Tuesday, July 15 • 7 p.m.
With only a month remaining until starters are elected, it’s time to assess who deserves your vote based upon the season’s first eight weeks. This week: the NL players who should be manning each position at Target Field in road grays next month.
1B: His numbers are down compared to last year, but Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt is still an extra-base machine with 23 doubles and 11 homers entering the weekend.
Vote leader: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers.
2B: At 35, Chase Utley lacks only the power he displayed as a perennial MVP candidate for the Phillies a decade ago. But he’s still strong defensively, and an elite hitter.
Vote leader: Utley.
SS: Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki entered the weekend with a gaudy .453 on-base percentage and an amazing .689 slugging percentage; he’s also been virtually error-free in the field.
Vote leader: Tulowitzki.
3B: Another Rockies player? Yep. In just his second season, Nolan Arenado has become one of the most sure-handed fielders in the game. At the plate, he’s developed into a .300 hitter already, and he’s begun to show more power.
Vote leader: Arenado.
OF: Giancarlo Stanton not only leads the league in home runs and RBI but probably also in holy-cow moments with his tape-measure blasts. Miami’s franchise slugger is also running career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.
OF: As Andrew McCutchen’s league-leading 44 walks demonstrate, pitchers are refusing to challenge the reigning MVP with so little offense around him in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Yet he still owns 15 doubles and six homers and is brilliant in the outfield.
OF: They’re almost as well known for their antics and controversies as their play, but there is no denying that Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez and Los Angeles’ Yasiel Puig are two of the most dynamic young stars in the game, and both are having stellar seasons. An excruciating choice. So who gets the nod? A compromise: Both play the outfield and Stanton moves to DH.
Vote leaders: Puig; Charlie Blackmon, Rockies; Stanton.
C: With Buster Posey’s season in San Francisco complicated by a sore back, St. Louis’ Yadier Molina figured to make this automatic. But Cincinnati’s Devin Mesoraco and especially Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy, who has turned into a .325-hitting cleanup hitter, have made it close. Still, Molina gets the nod based on his mastery behind the plate.
Vote leader: Molina.