2013 MLB All-Star Game: Predicting the NL’s Starting Lineup

With the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game taking place on July 16th, it’s time to take a look at who’s likely to be starting. Voters get to choose the starting fielders; pitchers are chosen by managers, and reserves are chosen by managers and players.

The vote totals shown in this article were from the last tally, which was taken on June 23rd.

Here are predictions for the NL’s starting lineup:

Catcher – Buster Posey

June 30, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) hits a single against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The race for catcher is coming down to a choice between Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. As of the last tally, Molina was leading Posey by only about 90,000 votes. I think Posey will win the vote and overtake Molina for three main reasons.

The first is hitting. Yadier Molina may have a higher batting average (.345 to Posey’s .322), but Posey has six more home runs (12) four more RBIs (48) and a higher On Base Percentage (.397 to Molina’s .387).

The second reason is how they have recently performed. If we look at the past seven days, we see that Posey’s stats are far favorable to Molina’s. He has a .476 batting average compared to Molina’s .238. In their current game against the Rockies, Posey went 1-4 at the plate, hitting a home run. Molina went hittless in his last outting against the Oakland Athletics.

The third reason is because I think people will take Yadier Molina’s “better stats” from behind the plate with a grain of salt. Take Posey’s three passed balls compared to Molina’s one. First of all, they are very low numbers, and second of all, the St. Louis bullpen has performed better than the Giants’ bullpen has. The better bullpen performance can also explain the higher percentage of steals against Posey (.212 caught stealing) versus Molina (.429 caught stealing).

First Base – Paul Goldschmidt

The vote for first base is tight between Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt, but I think Paul Goldschmidt should, and will, win the vote for the starting role at first base. There was a lot of talk preseason speculation about Votto being an MVP candidate; this may be what’s contributing to his lead in the latest vote tally (2,677,813 for Votto and 2,270,866 for Goldschmidt).

Votto has a slightly higher batting average than Goldschmidt (.326 to .306) and a slightly higher OBP (.439 to .386). Goldschmidt, however, has 19 home runs to Votto’s 14, and Goldschmidt has 67 RBIs to Votto’s 38. Goldschmidt has also batted .348 over his last seven games; Votto has batted .250 over his last seven games.

Second Base – Brandon Phillips

The voting for second base has been another close race. Brandon Phillips lead the latest vote tally with 2,597,742 votes, while Scutaro had 2,272,484 votes. Scutaro has a higher batting average than Phillips (.319 to .268), but he has far fewer RBIs (18 to Phillip’s 61) and home runs (2 to Phillips 11). Phillips has struggled throughout June, but he has battled .308 in his last seven games. Perhaps the biggest factor is injury. Scutaro found his way to the DL with an injury to his pinky finger on June 12th.

He has since returned from that injury; however, he is currently listed as day-to-day and did not play today’s game against the Rockies due to a back injury. Phillips, on the other hand, is quite healthy

Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki 

Troy Tulowitzki had a large lead in the voting at the last tally (3,104,285)—almost twice as the Giants’ Brandon Crawford (1,757,255). Tulowitzki is batting .347, with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs. He is currently on the DL for 15 days, but with the All-Star game being played on the 16th of July, he should easily be ready to play in time

Third Base – David Wright

June 30, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) in the dugout against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports

David Wright was leading Pablo Sandoval in the votes 2,917,819 to 2,788,988 at the last tally. Even though it’s a close race and I personally like Sandoval, Wright is having the better season.

The Mets may be struggling, but Wright is batting .304 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs. Sandoval is only batting .274 with 8 home runs and 37 RBIs. Over their last seven games, Wright has batted .350 compared to Sandoval’s dismal .105.

Outfield – Carlos Beltran, Justin Upton, Bryce Harper

Carlos Beltran had almost a million more votes than Justin Upton at the last tally with 3,473,030 (Upton had 2.453,531). Beltran is batting .308, has 19 home runs, and 50 RBIs. It is unlikely that two players will overtake Upton by the end of the voting. He has struggled at times this season, and not hit consistently, but fans know what Upton is capable of it he gets hot.

Bryce Harper (2,362,965 votes) is my third prediction for starting outfielder. He has about 300,000 more votes than Carlos Gonzalez, who is in fourth place in the voting.

Gonzalez may have better stats in batting average (.296 compared to .287), home runs (22 compared to 12), and RBIs (60 compared to 23), but I don’t think he’ll catch Harper in the votes. The reason is that Harper has a lead and has been on the DL. Now that he’s back, he’ll be productive again and amass a greater number of votes as a result

Pitcher – Patrick Corbin

It’s not as easy to pick the who’s going to be the starting pitcher since there isn’t a popular vote to go by, but Patrick Corbin does stand out. He stands out due to his 2.22 ERA, 6.98 strikeouts per nine innings, and 9-0 record. I believe a pitcher who hasn’t lost a game yet this season deserves to start for the All-Star Game.

Topics: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, MLB, MLB All-Star Game, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals

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