The NL East has a lot of tight battles for best player at each position. Here is what I’m going on my All-NL East team.
The Starting Lineup:
1) Jose Reyes, Shortstop, Marlins
It was tough to decide who should bat leadoff, but Reyes OBP edge over Michael Bourn was a deciding factor. Reyes can be the most exciting player in the game when healthy, especially when going for a triple, a category he’s led four times in his career. He’s also the obvious pick at shortstop in this division.
Honorable Mention: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
2) Michael Bourn, Center Field, Braves
If Reyes doesn’t get on base, then Bourn hopefully will. This takes a page out of the Marlins book that speed kills, but instead of Emilio Bonifacio, we have the player that led the National League in stolen bases the last three seasons in Michael Bourn.
Honorable Mention: Shane Victorino, Phillies
3) David Wright, Third Base, Mets
This was the hardest position to fill in the entire division. You can make a case for Wright, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman, or even Chipper Jones’ leadership skills. I already have enough speed at the top with Reyes and Bourn. Wright is a career .300 hitter and is the prototypical #3 hitter.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, and Chipper Jones, Braves
4) Dan Uggla, Second Base, Braves
The defense isn’t there, but no one can clean up like Dan Uggla. Uggla is the only second baseman in history with five consecutive seasons of 30 home runs or more. With Chase Utley’s injury problems this pick is easy.
Honorable Mention: Chase Utley, Phillies
5) Hunter Pence, Right Field, Phillies
This was another difficult choice for this position with Giancarlo Stanton and Jayson Werth sitting there. I’ll show restraint on my love of Stanton and go with the more proven player in Pence. Pence has flourished into a .300 hitter and a sleeper MVP candidate for the Phillies.
Honorable Mention: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins and Jayson Werth, Nationals
6) Brian McCann, Catcher, Braves
This might be the only division where the catcher hits ahead of the 1st baseman. McCann has been the most consistent offensive catcher in MLB. McCann has won four straight Silver Sluggers and made six straight All-star appearances.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies and Wilson Ramos, Nationals
7) Ike Davis, First Base, Mets
First base has a lot of young talent in this division, but no clear-cut choice. I’m going to go with Davis who I feel has the most upside of the NL East first baseman. Davis is unfortunately off to a terrible start to the 2012 campaign.
Honorable Mention: Freddie Freeman, Braves and Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
8) Juan Pierre, Left Field, Phillies
Left field is the weakest of the positions in this division. I would love to just move Giancarlo Stanton over to left field, but I digress. I’m going to put Pierre in the lineup over Jason Bay and Logan Morrison just for the speed factor in the bottom of the lineup.
Honorable Mention: Logan Morrison, Marlins and Jason Bay, Mets
Roy Halladay, Phillies
Cliff Lee, Phillies
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Josh Johnson, Marlins
I’m not even going to mess around with the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball and let them do their thing. Strasburg has been fantastic so far this season and seems to be completely recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2010. Josh Johnson when healthy is one of the best starters in the game.
Honorable Mention: Tommy Hanson, Braves, Mark Buerhle, Marlins, and Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
Jonny Venters, Braves
Tyler Clippard, Nationals
Venters is arguably the best relief pitcher in the game and made his 1st All-star appearance in 2011. Clippard joined Venters at the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona, making the NL East the only division to have two setup men play in the midseason classic last year.
Honorable Mention: Eric O’ Flaherty, Braves and Antonio Bastardo, Phillies
Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
Hard to go against reigning Rookie of the Year Craig Kimbrel, but I love the consistency that Papelbon has shown during his career. It was a sneaking signing by Philadelphia to lure him away from the Red Sox.
Honorable Mention: Craig Kimbrel, Braves, Drew Storen, Nationals, and Heath Bell, Marlins
Who would you put on your All-NL East team? Let us know in the comments!