Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
All-Star Rosters: NL
2005-07-11 12:46
by Cliff Corcoran

Late last week I attempted to assemble a superior 32-man All-Star Roster for the American League given the fans' elected starting line-up and the requirement that every team be represented. With the All-Star game almost upon us, here's my take on the National League:

First the starting line-up selected by the fans:

C - Mike Piazza
1B - Derrek Lee
2B - Jeff Kent
3B - Scott Rolen
SS - David Eckstein
OF - Bobby Abreu
OF - Jim Edmonds
OF - Carlos Beltran

Then the starters I voted for not included above:

C - Paul LoDuca
3B - Aramis Ramirez
SS - Bill Hall
OF - Jason Bay
OF - Miguel Cabrera

Then the two players I had the most difficulty eliminating to make my original picks:

3B - Morgan Ensberg
OF - Brian Giles

Next we'll fill in players from the teams not yet represented:

Nationals: 1B - Nick Johnson
Braves: OF - Andruw Jones
Reds: OF - Adam Dunn
Diamondbacks: 3B - Troy Glaus
Giants: OF - Moises Alou
Rockies: RP - Brian Fuentes

Now, in addition to all of that, we need a starting DH as, unlike the American League, the fans were not able to vote for a National League Designated Hitter because there is no such thing. Albert Pujols is second in the NL in EQA and VORP but didn't make it through any of the above methods. He's our starting DH, one of our four third basemen or nine outfielders can be his back-up, giving us a minimum of two men at every offensive position except for second base. I'll take Chase Utley there.

That gives us 22 men, but just one pitcher, so we need to fill out the rest of the roster with hurlers. The top six NL starters according to VORP are:

Roger Clemens
Dontrelle Willis
Roy Oswalt
Chris Carpenter
Pedro Martinez
John Smoltz

The top four NL relievers according to VORP are:

Chad Cordero
Dan Wheeler
Todd Jones
Roberto Hernandez

That gives us 33 men. My AL squad had twelve pitchers. Thus far I have only 11 NL pitchers, thus I need to cut a hitter. The most obvious place to do so would be third base, where my roster is four deep, but Rolen, who is the most obvious cut, was voted in by the fans and Troy Glaus, the second best option, is the only Diamondback on my roster. I refuse to get rid of Aramis Ramirez or Morgan Ensberg. Instead, I'll drop one of my nine outfielders.

Carlos Beltran would be the most obvious choice, but again, the fans voted him in, so I'm stuck with him. Abreu and Edmonds also came via the fan vote. Jason Bay, Brian Giles, Adam Dunn and Moises Alou are their team reps. Miguel Cabrera should be starting and Andruw Jones is the major league home run leader. This will take some finagling. I'm going to swap out Giles for his teammate Jake Peavy and punt Roberto Hernandez from the roster, keeping me at eleven pitchers and one Padre, but reducing my outfield to eight men.

This actually makes Giles a victim of his home park, as by all adjusted stats he's been far more productive than Andruw Jones, who could have been cut without the finagling, but I just can't leave behind a player with Jones' defensive reputation and league-leading counting stats when Giles's team can offer a worthy pitcher to replace him (something that's not true of Bay, Dunn, Alou and Glaus).

That gives us this 32-man roster:

1B - Derrek Lee, Nick Johnson
2B - Jeff Kent, Chase Utley
SS - David Eckstein, Bill Hall
3B - Scott Rolen, Aramis Ramirez, Morgan Ensberg, Troy Glaus
C - Mike Piazza, Paul LoDuca
OF - Bobby Abreu, Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Jason Bay, Andruw Jones, Adam Dunn, Moises Alou
DH - Albert Pujols
SP - Roger Clemens, Dontrelle Willis, Roy Oswalt, Chris Carpenter, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Jake Peavy
RP - Chad Cordero, Dan Wheeler, Todd Jones, Brian Fuentes

Here's how the actual roster chosen by the fans, players and NL Manager Tony LaRussa differes from mine:

Luis Castillo was chosen over Chase Utley
Cesar Izturis* was chosen over Bill Hall
Felipe Lopez was chosen over Troy Glaus
Carlos Lee was chose over Nick Johnson
Luis Gonzalez was chosen over Adam Dunn
Livan Hernandez was chosen over Todd Jones
Jason Isringhausen was chosen over Dan Wheeler
Brad Lidge was chosen over Morgan Ensberg**

subsequent to the rosters being announced the following changes were made due to injury:

*replaced by Jimmy Rollins (not Bill Hall)
**replaced Scott Rolen, who opted not to participate to rest his shoulder, Ramirez will start at third

Also, Pedro Martinez opted not to participate and was replaced by Billy Wagner. In the AL, would-be starter Roy Halladay was injured and replaced by Matt Clement

Although the fans did a better job of choosing the AL Starters, the NL players and Tony LaRussa did a much better job than their AL counterparts of filling in the remainder of the roster given the unfortunate choices of Beltran, Eckstein, and Rolen, none of whom should be on the roster, let alone starting. Unfortunately, LaRussa perpetuated that trend by selecting his own Chris Carpenter to start in place of the far more worthy Clemens or Willis while Terry Francona properly tabbed Mark Buehlre to replace the injured Halladay as the AL starter.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.