I already explained this in my American League post, but just to be sure to cover all the bases, I'll say it again. My All-Star picks are based on each player's performance since this point in the season last year (i.e. 6/15/10 - 6/15/11), and they're presented here because I like to share my opinions about such things—I wouldn't be writing a blog if I didn't—and as part of the voting for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.
I also want to elaborate a little on why I chose to base my picks on the last calendar year rather than 2011 to date, and the best way to do this is with an example.
Last year, I advocated that Colorado's Miguel Olivo had been the best catcher in all of baseball in the first half, yet he was completely overlooked by not being selected for the National League team. In the first half of 2010, he batted .325 with 11 HR, 42 RBI and a 150 OPS+, and at the time of the aforementioned post had thrown out 46.5% of would-be base-stealers. In the second half, he batted .193 with 3 HR, 16 RBI and a 48 OPS+. I don't have his defensive splits, but even his caught-stealing percentage dropped to 42.3% by the end of the year.
The bottom line is Miguel Olivo has never produced an entire season in his career that was worthy of All-Star selection. So, with apologies to the Howie Kendricks, Matt Joyces and Alex Avilas of the baseball world, I need to see a little more sustained production before I vote you onto my All-Star team.
Now that I've got that out of the way, here are my National League selections:
Catcher - Brian McCann (Atlanta)
There's not really much question about who the best all-around catcher in the National League is, especially with San Francisco's Buster Posey unavailable due to injury.
First Base - Joey Votto (Cincinnati)
It's hard to believe this is such a no-brainer too, but St. Louis's Albert Pujols doesn't even come close.
Second Base - Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee)
Is Weeks officially a superstar yet? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty certain there's no other National League second baseman worthy of comparison.
Shortstop - Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
Despite the fact that the Mets' Jose Reyes is off to such a tremendous start to 2011, Tulowitzki is the best shortstop in the league over the last calendar year.
Third Base - Chase Headley (San Diego)
We all know Washington's Ryan Zimmerman is a better player, but Headley is tied with him in WAR since mid-June of last year and, therefore, gets the nod based on the current year performance tie-breaker.
Outfield - Matt Holliday (St. Louis), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee)
Holliday's a no-brainer. McCutchen doesn't need the center fielder requirement to make this squad, but he'll play that position nevertheless. Lastly, I'm taking Braun over Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez because of better 2011 performance, and over Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs because of better offensive production.
Starting Pitcher - Roy Halladay (Philadelphia)
I don't really need to justify this pick, do I?
There you have it, my 2011 All-Star ballot.
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