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MLB All-Star Game 2013: The 2013 BtBS NL All-Star Starters

The Beyond the Box Score staff has voted, and now we're presenting this year's NL All-Star Game starters!


On Monday, we here at Beyond the Box Score revealed our selections for the 2013 All-Star Game's American League starters. Today, it's the Senior Circuit's turn. After all, nothing's more fun than arguing over who's the best in the league at their respective position!

So let's go over our what criteria I asked our writers to use when deciding on this year's All-Stars. Spoiler alert -- it's the same as for the American League.

  • All-Star selection should be based primarily on objective analysis of on-field performance during the first half of the 2013 season.
  • Secondary considerations for All-Star selection can include, at your discretion: objective analysis of on-field performance during the second half of the 2012 season, a player's "true talent level", career accomplishments, or other factors.
  • Each team will have a starting designated hitter voted on. Criteria for voting this DH will not be limited to players who have played the DH position primarily this season -- this position is open to any hitter. Therefore this could be the best player who did not receive a starting spot at another position, or the best hitter in the league with defensive shortcomings, or a player who spent the brunt of his plate appearances as an actual designated hitter, etc.
  • Outfield positions will be broken down into LF / CF / RF as opposed to just placing three outfielders on each team. Given the differences between the three positions, this feels appropriate.
  • Each team will also have a starting pitcher voted on to the team. This pitcher is, presumably, the starter considered the best in his respective league at this time.

We good? Good. Let's start revealing our starters and the vote results.

National League First Baseman: Joey Votto

So, uh, this Votto guy can hit. I mean, I think we all know this by now, but still, sometimes his hitting ability even surprises the folks who watch him most often. By now you must have heard it all about his elite batting eye, his ridiculous hit tool, and his complete and utter inability to hit an infield fly. But he's also providing a bit more power than he did last season, and hitting about 63% better than the league average. Nice.

Don't look now, but Paul Goldschmidt is gaining on Votto both in terms of elite offensive production, as well as votes for this spot in our All-Star hearts. It is very cool to see the Snakes' new face of the franchise take off in such a way -- and I have a feeling we'll see him again before we're done with our All-Star starters.

Vote Breakdown: Joey Votto (13 votes), Paul Goldschmidt (8 votes)

Photo credit: Bob Levey

National League Second Baseman: Matt Carpenter

I'm not entirely sure any player short of Chris Davis has "emerged" in the same way that Matt Carpenter has this year. Going into the season, the versatile Carpenter got a shot at the everyday second base job for the Cardinals, and he's acquitted himself with flying colors. By all accounts he's taken to the position very well for a bigger guy with little middle infield experience, and that's quite valuable.

However, it's his bat that's making him a potential superstar. The Cardinals knew he could hit, thanks to a solid performance in 2012, but what he's doing in 2013 is stellar. Carpenter is posting a .322/.403/.472 triple-slash line and is the catalyst for a dangerous St. Louis offense. Though he's not hitting for premium power, an on-base percentage like that in this offensive environment is, well, offensive to opposing pitchers. He wins this vote in a true landslide.

Vote Breakdown: Matt Carpenter (19 votes), Brandon Phillips (1 vote), Jedd Gyorko (1 vote)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Third Baseman: David Wright

David Wright is one of the few true unanimous selections to either of our All-Star teams, but has every right to be the clear choice at third base. Not only is Wright hitting remarkably well (for further documentation, check out Sunday's four-hit, 11-total-bases performance), he's been one of the best baserunners in baseball this season, just adding to his already-considerable overall value. His Bsr score -- which includes stolen base runs and runs from taking extra bases, etc. -- is already 4.4 on the season, putting him closer to the company of guys like Mike Trout and Everth Cabrera than your average 3B.

Vote Breakdown: David Wright (21 votes)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki

Tulo hasn't been completely healthy over the past two years, and may continue to pose a health risk for the rest of his career. He's currently out of commission with a rib issue, and may soon lose the "Qualified for Batting Title" tag.

But who cares when you ball like this?

Troy is quietly having the best season of his career, posting 16 homers, a .441 wOBA, and 3.9 fWAR in just 252 plate appearances. Not even emergent seasons from Everth Cabrera and Jean Segura can top Tulo right now. The only thing that can stop Troy Tulowitzki is his own body, and I really hope he stays healthy and continues to play at the level he's capable of.

Vote Breakdown: Troy Tulowitzki (15 votes), Everth Cabrera (3 votes), Jean Segura (3 votes)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Catcher: Yadier Molina

I've got to be honest, I'm shocked by this one. I thought it'd at least be closer between Molina and Posey. Both of these guys are all-around beasts at the toughest position in baseball, providing significant offense, solid defense, and leadership to winning ballclubs.

But when we talk about Yadier Molina, I suppose "solid defense" doesn't begin to cover it. Yadi is basically the gold standard when it comes to backstops, doing everything well from game-calling to pitch blocking to framing to controlling the running game. Though Posey, the reigning NL MVP, may have a slightly better stick (Molina is now leading Posey in wRC+, but he's benefiting from a .380 BABIP) Yadi's glove-bat combo makes him a transcendent talent and an All-Star starter in our book.

