The All-Time Nats All-Star Team

In their 12th year of baseball, the Nats have put 23 players in the All-Star Game thanks to their five participants in this year’s mid-summer classic. The likes of Bryce Harper (4x), Stephen Strasburg (2x), Max Scherzer (2x), Jordan Zimmermann (2x) and Tyler Clippard (2x) have all represented the team twice, but so have studs like Dmitri Young, Cristian Guzman, and Matt Capps.

To celebrate today’s All-Star Game, I decided to build an all-time Nats All-Star roster, choosing only from players’ first-half stats.

My rules:

  • 17 hitters and 11 pitchers (the Nats have played 12 years, which is 80% of the 15 teams that each league chooses from, so I went with roughly 80% of the 21 batters and 13 pitchers each league will feature this season)
  • I will choose 2 C, 2 1B, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 SS, 2 LF, 2 CF, 2 RF, 1 DH, 5 SP, and 6 RP
  • Players must have played 30 games in the first half of the season at a position to qualify there
  • Each year of Nats history has to be represented at least once
  • There is a DH, since it’s an All-Star Game

CATCHER

Starter:

2016 Wilson Ramos (*AS*) – .330/.382/.536, 39 R, 88 H, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 0/0 SB

This is a no-brainer; Ramos has the most R, H, 2B, HR, RBI, and best AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS of any Nats catcher in the first half of a season.

Backup:

2005 Brian Schneider – .263/.323/.412, 25 R, 60 H, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 1/1 SB

There was a glut of decent candidates to back up Ramos, (including other years of Ramos, Jesus Flores, and even Josh Bard)), but none of their offensive numbers stood out. Schneider was the best defensive catcher out of the candidates, so I went with him.

Honorable Mention:

2008 Jesus Flores – .270/.327/.433, 15 R, 48 H, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 0/1 SB

2011 Wilson Ramos – .251/.328/.425, 28 R, 55 H, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 0/2 SB

 

FIRST BASE

Starter:

2006 Nick Johnson – .295/.421/.538, 58 R, 86 H, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 7/9 SB

It’s easy to forget how awesome Nick Johnson was in 2005 (where he hit .320/.444/.508 in the first half) and 2006. I decided to go with the latter of the two years here, as he put up an impressive 43 extra base hits and 7 steals (!!!). Injuries suck.

Backups:

2009 Adam Dunn – .266/.398/.544, 42 R, 81 H, 23 HR, 62 RBI, 0/1 SB (starting DH)

2007 Dmitri Young (*AS*) – .339/.390/.512, 41 R, 96 H, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 0/0 SB

Like Johnson, it was tough to decide between the 2009 and 2010 versions of Adam Dunn, as he hit a combined 45 HR and 121 RBI in the first half. I ended up having to go with the 2009 version of Dunn because my other options for 2009 were much, much worse than the options for 2010. Truth be told, 2010 Dunn was probably better than 2009 Dunn and definitely much better than 2007 Dmitri Young, but if I didn’t include Dmitri, we would have been stuck with Shawn Hill or Jason Bergmann in the rotation….that’s how bad the 2007 Nats were (especially in the first half).

Honorable Mention:

2010 Adam Dunn – .288/.372/.588, 51 R, 92 H, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 0/0 SB

2005 Nick Johnson – .320/.444/.508, 43 R, 82 H, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 3/9 SB

2012 Adam LaRoche – .269/.353/.519, 34 R, 72 H, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 1/2 SB

 

SECOND BASE

Starter:

2016 Daniel Murphy (*AS*) – .348/.387/.598, 53 R, 117 H, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 2/5 SB

Like Ramos, Murphy blows away the rest of the pack here. He’s first in Nats history in first-half RBI with 66 (next best is 2009 Dunn with 62), and second in first-half hits with 117 (first is 2008 Guzman with 126). Murphy’s .985 OPS is almost .200 better than the next best qualified player, 2011 Danny Espinosa.

Backup:

2011 Danny Espinosa – .242/.332/.460, 45 R, 79 H, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 12/14 SB

I waffled back and forth between Espinosa and Vidro here, but figured Espinosa’s combination of power, speed, and defensive aptitude set him apart from Vidro, who only held an edge in contact (albeit a major one).

