fans vs. having the best team regardless of stats with it deciding home field advantage in the World Series. I will however, argue with some of the most recent leaders in positions for both league.

First Base:
American League– Maybe the most talent-filled position in all of baseball. If you were to tell me that The one two spots would have a difference of about only 300,000 I would say that made sense. However, if you told me that second place belonged to Mark Teixeira of the Yankees I would have to shake my head in shame. Justin Morneau of the Twins, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Paul Konerko of the White Sox, Billy Butler of the Royals and Kevin Youkilis (to name a few) are all more deversant than Tex to have a spot at the All-Star Game.

Leader- Justin Morneau, Twins.
My pick- Justin Morneau, Twins.

National League– Much like with the American League, this might be the position with the most players deserving on a bid. Albert Pujols of the Cardinals is always going to be the leader because he is the best player in the league. However, one can argue that Adrian Gonzalez (Padres), Joey Votto (Reds), and Ryan Howard (Phillies) all have better numbers than Pujols.

Leader- Albert Pujols, Cardinals.
My pick- Joey Votto, Reds.

Second Base:
American League– This might be the biggest runaway race in any position in the bigs. The Yankee’s Robinson Cano is the only player worth mentioning.

Leader- Robinson Cano, Yankees.
My pick- Robinson Cano, Yankees.

National League– Fan favorite Chase Utley of the Phillies is running away with this race in the polls. However, he is not having a season worth of a trip to Anaheim this summer. Martin Prado of the Braves is leading the league in hitting and Brandon Phillips of the Reds is having  an Utley-like year so far. With Utley on the disabled list, the deserving player should get the nod afterall.

Leader- Chase Utley, Phillies.
My pick- Martin Prado, Braves.

Third Base:
American League– Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays is quickly becoming the best player in baseball. The former Rookie of the Year is opening eyes and becoming the new face of baseball. That being said, Adrian Beltre of the Red Sox (No, he didn’t retire, he just played in Seattle for five seasons) is putting up some ridiculous numbers for a team that has desperately needed a rock in the middle of the line up to help Kevin Youkilis. Alex Rodriguez  of the Yankees and Michael Young of the Rangers are up to their usual ways as well.

Leader- Evan Longoria, Rays.
My pick- Adrian Beltre, Red Sox.

National League– This one of the cases I was talking about earlier. The Phillies’ Placido Polanco is putting up some good number but Scott Rolen (Reds), David Wright (Mets), and Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals) are all more deserving of the honor to start. Polanco is on the dl so that means that a more deserving player will start.

Leader- Placido Polanco, Phillies.
My pick- David Wright, Mets.

Shortstop:
American League– As usual, Derek Jeter of the Yankees has a huge lead. As usual, that should not be the case.

Leader- Derek Jeter, Yankees.
My pick- Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays.

National League– For a while, Jimmy Rollins (Phillies) had been leading at short. The only problem is that he had only played 12 games. The most deserving player is Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies), but he is disabled so it appears that the starter will be Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) once again.

Leader- Hanley Ramirez, Marlins.
My pick- Hanley Ramirez, Marlins.
Catcher:
American League– It is always hard to argue against the reigning MVP. Joe Mauer of the Twins is leading in voting, and deservingly so. The only two catcher’s whose numbers pop out are Victor Martinez (Indians) and Joe Buck (Blue Jays). Martinez is on the dl, so Buck should at least be the back up.
Leader- Joe Mauer, Twins.
My pick- Joe Mauer, Twins.

National League– Last update, the leader was Yadier Molina of the Cardinals. Quite frankly, with a batting average of .240 any other catcher in the league is more deserving than him. Molina shouldn’t be starting for his team, much less the National League. The truth is that Miguel Olivo of the Rockies is by the far the best offensive catcher this season, and no one but him should be starting this game.
Leader- Yadier Molina, Cardinals.
My pick- Miguel Olivo, Rockies.
Outfield:
American League– No arguments here.
Leaders- Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Carl Crawford, Rays.
My pick- Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. Josh Hamilton, Rangers. Carl Crawford, Rays.
National League– Jason Heyward (Braves) was a leader, but he stated he won’t play if picked. Ryan Braun (Brewers) has alright numbers, but he is just there because he is a fan favorite.
Leaders- Ryan Braun, Brewers. Jason Heyward, Braves. Andre Ethier, Dodgers.
My picks- Andre Ethier, Dodgers. Marlon Byrd, Cubs. Jayson Werth, Phillies.
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2010 NL Central Predictions

Today I will talk about the division that hits closest to home: The National League Central.
I am not shy about saying that I am a die-hard Cubs fan. In fact, I am currently wearing my Cubs hat. I might be drinking the Cubby kool-aid, but I have high expectations for this team. Marlon Byrd hit a home run in his first plate appearance as a Cub and although I don’t think that he will be a huge home run hitter for the Cubs, I do think that his production will more that double what Milton Bradley did last year for Chicago. Consistency will be a issue for Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Geovanny Soto, and Alfonso Soriano. However if all of these players perfrom to even close to their abilities, the Cubs will be a force in the division. There are a lot of questions in the end of the rotation and throughout the bullpen, but I think that once Ted Lilly and Jeff Grey come back some of those questions will be answered. Another big key is that Carlos Silva can have a year similar to his years as Twin. If Silva can anywhere near that, the Cubs will have a solid 1-5.
The St. Louis Cardinals remain the team to beat, no doubt about that. However, I do not think that they are the hands-on favorite that most people think they are. yeah they have Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, but after them the rotation is pretty thin. Yadier Molina, Brandon Ryan, Skip Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick are nice hitters–but they are not star players. Albert Pujols is the best hitter in the league, and Matt Holliday is a very good hitter. That being said, the Cards have very little deph, and if one star player gets hurt they will be in trouble. Also, I do not think that Dennys Reyes, Jason Motte, and Ryan Franklin will ever be confused for the “Nasty Boys” of the Cincinnati Reds in the early ’90s.
That is called a segue, folks. Next is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have a lot of good young players in Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Chris Dickerson. They also have good young pitchers in Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, and Aroldis Chapman (who is currently in the minors.) However, with Edinson Volquez out for most of the season, i do not think the reds have enough to be serious contenders this season. Especially with a 1-2 punch of Aaron Harrang and Bronson Arroyo.
The Milwaukee have two of the most feared hitters in the league in Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. They have a good young shortstop in Alcides Escobar. They also have an young up-and-coming pitcher in Yovani Gallardo. Another plus for them is that they have the all-time leader in saves, Trevor Hoffman. Unfortunately, that is all that they have. I do not think that Ricky Weeks will stay healthy, so their offense is pretty limited.
The Houston Astros do not have a lot going for them. Lance Berkman is hurt and their rotation after Wandy Rodriguez is awful. Carlos Lee has been a very good hitter for about a decade. Also, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn emerged last season, but the Astros are in no way, shape, or form a powerhouse. 
The Pittsburgh Pirates are still the Pittsburgh Pirates. Garret Jones and Andrew McCutchen are fun young players to watch, but they won’t be in Pittsburgh for long. The Pirates will most likely not have a fire sale at the dead line again. That is hard to imagine since they basically traded away their whole roster the past two years.
Prediction:
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1. Cardinals
2. Cubs*
3. Brewers
4. Reds
5. Pirates
6. Astros
I have the Cubs winning the National League WIld Card.