In this post, I give my analysis for each matchup in the starting lineup for the NL and the AL All Stars. The rosters are posted below.
First, I have to look at the catchers. It is hard to argue that Yadi is not the best defensive catcher in baseball. Throwing out 46% of base-stealers and making incredible plays at the plate help him dominate the game. Offensively, I have to give the advantage to Wieters. He matches Yadi in homers and has a .308 batting average. I would argue that, overall, the two are evenly matched.
At first base, Miguel Cabrera has been explosive. Goldschmidt seems to have come out of nowhere being from a weak Arizona ballclub. I have to give the advantage to Cabrera who was a fantasy-projected #1 at the beginning of the year, but the difference between first basemen is not substantial.
At second base is a classic battle of experience verses youth. Cano is having a good year, not by his own standards, but a good year in baseball. Cano is still young and has many years left in his super-contract. Utley has the experience. He is only batting consistently around .280, but he is a solid player. This year, I give the advantage to Cano—but over a career of achievement, I give the edge to Utley.
The biggest disparity comes in at short stop. Troy Tulowitski’s stats blow Jeter’s out of the water. In every major batting stat- OBP, SLUG, HR, BA etc. Tulowitski dominates Jeter. Clearly the AL voted him to the All Star Game for his experience in previous years. The Yankee does not stand a chance. Tulowitski has a heavy advantage, which is huge for the NL.
Third base is provable the least exciting matchup in the All Star Game. Donaldson and Ramirez are clearly two of the better 3B’s in baseball. However, voting was extremely low at third showing very little interest. Aramis Ramirez is having a solid year with a .281 BA and 11 homers. Donaldson is a .237 batter but with 19 home runs. The third base matchup should be a sleeper, I call it a draw.
In the outfield, there is a lot to account for. I attribute a lot of success in the outfield to experience. Of the two sets, the AL is more balanced. The NL is extremely young with vibrant, energetic, and often ridiculous characters (Puig). The NL’s outfield could have an incredible outing; they could have a terrible outing. There is much up in the air. By contrast, the AL is solid with three solid outfielders. I give the AL the advantage unless the NL outfield is on top of their game. Hopefully we get to see a few bat flips.
Finally, there is pitching. Presumably the NL will start Waino or Kershaw. Either option is a great choice. Both pitchers are well below two ERA. Waino has the lowest ERA of any pitcher in the MLB while Kershaw has struck out more batters. Matheney cannot go wrong with either pitcher because they are both strong enough to out-throw Tanaka or whomever the AL tries to match them with. The advantage goes to the NL pitching staff because, top to bottom, they have a pitching staff that could probably no-hit the AL team. If Kershaw pitched the first three innings, then Waino for three, then Neshek, the AL bats may not stand a chance.
In all, I give the advantage to the NL All Star team. It is a pitcher’s year and their staff dominates. The bats are relatively even but I also give a slight advantage to the NL. The AL has power, the NL has consistency. The 2014 All Star Game should be a fun one to watch.