Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My 2014 NL All-Star Starting Lineup

Why is Gomez batting ninth when he's a superb leadoff hitter? (NYPost)
With the All-Star Game kicking off soon, I just wanted to give my two cents on the National League lineup after taking a look at the AL's last night. Mike Matheny has a great team here, one that's better than the American League squad on paper (both have eight righthanded hitters, one notices, but I have to admit I'm very puzzled by the bottom half of his order:

1. CF Andrew McCutchen--Cutch's combination of elite on-base skills (he leads the league in walks and ranks second in OB) and speed (15 steals without being caught yet) makes him the ideal leadoff hitter for this event. Terrific power too.

2. RF Yasiel Puig--Offensively he's just a lighter version of McCutchen. Blessed with great power, speed, and on-base ability, Puig's a pretty good table-setter.

3. SS Troy Tulowitzki--Tradition says the best hitter bats third, and there's no arguing that Tulowitzki hasn't been the best hitter in baseball this year. Tulo leads the majors in batting, OBP, and OPS in addition to having the NL's highest slugging percentage and most home runs.

4. 1B Paul Goldschmidt--Good spot for last year's National League home run and RBI leader.

5. DH Giancarlo Stanton--Can't wait to see what he has in store after the bombs he hit last night.

6. 3B Aramis Ramirez--A real headscratcher seeing as how he's clearly having a worse season than the guys filling the bottom two spots in the order.

7. 2B Chase Utley--See Ramirez, Aramis.

8. C Jonathan Lucroy--You're in good shape when you've got Lucroy, a .315/.385/.494 hitter this year, batting eighth.

9. LF Carlos Gomez--Typically bats leadoff, so hitting ninth has gotta be a real curveball for him. He's way too good to hit ninth though, a spot that should be reserved for Utley or Ramirez.

SP Adam Wainwright--Would have rather seen Clayton Kershaw, but Wainwright's not a bad consolation prize.

Here's how I would have assembled my lineup:

1. Gomez
2. McCutchen
3. Tulowitzki
4. Goldschmidt
5. Stanton
6. Puig
7. Lucroy
8. Utley
9. Ramirez

Stack the speed at the top with power and OBP throughout. Let Gomez, a natural leadoff hitter, bat first. Thought about Stanton at cleanup. Gotta stick the older, weaker hitters at the bottom.

My Prediction: National League wins 4-2.

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