Now that the fans have voted Shane Victorino on to the all-star team, manager Charlie Manuel has just one more roster decision to make. He’s got to decide who will replace injured Carlos Beltran, and he’s got to make his decision by this afternoon.

The addition of Victorino means the NL team already has its starting CF. But unless Manuel wants to play “The Flyin’ Hawaiin” all nine innings he might want to add one more athletic outfielder.

The other NL all-star outfielders range from so-so fielders to defensive disasters. Justin Upton is young and athletic but has never played in center field. Ditto Hunter Pence. Ryan Braun is a converted 3B who is still learning LF. Brad Hawpe sucks. And Raul Ibanez should be a designated hitter.

The front-runner for the last roster spot is Matt Kemp, who is an above average defensive centerfielder with good speed and a quick bat. Kemp’s counting stats are impressive (46 RBI, 46 runs, 19 stolen bases and 10 HR) and he’d have more RBIs and runs if not for Joe Torre’s bizarre decision to bat Kemp eighth in the Dodgers’ lineup on most nights.

One week ago Kemp and his 131 OPS+ might have seemed like a no-brainer choice for the last spot. But lo, we have a late entry to the contest. Jayson Werth has hit five homers in his last seven games, and now boasts 20 HR on the season, to go with his 54 RBI, 59 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and 132 OPS+. Werth is ordinarily a right fielder, and the last thing the NL team needs is another corner outfielder, but he can also play a capable center field. He’s played in CF five times this season and over 20 times in 2008, when Victorino was hurt.

Frankly, both Kemp and Werth deserve it. They both probably deserve it more than Victorino, and they both definitely deserve it more than Ryan Howard.

It should be noted that Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval is also deserving of an all-star spot, but the NL team already has two capable 3Bs (David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman). Sandoval can also play 1B, but the NL team already has FOUR 1Bs, so I think Sandoval might get the shaft. Or, at least he should get the shaft if Manuel is actually going to try and win this game. Then again, if he was really intent on winning he wouldn’t have picked Howard. So I guess all bets are off.

UPDATE: Werth got the final spot. I imagine a lot of fans of teams not named the Phillies are cursing Charlie Manuel and his overt favoratism. But don’t get mad at Manuel for picking Werth, who was a deserving choice. Get mad at him for picking Howard.

14 Responses to “Who’s gonna replace Beltran on the NL All-Star team?”

  1. OK… #1 Brad Hawpe does not suck. Can’t understand what your talking about there unless you mean his fielding which I know nothing about. #2 Ibanez could be the DH, but hes certaintly not a bad outfielder. The outfield should be Braun, Ibanez, and Upton. I think you might have a point saying Werth and Kemp deserve it more than Victorino. I think Manuel will be pressured to pick Kemp over Werth since he doesnt want people getting on him for picking his own player. You cannot say Ryan Howard didnt deserve a spot, he deserved to go last year and didnt and he deserved to go this year. He was born in St. Louis as well.

  2. Paul Moro says:

    Brian, context. Coley referred to Hawpe in a paragraph about defense. And over his career, Raul Ibanez has been among the worst defensive players in baseball. I don’t know why he’s been much better this year, but he’s got a nasty track record. And why does Ryan Howard deserve to get in with a .332 OBP (as a first baseman, that is deplorable) over Kemp and Werth? When there are three other first basemen on the roster?

  3. Howard was born in St. Louis? Well, that’s a horse of a different color! I take back everything I said. Just b/c Howard has a lower OPS than Kemp, Derek Lee, Lance Berkman, Todd Helton, Adam Dunn, Chipper Jones and a handful of other guys who didn’t make the team, that doesn’t trump the fact that he was born in St. Louis.

    Also, an outfield of Braun, Ibanez and Upton would be comically bad defensively.

  4. Brian B says:

    Yea because its so common that all star games are lost because the outfielders that will play 2 maybe 3 innings are poor fielders… thats a big issue. Charlie Manuel should not start deserving hitters in the outfield this year because they might drop a pop up.

    Who the hell names there kid Coley? Sounds like a nickname for a 7 year old girl. Your sites real high end. I was going to comment on the post to get an explanation on your thinking, and I realize the whole purpose of the site is to listen to a douche bag make baseball seem more important than breatheing.

  5. You’re right, Brian. I was a little snooty before. But really, Manuel shouldn’t have picked Howard for the team, and the fact that he’s from St. Louis really shouldn’t matter at all.

    Moreover, I don’t see why defense wouldn’t matter in an all-star game. It matters all the time in regular season games. Over the course of 2-3 innings, I think Ryan Braun or Justin Upton, playing out of position, have the potential to do more than a little damage with their gloves.

  6. Paul Moro says:

    Brian, I’m not going to be as nice as Coley.

    No, there is no guarantee that outfield defense will make or break the All Star Game. On that much, you’re correct. But the Game is supposed to feature the best players in baseball. And last time I checked, defense is an important part of baseball. If you suck at it, then you’re not as good as your offensive numbers suggest.

    But you are right. Coley is a dumb name.

  7. Nick Kapur says:

    Coley, this is nitpicky, but didn’t Hunter Pence play center field his entire first season in the bigs? He wasn’t that terrible at it either.

  8. Glad we could calm down. I suppose defense should matter when picking all stars, but I guess when you consider the fact that an average Major League team only makes about 1 error per game it is well worth the risk to pick good hitters over good defenders.

    I am a huge Phillies fan so maybe my opinion is a little biased, but I think Manuel picked a good team. I suppose Howard was a stretch but the only all star snubs were Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval, and Matt Kemp…. and I think Howard has better numbers than those 3. Werth has been smoking hot so I think it was a good pick over Kemp. And like they said on Phillies post-game today: “Other NL fans may not like Manuel’s picks but he won the World Series, so he is given the right to pick who he pleases,” Plus its not like he put someone undeserving like Rollins on the team.

  9. Paul Moro says:

    There’s far more to defense than errors, man. Like, a lot. I can stand in one spot the entire year on the field, not make any effort whatsoever to move front, back, left or right, just let every ball by me. I’d end up with no errors.

  10. Brian B.

    Actually Howard has worse numbers than all 3, I think. And plays the least defensively demanding position.

  11. Nick, you’re right that Pence played mostly in CF his rookie year. Not sure how I missed that. For what it’s worth, he was a below average CF, but not way below average. -3.1 UZR. But that’s a relatively small sample of 95 games, and he hasn’t played a minute in CF since 2007.

  12. Brian B says:


    -Howard has worse numbers than Reynolds, Sandoval, and Kemp? The all-star game is over but thats a false statement. Sandoval is sooo over-rated! He has decent power numbers and a high average. Everyone is going crazy because theirs a new name on the scene and hes batting .333!! Howard has similar numbers to Reynolds and definetly has better numbers than Kemp.

  13. Let’s compare Kemp and Howard. Batting average? Kemp by a mile. OBP? Again, Kemp. OPS? Kemp. OPS plus? Kemp.

    Brian, you must be talking about Howard’s superior counting stats (HR, runs, and RBI). But he’s only got more runs and RBI because he bats fourth in the Phillies lineup, and Joe Torre insists on batting Kemp eighth.

    Add in Kemp’s stolen bases and the fact that he is a far better defender at a far more difficult position, and Kemp is the more valuable player.

  14. Brian B.

    I have other things to do right now, but no.

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