Like they did with the American League All-Star game voting, fans have done a good job so far voting for the All-Stars in the National League. The first round of voting figures for the NL were released Wednesday, and Troy Tulowitzki is rightly the top vote-getter.
If the voting ended today, these would be the NL starters:
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has the second-most overall votes and there's a surprise at No. 3 overall — Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who has had a great year, hitting .321 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.
It's always nice to see a player who isn't a huge name do well in something that's such a popularity contest, though some of Blackmon's success here is because Rockies fans are voting like crazy. Notice how Nolan Arenado, Justin Morneau and even Michael Cuddyer (who has played only 24 games) are also doing well.
One more note on the starters: Anybody surprised to see Ryan Braun doing so well, considering his suspension last season for PEDs? A signal of forgiveness is public All-Star voting, it would appear.
When you look at this longer list of vote-getters, there are some players who aren't getting their due from voters. Since there's still time to vote (the deadline is July 3), here's The Stew's list of five NL players who aren't getting enough love:
1. YASIEL PUIG
Unlike last year, where there were valid reasons Yasiel Puig shouldn't have been an All-Star, he totally deserves the nod this year. He's the most exciting player in baseball and this is a showcase game. Best believe he'd be good for TV. Puig is fifth among NL outfielders, but he should be higher. As much as it's nice to see Blackmon get some love, Puig is a better across-the-board player. Puig had a slowish start to the season, so that might be why he's only fifth, but he's been absolutely raking since the start of May. The result: .346/.445/.615 on the season, with 10 homers and 38 RBIs.
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2. JONATHAN LUCROY
Before you St. Louis Cardinals fans freak out, I'm not suggesting that Jonathan Lucroy displace Yadier Molina as the starting catcher in the NL. Simply, I'm saying that Lucroy deserves better than fourth in the voting. Lucroy's third in the NL in hits, slashing .332/.400/.489. He's the best offensive catcher in the league and he's been a big part of the surprising success of the Milwaukee Brewers.
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3. SETH SMITH
If you head over to Fangraphs and look up NL hitters by WAR, you'll see that only three of the would-be NL All-Star starters — Tulo, McCutchen and Utley — rank higher than Seth Smith of the San Diego Padres. Smith isn't a flashy player and isn't a huge name, but he's been plenty effective for the Padres since coming over in a winter trade. He's slashing .315/.413/.568 with six homers and 20 RBis. Those numbers aren't going to make him a starter, but they're sure worth Smith making the Top 15 over Matt Kemp and Bryce Harper.
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4. PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT
How is Goldschmidt fifth among first basemen? Sure, there's a lot of talent at the position, but fifth!? Let's just compare Goldschmidt and leading vote-getter Adrian Gonzalez:
Goldschmidt: .302/.356/.526 with 65 hits, 38 runs, nine homers, 34 RBIs.
Gonzalez: .273/.344/.515 with 54 hits, 28 runs, 12 homers and 36 RBIs.
Make whatever value judgment you want about those numbers, but we should all agree on this: There's no reason Goldschmidt should be No. 5 if Gonzalez is No. 1.
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5. DANIEL MURPHY
Chase Utley deserves to start at second base for the NL, no argument there. But Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets deserves to be somewhere on the list. He's tied atop the NL with 65 hits and he's slashing .313/.364/.431. There's not another NL second baseman hitting above .300.
YOUR TURN: Which NL players deserve some more love from All-Star voters? Tell us in the comments.
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