Which MLB All-Star team is better: American or National League?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss which league, the American or National, has the better roster for the MLB All-Star game on Tuesday night. Please join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
One of the most startling things about the All-Star rosters is the number of non-household names who will hang out around Mariano Rivera in the AL bullpen, in part because six pitchers had to be replaced after being named to the team.
But what about the NL hitters who are not in New York? Measured by OPS, the NL’s four best hitters with at least 125 plate appearances are Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gonzalez, none of whom will play.
I’ll pick the AL because of Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis and Mike Trout, even if Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish are spectators only.
Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
From a power perspective, the American League squad has a huge edge. Top to bottom the National League might have more versatile offensive players, maybe a little more speed. The NL arguably doesn’t have as many guys with penchants for one game-changing swing.
Yet All-Star games generally aren’t slugfests. I like the NL’s chances of manufacturing a late run if it comes to that. Keeping in mind the adage good pitching stops good hitting, which side has the better staff? That’s like asking which Sports Illustrated swimsuit model has the better body.
Let’s narrow it down and assume the outcome will be determined in the final three innings. Do you prefer Grant Balfour, Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera over Aroldis Chapman, Jason Grilli and Craig Kimbrel for the final nine outs? The relief corps and overall edge goes to the American League.
[Updated at 11:34 a.m.:
Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times
If good pitching beats good hitting, let’s go with the National League.
Max Scherzer, the starting pitcher for the American League, ranks 26th among qualifying major league starters with a 3.16 earned-run average. The NL has the major league leader, Clayton Kershaw (1.98), and he is not even starting. Matt Harvey is; he ranks fourth at 2.35.
The NL has the top five starters in ERA, and seven of the top 10. Of the three AL starters in the top 10, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez might pitch in the game, but Oakland’s Bartolo Colon and New York Yankees’ right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will not.
Colon was selected as an All-Star but pitched Sunday; Kuroda was not selected.]
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