That guy over there on the AL side had it easy. There, I said it. The talent up for the Final Vote for this year’s NL All Star squad features four very solid position players at different points in their careers, all of whom are putting up similar numbers. For the purposes of this list, I will be selecting players on a combination of overall merit for the pick and likelihood of actual selection.
4. Aaron Hill
Perhaps more so than in any other sport, relocation can play a major factor in a players future success or failure. In this case, the former is true for Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill. Coming off two consecutive sub .230 seasons in Toronto, the Jays moved him to the desert in exchange for Kelly Johnson, a move that has certainly benefited both players. Hill is hitting an even .300 on the year, and along with the power that you always get from him, the second baseman has already scored 37 runs (he scored 61 in 520 AB last year). Perhaps his .357 OBP will decline in the second half, but a .280-25-80 season is very realistic for Hill. Oh yeah, he did hit for the cycle… twice… That being said, he plays in Arizona, and unless you are hitting 50 home runs in a season and looping the ball to center to win the World Series, nobody cares. Sorry, Aaron Hill.
3. David Freese
The actual leader in the race right now, I will semi-confidently put him in the third slot on this list. Don’t get me wrong; Freese has followed up his World Series MVP in solid fashion, improving in all major power categories. He already has 13 HR and 50 RBI in 75 games played, compared to 10 and 55 in 97 games a year ago. His OPS has cracked the .800 mark, and he’s batting a solid .285. Freese had his doubters heading into the season, all of whom he has certainly quieted. That being said, the NL roster has an abundance of third basemen, and does anyone really need to see David Freese in the All Star game?
2. Michael Bourn
As a fantasy owner of Bourn, I cringe at putting him second on this list. The man has been a force at the top of the lineup for the Braves. Consider these numbers:
.310 AVG – 106 H – 17 2B – 6 3B – 7 HR – 32 RBI – 23 SB – 57 R – .815 OPS
I’m sorry, the fact that he’s on the final vote ballot is ridiculous; he should already be in the game. That being said, I have a feeling he will be the biggest snub in this year’s edition of All Star drama.
1. Bryce Harper
The phenom everyone wanted to see this year is getting his shot, and to this point he has taken advantage of it. There isn’t much negative to say about his rookie campaign; the 19 year-old may strike out slightly too often, and he may or may not have made a few bonehead plays in the field. With that being the case, Harper is easily the most appealing of the choices on this list, with massive power and a solid line to boot: .354-.478-.832 in 59 games, to go with 8 HR and 23 RBI – nothing to scoff at. I may be wrong, but voters for the NL still have a day to get Bryce in as the Final Vote for the 2012 NL All Star Team; he’s the guy everyone wants to see.
Freese: (Chris Lee | firstname.lastname@example.org)