Vote Breakdown: Yadier Molina (17 votes), Buster Posey (4 votes)

Photo credit: Dustin Bradford

National League Left Fielder: Carlos Gonzalez

Without all that much fanfare, CarGo has put up a phenomenal season in left field for the Rockies, making him the second ASG starter for the team and another unanimous selection among BtBS writers. With 21 homers at the time of publication, Carlos needs just two more to surpass his entire total from last season -- and that 2012 season was no slouch either. With all those dingers, plus 13 steals, he stands a pretty decent chance of joining the 30-30 club in 2013, something he's been flirting with ever since his first full season in 2010. Don't look now, but between Tulo and CarGo, the Rockies have an offensive one-two punch that could rival even the Larry Walker-Andres Galarraga combo from 1997.

Vote Breakdown: Carlos Gonzalez (21 votes)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Center Fielder: Carlos Gomez

It's a two-Carlos lineup! Two Carloses (Carlii?) for everyone!

In 2012, Carlos Gomez really started to flash some plus power, something that prospect watchers had hoped for ever since he came up with the Mets and was dealt for Johan Santana. In 2013, Gomez has really exploded onto the scene, pairing his speed and defense with a newly-potent bat (151 wRC+) and real, ultimate power. With twelve homers already in the books, Gomez has miraculously taken the title of "best hitter on the Brewers" away from Ryan Braun for the time being. If you would've guessed that would happen this year before the season, well, you should write a book.

On an aside, Shin-Soo Choo, who doesn't often make outs, picked a tough year to transition to center field. He didn't get much love from the voting pool despite a .421 OBP, which is a testament to Gomez ... and Choo's awful defense up the middle.

Vote Breakdown: Carlos Gomez (19 votes), Shin-Soo Choo (2 votes)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Right Fielder: Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence is really weird, you guys. And against all odds, especially considering how horrible his second half of 2012 was (more like Hunted Pence, amirite?), Pence has re-emerged as a better-than-average right fielder this season for the Giants. Pence is stealing bases like never before in his career, while adding power and playing solid defense in the outfield.

Notice a pattern here among the NL outfielders? All of the guys selected as starters are in double figures in homers and steals, and play solid-to-great defense at their positions. These well-rounded players are the very definition of All-Stars.

Vote Breakdown: Hunter Pence (14 votes), Shin-Soo Choo (3 votes), Carlos Beltran (2 votes), Gerardo Parra (1 vote), Jay Bruce (1 vote)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Designated Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt

Get ready for some controversy! So, given our odd voting situation for NL DH, we're going to plug Goldschmidt in here. Joey Votto tied for the most votes of any candidate, but he received *more* votes to be the starting first baseman. Every single person who voted for Votto here, chose Goldschmidt at the NL first baseman, so we're going to go ahead and add Votto's votes to Goldschmidt's -- even though Goldyknocks already had this one won with Votto out of the picture.

Oh, and yeah, Goldschmidt is a pretty great hitter. He's become the class of his league, for certain. So this works.

Vote Breakdown: Paul Goldschmidt (7 votes*), Joey Votto (7 votes*), Domonic Brown (2 votes), Bryce Harper (1 vote), Shin-Soo Choo (1 vote), Ryan Braun (1 vote), Andrew McCutchen (1 vote), Buster Posey (1 vote)

Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

National League Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright

The Adam Wainwright plan for pitching success is simple: strike out a bunch of guys (23.3 K%), limit homers (four given up all season), and never, EVER walk anyone (eight non-intentional walks this year). This plan, perfected a couple of years ago by Cliff Lee, works even better if you can also play for an excellent team that allows you to rack up a boatload of wins at the same time.

Yeah, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey may both have more exciting stuff, but when it comes to results like outs, innings pitched, and team games won, he's the class of the league at this point in the season.

Though ... he may want to check his rear view mirror. Mets phenom Matt Harvey has simply dominated since entering the league, and he could overtake Wainwright's impressive rate stats before we make it to the All-Star break.

Vote Breakdown: Adam Wainwright (12 votes), Clayton Kershaw (5 votes), Matt Harvey (4 votes)

So there you have it. As with the American League, you can find the ballots for all of our staff voters here, in a Google Doc.

And, as I did for the AL, I've created a potential starting lineup (optimized by The Book as best as I can) for this National League All-Star team.

National League Starting Lineup

  • Matt Carpenter - 2B
  • Joey Votto - 1B
  • David Wright - 3B
  • Troy Tulowitzki - SS
  • Carlos Gonzalez - LF
  • Paul Goldschmidt - DH
  • Yadier Molina - C
  • Hunter Pence - RF
  • Carlos Gomez - CF

So what do you think? In the comments below, we want to hear from our readers. Do you have a particular starter vote that you'd like to see explained? How about a player who was left off a ballot -- do you want to know why? Leave us a comment below, or hit us up on Twitter, and our writers will respond to you with their reasoning.

And look for more posts next week -- including the first round of reserves for both squads!

. . .

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

Bryan Grosnick is the Managing Editor of Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter @bgrosnick.