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National League All-Star Team, 2012

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Joey Votto

For now, here's how the NL All-Star roster stands. Subject to change, of course ...

Starters

Catcher - Buster Posey, Giants: Posey this season has an OPS+ of 137, which makes for an outstanding level of production by catcher standards, and, despite post-surgery concerns about his durability, he's spent 480.0 innings behind the plate.

First base - Joey Votto, Reds: He's been the best player in baseball to date. Votto leads the majors in OBP, leads the NL in slugging percentage and is on pace to set the all-time single-season record for doubles.

Second base - Dan Uggla, Braves: While raw power has long been Uggla's calling card, he's slugging just .414 on the year. With that said, he's on target to set a career high for walks.

Shortstop - Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: Furcal's offensive numbers have come back to earth in recent weeks, but on balance he's having a solid season by the standards of his position. This will be Furcal's third career All-Star appearance.

Third base - Pablo Sandoval, Giants: Sandoval is hitting .307/.366/.482 on the season. While his glove-work leaves something to be desired, his productivity from both sides of the plate is beyond reproach.

Outfield - Matt Kemp, Dodgers: While the injured Kemp has logged just 144 plate appearances thus far, he boasts a batting line of .355/.444/.719. When healthy, he's on the short-list of best players in the game. As of now, he won't be playing.

2012 All-Star Game

Outfield - Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: Beltran's enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. Presently, the 35-year-old paces the NL in RBI, and he's on pace to surpass 40 bombs for the second time in his career.

Outfield - Melky Cabrera, Giants: Breakout season or fluke season? However you characterize it, Cabrera has been one of the NL's most productive outfielders this season. He paces the majors in hits, and he's a plus fielder.

Pitchers

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: The reigning NL Cy Young winner isn't quite as dominant as he was in 2011, but he still ranks in the top 10 in the NL for ERA, innings and strikeouts.

Craig Kimbrel, Braves: Is the 24-year-old Kimbrel on his way to becoming the top closer in all of baseball. Quite possibly. This season, he boasts an ERA of 1.50, and he's whiffed 50 batters in 30.0 innings. Fun fact: Lefties are hitting .043 against Kimbrel this season.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds: The fire-balling Chapman has struggled of late, but the overall numbers remain exceptional: 1.98 ERA, 15.9 K/9. This will be Chapman's first All-Star appearance.

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals: Gonzalez is a Cy Young contender in the NL on the strength of a 2.78 ERA and 108 strikeouts. This season, he's also flashing improved control.

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: Strasburg, who, lest you forget, is still just 23 years of age, leads the majors in strikeouts and boasts a sub-3.00 ERA.

Cole Hamels, Phillies: The Phillies' lefty is a pending free agent and possible trade-deadline fodder. This season, Hamels has an ERA of 3.08, and he's striking out a batter per inning.

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: In 29.2 innings of work this season, Papelbon has whiffed 37 batters against just six unintentional walks.

Wade Miley, Diamondbacks: Arizona's surprise rookie is coming off his roughest start of the season, but he still ranks seventh in the NL in park-adjusted ERA. Miley's control has been a big part of his unlikely success in 2012.

R.A. Dickey, Mets: Perhaps you've heard about his work this season? Dickey leads all of baseball with 14 quality starts, and he also paces the bigs in WHIP. Three complete games, two shutouts, 2.15 ERA -- there's more than enough to recommend Dickey.

Lance Lynn, Cardinals: Lynn's had a rough June, but his exceptional early-season numbers (1.33 ERA for April) made him a real stabilizer in the Cardinal rotation. He ranks sixth in the NL in strikeout rate.

Huston Street, Padres: Street makes his first All-Star appearance on the strength of a 1.35 ERA. He missed a month of the season with a shoulder strain, but when healthy Street has been his usual excellent self.

Matt Cain, Giants: Cain, in addition to throwing a perfecto this season, has emerged as the Giants' ace. He leads the NL in innings pitched, boasts a 2.53 ERA and is striking out a batter per frame. This will be Cain's third All-Star appearance.

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates: The Pittsburgh closer was an All-Star last season, and his 2.10 ERA and 35 Ks in 30.0 innings have made him an All-Star in 2012.

Reserves

Starlin Castro, Cubs, shortstop: The 22-year-old Castro is putting up quality numbers for a shortstop: .298/.319/.432 with 16 steals. Castro will be making his second (and second consecutive) All-Star appearance.

Bryan LaHair, Cubs, first baseman/outfielder: LaHair's numbers have been trending downward a bit of late, but overall they remain impressive. An .890 OPS plus 13 homers and the ability to play three positions make LaHair a worthy choice.

Jay Bruce, Reds, outfielder: The Cincy right fielder will be making his second All-Star appearance. He' slugging .526 this season, and he ranks fifth in the NL in extra-base hits.

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, outfielder: Gonzalez, who, believe it or not, will be making his first All-Star appearance, leads the NL in runs scored and total bases. Throw in his batting line of .337/.394/.604, and he's an obvious choice.

Jose Altuve, Astros, second baseman: The diminutive 22-year-old is putting up strong numbers for a middle infielder: .309/.351/.453 with 12 steals.

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins, outfielder: This is the first of many All-Star appearances for the 22-year-old slugger. He ranks third in the NL in homers and home runs/at-bat. He might also be the favorite to win the Home Run Derby.

Ryan Braun, Brewers, outfielder: The 2011 NL MVP will be making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Midsummer Classic. Braun paces the NL with 22 homers, and he's slugging .611.

David Wright, Mets, third baseman: Wright, bound for his sixth All-Star Game, ranks second in the NL in batting average, second in OBP and seventh in slugging.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, outfielder: McCutchen is positioning himself as an MVP candidate on the strength of his .993 OPS in tandem with plus defense at an up-the-middle position. He was also an All-Star in 2011.

Yadier Molina, Cardinals, catcher: Molina's defensive excellence is well established, but the (now) four-time All-Star has developed into an asset at the plate. He's only one homer shy of tying his career high, and he's batting .311.

Ian Desmond, Nationals, shortstop: A .276/.305/.483 slash line from an every-day shortstop? That's enough to earn Desmond his first All-Star berth.

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies, catcher: Ruiz this season has been the most productive catcher in baseball: .358/.423/.585. This will be the 33-year-old's first All-Star appearance, and it's certainly deserved.

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