MLB All Star Game 2015 Predictions: Projecting Who Should Start For National League In Summer Classic [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]
The MLB All-Star Game is right around the corner on July 14 at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati and the fan voting ends Thursday with the starters slated to be announced this Sunday.
The fan voting for the MLB's 86th annual Midsummer Classic has been controversial to say the least, especially in the American League with the Kansas City Royals takeover and considering the stakes of World Series home field advantage being on the line.
While the fan voting is a fun way to get the supporters to get involved, not all fans are going to vote for the deserving candidate at each position as some would rather see their favorite players shine on the grand stage, possibly at the expense of a more deserving candidate.
Here are our position-by-position picks for who should start the All-Star Game for the National League.
Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
The Nationals ace is on a tear lately and his overall body of work in the first half of the season merits his case to start the game in Cincinnati. Scherzer leads the MLB in WHIP (0.79), average allowed (.180) and strikeouts per walk (9.29) while ranking second with a 1.79 ERA and second in the NL with 130 strikeouts.
Scherzer, who threw a no-hitter on June 20, carried a no-no into the sixth inning in each of his last three starts, two of which were perfect game bids. In his last three starts, Scherzer has pitched 26 innings and gave up six hits and two earned runs while notching 33 strikeouts, along with a walk and a hit batter. He owns a 0.69 ERA in that span. Thus far, he's worth every penny of the seven-year, $210 million contract he signed this offseason.
Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
The backstop for the defending World Series champions deserves the nod come July 14. Posey leads all qualifiers at his position in batting average (.300), homers (11, tied) and RBI (53) among other categories. The 2012 NL MVP, who doesn't have an error this season, has thrown out 12 of 40 base stealers this season.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt is having an MVP-caliber season in Arizona this year. Goldschmidt leads the MLB with a .465 on-base percentage and 59 walks while he is second with a .639 slugging percentage and a 1.104 OPS. The D-backs slugger is also third in the majors in RBI (62) and total bases (172) and fourth in hits (94) and batting average (.349). He has two errors in 72 total chances this season.
Second Base: Dee Gordon, Miami Marlins
While a case can certainly be made for Giants second baseman Joe Panik and Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals, Gordon has been atop the majors in several big categories this season and deserves to start. Gordon enters Monday leading the MLB with a .353 batting average and 112 hits while his 26 stolen bases rank second.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals
Peralta is hitting .303 on the campaign and leads all NL second baseman with a .362 on-base percentage, a .487 slugging percentage and a .849 OPS. He's also tops among the Senior Circuit's shortstops with 84 hits, 11 homers and 18 doubles (tied) while he's driven in 40 runs.
Third Base: Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds
This is a tough position with Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies), Yunel Escobar (Washington Nationals) and Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) each having a claim to start, but in the end Frazier deserves the honor.
Frazier leads the MLB with 183 total bases and places second with 25 RBI while his .626 slugging percentage is fourth and his .978 OPS is fifth. Frazier also leads the NL with 54 runs and ranks second with 25 homers. His nine errors in 189 chances, however, do hamper his defensive value.
Outfield: Nori Aoki, San Francisco Giants, Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates and Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
With the injury to early MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton, another spot has opened up for an outfielder to grab.
Aoki ranks fifth in the NL with a .317 batting average and owns a .383 on-base percentage while he has 83 hits, 33 runs and 12 stolen bases. Aoki has no errors and four assists this season.
McCutchen shook off a slow start to the season and has roared back. The center fielder now owns a .294/.383/.487 slash line with nine homers and 44 RBI while his 20 doubles lead all NL outfielders. The Pirates star has no errors and three outfield assists on the campaign.
Harper leads the majors with a .715 slugging percentage and a 1.180 OPS while he's third in the NL in batting average (.339) and homers (career-high 24, tied) and fourth in RBI (58). Harper has four errors and four assists in 147 total chances this season.