My All-NL Team

I was just sitting on my couch watching Game 5 tonight. When Chase Utley came to bat in the first inning, I thought, hmm, why don't you hit a homer, Chase? And he did. Crushed. He is easily the most valuable hitter on the Phillies and one of the top three hitters in the NL (it's him with Pujols and Ramirez). Thinking about this got me wondering: if  I could construct a 25-man roster made up only of guys who finished the season in the NL, who would I chose. This would be a traditional roster, not an All-Star team, so normal roster rules apply. 25 guys: 12 pitchers, 13 hitters. This team would play from this day forward, so potential matters, as do bench roles. I obviously weighed this past season's performances most heavily. My team, with 2009 WAR, would be:

C: 	Brain McCann, 4.4
1B: 	Albert Pujols, 8.4
2B: 	Chase Utley, 7.7
SS: 	Hanley Ramirez, 7.3
3B: 	Ryan Zimmerman, 7.1
RF: 	Justin Upton, 4.4
CF: 	Matt Kemp, 5.1
LF: 	Matt Holliday, 5.6
BN:	Yadier Molina, 3.4
BN:	Pablo Sandoval, 5.1
BN:	Troy Tulowitzki, 5.5
BN:	Nyjer Morgan, 4.8
BN:	Ryan Braun, 4.7
SP: 	Tim Lincecum, 8.2
SP:	Chris Carpenter, 5.6
SP:	Ubaldo Jiminez, 5.7
SP:	Cliff Lee, 6.6
SP:	Dan Haren, 6.1
RP:	Ryan Madson, 1.9
RP:	Brian Wilson, 2.4
RP:	Jon Broxton, 2.9
RP:	Huston Street, 1.5
RP:	Rafael Soriano, 2.0
RP:	Mike Gonzalez (L), 0.9
RP:	Jeremy Affeldt (L), 0.8

Relief pitchers have a certain element of inherent fungibility, so I went with guys that are good, young, and don't pitch in Petco. Gonzalez and Affeldt had the highest WAR among left-handed relievers in the NL. 

Hardest calls:

-Not picking Johann Santana. Obviously, the man is very good, but his WAR the past three years has been under 5, after being 7+ the three years before that in Minnesota. I left Wainwright off because I have no idea what his true talent level is (WAR the last three years: 5.7, 2.2, 3.5). Cain has been pretty stable around 4 WAR, so he's not quite one of the elite elite pitchers in the league. Other candidates as SP: Vazquez, Hamels, J Johnson, Kershaw.

-Leaving off Adrian Gonzalez and David Wright. Both of these guys were robbed by the combination of positional strength and lack of roster spots. I was surprised to see how dominant Zimmerman was this year and Pablo's versatility (and superior 2009 stats) allows me to carry two bench OF. Fielder was also a very close call, but I would have picked Gonzalez due to Petco's disastrous effects on left-handed hitters. Tulowitzki had easily the third-best WAR of middle infielders and could probably play 2B or 3B in a pinch. Other candidates as IF: no one.

-The entire OF was hard to call. There just aren't many dominant outfielders in the NL, especially from the left-side. This was definitely where I had to balance potential against production. I mean, Jayson Werth had a higher WAR (4.8) than Justin Upton. And who would have thought that Morgan would have the highest WAR of all NL-only qualifiers in LF? Other candidates as OF: Ibanez, Cameron, Pence.


Anyway, this was just an exercise as some of these players will change teams and/or leagues in the offseason. I was surprised to end up picking four Giants among the league's top 25. Who would have thought that before the 2009 season started? I mean, Brian Wilson had the second-highest WAR among NL relievers and Pablo had the second-highest among third-basemen. I already mentioned Affeldt. Those three hugely exceeded expectations. Combined with Timmy (ridiculous) and Matty (very, very good) and that is a damn fine nucleus. So, who would be on your team? And, while we're at it, does anyone have an AL team? 

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

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