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The best NL All-Star lineup to make you forget that there won’t be any Giants in the lineup

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Hooray for wishful thinking, everybody!

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Beginning tomorrow morning at 9am Pacific, you can submit a 2019 Google MLB All-Star Ballot (actual name) for the starting lineups of this year’s All-Star Game. These finalists were the top three (top nine for outfielders) vote-getters for their respective positions. You will notice that no Giant made the cut. So, what I’m going to do here is choose the ABSOLUTE BEST POSSIBLE STARTERS who will make you forget all about the Giants while you’re watching the game.

Is this the right way to think about the All-Star Game? Maybe not. But I would rather do this than think about how no Giant collected enough votes for consideration. I would rather live in this fantasy world over here — one where unicorns weep vodka, Google Reader still exists, and the Giants are completely out of mind when the AL and NL meet in Cleveland on July 9th.

So, here’s who you and the rest of the voters should vote for starting tomorrow. Let’s see if I can make this fantasy a reality.

Catchers

Willson Contreras (Chicago Cubs)

Yasmani Grandal (Milwaukee Brewers)

Brian McCann (Atlanta Braves)

TJ’s Pick:

Willson Contreras

“Bran did NOTHING to earn the throne!”

I have a flare for the dramatic, which is probably why Contreras is my choice. This year, Contreras is batting a .294 with 16 home runs under his belt, including Monday’s tension-filled homer that led to some heated words with Braves catcher Tyler Flowers.

Contreras was on that 2016 team that knocked the Giants out of the playoffs, but I think we’re more likely to think of David Ross as the catcher from that run. Grandal was a Dodger as recently as last year and it’s impossible to think of the Dodgers and not think about the Giants. Brian McCann isn’t a direct line back to the Giants, but the Braves are, by way of remembering the 2010 playoff run, so, no to baseball’s Chief Fun Cop.

First Base

Josh Bell (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)

Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs)

TJ’s Pick:

Josh Bell

See ya
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bell has a batting average of .315 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs along with a 1.026 OPS. His teammates are HIGHLY supportive of Bell taking part in the Home Run Derby since it’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Sure, some say that a great deal of players drop off after taking part in the Derby, but I don’t see that happening with Bell.

Maybe Justin Verlander won’t start for the AL team, but if he does get in the game, he has a pedestrian 1.65 HR/9. Power versus power.

You might argue that a Pirate would inescapably lead us back to thinking about Bumgarner, Crawford’s grand slam, and the 2014 Wild Card Game, but consider that you’ll make that connection just as quickly through Freeman (Freeman-Braves-2010) and Rizzo (Rizzo-Cubs-2016). Bell didn’t debut until 2016, so let’s go with familiarity breeding contempt.

Second Base

Ozzie Albies (Atlanta Braves)

Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Mike Moustakas (Milwaukee Brewers)

TJ’s Pick:

Ketel Marte

Arizona Republic

I’m sorry, but did you see this 482-foot shot into next week on June 2?

I mean, c’mon. The man is a breakout star for the love of Pete. Sure, he’s hitting average, but we’re talking about the man’s slugging right now.

This one’s tricky. A division foe is more likely to make you think about the Giants, but I wonder if Albies-Braves-2010 and Moustakas-Royals-2014 don’t have greater weight. Well, I might wonder, but for now, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

Shortstop

Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs)

Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies)

Dansby Swanson (Atlanta Braves)

TJ’s Pick:

Javier Baez

Sliding into your DMs like...
Forbes

He was last year’s NL MVP runner-up and a top-10 player in the NL this year. His energy can be a disruptive force against the AL, too. Now, here’s where my foolproof system gets into trouble: are we more likely to think about the Giants by way of the Cubs beating them in the 2016 NLDS than we are when we see Trevor Story, certified Giants killer, or the Braves?

Javier Baez is pure entertainment. I’m going to say that and his personality give him the edge over memories of 2016 — he can blot out memories of the Giants. The others can’t.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs)

Josh Donaldson (Atlanta Braves)

TJ’s Pick:

Nolan Arenado

USA Today

Uh, actually, it’s impossible to not think of the Giants when you see Nolan Arenado. He’s made his career off of crushing them. Why would we want to see him in the lineup if the goal was to not think about the Giants?

Well, he’s just better than Donaldson or Bryant. Maybe that makes him the exception to the rule? That and most of us wishing he or someone like him was on the Giants?

Outfielders

Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)

Albert Almora Jr. (Cubs)

Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)

Charlie Blackmon (Rockies)

Jason Heyward (Cubs)

Nick Markakis (Braves)

Joc Pederson (Dodgers)

Kyle Schwarber (Cubs)

Christian Yelich (Brewers)

TJ’s Picks:

Ronald Acuna Jr., Albert Almora Jr., and Nick Markakis

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves

This is a gauntlet. It’s nearly impossible to not think about the Giants in some way when looking at this list, but the juniors, Albert Almora and Robert Acuna come closest.

  • Charlie Blackmon? That guy always kills the Giants when they play in Colorado.
  • Jason Heyward? Posey’s better.
  • Cody Bellinger? Joc Pederson? Dodgers.
  • Kyle Schwarber? Cub. So’s Almora Jr., but... would you recognize him immediately?
  • Christian Yelich? The Giants didn’t have the trade chips to get him after they missed out on Giancarlo Stanton. How can Giants fans ever forget that?

So, this is the least painful lineup to watch for a team that’s probably (though not definitely) only going to have Will Smith as its representative (unless he’s traded — then, who knows?). It’s not perfect, but neither is an All-Star Game without the Giants in it.

{leaves to go drink unicorn vodka}