The All-Realistic NL Team of 2008

So we decided to make the best starters, and put the best backup players behind them. So basically, the best realistic team of 2008. For the backup and utility players, they have to be actual backups or platooners, like Augie Ojeda, or Ruben Gotay for example. No video game rosters here.

My lineup will consist of:

2 Catchers
1 First Baseman
1 First Baseman/Third Baseman
1 Second Baseman
1 Second Baseman/Shortstop
1 Third Baseman
1 Shortstops
4 Outfielders
1 Utility Player
12 pitchers, 7 RP, 5 SP

Catcher: Brian McCann – Atlanta Braves

I made a mistake when I chose Russell Martin based on him dating Alyssa Milano on one of my older articles. Brian McCann is having the better season indeed.

Backup Catcher: Chris Coste – Philadelphia Phillies

He’s had more playing time, and has done well in splitting with Carlos Ruiz, especially with hitting, and definitely would help the clubhouse with his somewhat eccentric personality, you know, writing books and all that. I could also put Chris Ianetta of the Rockies here.

First Base: Lance Berkman – Houston Astros

Easily. Switch hitting, puts up MVP numbers every year, criminally underrated, and I wonder, will Berkman go to the Hall of Fame if he keeps putting up these types of numbers, year after year? Even if his body type doesn’t favor him (David Ortiz or Mo Vaughn like body that might break down easily when older), I would like to see him put up these MVP numbers.

Backup 1st Base/3rd Base: Jorge Cantu – Florida Marlins

This one is hard to find, due to the lack of third basemen playing first base as well, but Jorge Cantu certainly fits the bill, and what a great find for the Marlins.

Second Base: Chase Utley – Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley, great at everything, including chewing Skoal and stopping Global Warming. Can play at first and DH in the American League as well.

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins

Unanimous choice in ESPN’s poll, and probably by everyone else too.

Util 2B/SS: Ryan Theriot – Chicago Cubs

I don’t know how much playing time he would get in this lineup, but he is indeed used as a 2B/SS, and also in the outfield, so he counts, and he would do good at singles hitting. I would also put Yunel Escobar here too. They are both pretty interchangeable.

Third Base: Chipper Jones – Atlanta Braves

Even though my selections for infield look exactly like the ESPN selections, he is having a career year, and his defense is slightly better than David Wright’s. If I was making this team a long-term one, I would choose Wright, but I’m not.

IF/OF: Jerry Hairston – Cincinnati Reds

There are a lot of guys in this mix, but Jerry Hairston is having a dandy of a season. Too bad he keeps getting injured.

Special mention/Hairston injury replacement: Edgar Gonzalez – San Diego Padres

Older brother of fellow teammate Adrian Gonzalez, he’s shown good batting ability, and can play anywhere. I wonder why he never had any Major League opportunity until now (even if this is small sample size here). Maybe not the best defensively, but neither is Hairston.

Left Field: Matt Holliday – Colorado Rockies

Another great season for him, and the least of the Rockies’ woes right now. Offensively, most of the best players are in left, so that counts out players like Pat Burrell, Jason Bay, Carlos Lee, and Ryan Braun.

Center Field: Nate McLouth – Pittsburgh Pirates

Yeah, Carlos Beltran is doing better than him slightly in CF, and is statistically the more complete package, but why not put McLouth here for breaking out, it’s more of an accomplishment, especially playing for the lowly Pirates.

Right Field: Ryan Ludwick – St. Louis Cardinals

It was either Ludwick or Corey Hart on this one. Both can field, and although Hart is slightly better at fielding (I don’t know about the range of Ludwick vs. Hart), Ludwick can get on base more, proving to be the more valuable player right now.

Fourth OF: Gabe Kapler – Milwaukee Brewers

There have been some good fourth outfielders this year, like Jayson Werth, John Bowker, and Skip Schumacher, but Gabe Kapler is hitting .315/.352/.517 from the bench, and doing pretty well for a player who took off a year for managing.

Starting Rotation

Ace: Brandon Webb – Arizona Diamondbacks

Would be the ace of this staff, due to his amazing start of the season.

#2: Tim Lincecum: San Francisco Giants

There’s something about the pitching of the NL West, maybe the pitching is just too damn good. Anyways, Lincecum is used as a #2 behind Matt Cain, so he counts as a #2 pitcher.

#3: Edinson Volquez: Cincinnati Reds

Technically the Reds’ #3 pitcher, and I would gladly put him there too since he is the best pitcher in baseball.

#4: Manny Parra – Milwaukee Brewers

He was #4 behind Bush, Sheets, and Suppan at the beginning of the year. It’s hard to define a #4 pitcher with this criteria, the downside. But Manny Parra would be another guy I would put on the actual All Star team. Plus, I need a lefty in the rotation.

#5: Eric Stults – LA Dodgers

Most #5 pitchers suck, so I had to pick the best one out of the crop, and even though he only has 5 starts, Eric Stults would be it. Seth McClung has been a pretty consistent #5 pitcher though, or if you want to go with players past their prime, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez. They’re still around? Stults is another lefty. With this rotation, I would put Parra ahead of Volquez and alternate lefty-righty-lefty.

Relief Pitching:

LRP: Buddy Carlyle – Atlanta Braves (has experience in starting too)
MRP: Heath Bell – San Diego Padres
MRP: Joe Biemel – Los Angeles Dodgers (Lefty)
MRP: Damaso Marte – Pittsburgh Pirates (Lefty) or Royce Ring – Atlanta Braves (Lefty)
MRP: Jared Burton – Cincinnati Reds

Since bullpens are used pretty liberally, this is the middle relief, and there are some setup guys here too since they also play at middle relief sometimes.

Setup: Jon Rauch – Washington Nationals

Because when Chad Cordero is back from injury in 2009, Jon Rauch isn’t the closer. Plus there aren’t any other Nationals in the lineup.

Closer: Kerry Wood – Chicago Cubs

Yeah, Kerry Wood sure is looking good at closer this year. Brad Lidge would be nice too.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, National League, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals

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