Honorable Mention:

2006 Jose Vidro – .303/.361/.400, 42 R, 100 H, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 1/1 SB

2013 Anthony Rendon – .301/.352/.460, 22 R, 49 H, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 1/1 SB

2008 Ronnie Belliard – .233/.332/.472, 25 R, 38 H, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 1/1 SB

 

THIRD BASE

Starter:

2010 Ryan Zimmerman – .294/.383/.529, 52 R, 85 H, 16 HR, 48 RBI, 1/1 SB

I was expecting third base to be choosing between a bunch of Zimmerman seasons, but Anthony Rendon and Yunel Escobar threw a wrench into things (especially since Zimmerman was often more of a second-half guy. That being said, 2010 Zim was the end of an era (and the start of a lot of errors), as his last year as a plus defensive 3B before his shoulder woes sapped his ability to throw the ball across the diamond.

Backup:

2014 Anthony Rendon – .287/.343/.490, 67 R, 103 H, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 8/9 SB

I miss this version of Tony. Will somebody please go find him? His 67 first-half runs are second only to Alfonso Soriano’s 70 in 2006 in Nats history.

Honorable Mention:

2009 Ryan Zimmerman (*AS*) – .288/.354/.473, 58 R, 100 H, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 0/0 SB

2006 Ryan Zimmerman – .287/.349/.478, 48 R, 96 H, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 7/13 SB

2015 Yunel Escobar – .321/.369/.407, 41 R, 97 H, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 1/3 SB

 

SHORTSTOP

Starter:

2012 Ian Desmond (*AS*) – .285/.316/.515, 46 R, 98 H, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 11/15 SB

2012 Desmond was so hot right now in the first half. All of the other SS in Nats history either had lots of singles or lots of dongers in the first half (or neither – looking at you, 2005 Guzman, 2006 Royce Clayton, 2007 Felipe Lopez, and 2015 Desmond!), but 2012 Desmond had it all.

Backup:

2008 Cristian Guzman (*AS*) – .313/.340/.424, 54 R, 126 H, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 3/6 SB

Can the Nats require all of their batters to undergo LASIK? After hitting .219 in 2005, Guzman missed a year due to injury and had LASIK during his time off, hitting .328, .316, .284, and .282 in the rest of his Nats seasons. 2008 Guz was particularly special, as he put up an insane 126 first-half hits.

Honorable Mention:

2013 Ian Desmond – .281/.328/.486, 43 R, 100 H, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 10/13 SB

2016 Danny Espinosa – .239/.334/.458, 41 R, 68 H, 18 HR, 49 RBI, 5/5 SB

 

LEFT FIELD

Starter:

2006 Alfonso Soriano (*AS*) – .260/348/.561, 70 R, 81 H, 24 HR, 44 RBI, 18/23 SB

Soriano vs. the field was closer than I expected it to be, but nobody’s going to top 70 R, 24 HR, and 18 SB.

Backup:

2010 Josh Willingham – .281/.411/.502, 45 R, 79 H, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 7/7 SB

It’s easy to forget how good of a hitter Josh Willingham was, because he was a) overshadowed by Adam Dunn, b) always hurt, and c) brutally bad in the outfield. Still, he put up a .263/.377/.479 triple slash in his two seasons on the Nats, with 40 HR, 124 R, and 117 RBI in 247 games.

Honorable Mention:

2013 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .264/.371/.522, 38 R, 53 H, 13 HR, 29 RBI, 6/9 SB

2009 Josh Willingham – .304/.419/.579, 38 R, 58 H, 12 HR, 26 RBI, 3/4 SB

2005 Ryan Church – .325/.381/.544, 28 R, 52 H, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 0/0 SB

2011 Michael Morse – .306/.351/.535, 37 R, 83 H, 15 HR, 39 RBI, 2/5 SB

 

CENTER FIELD

Starter:

2015 Denard Span – .304/.364/.430, 37 R, 72 H, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 11/11 SB

On names alone, this wouldn’t be much of a competition, but I decided to go with Denard for defensive purposes (and variety’s sake). Honestly, 2015 Denard vs. 2013 Denard vs. 2012 Harper vs. 2005 Wilkerson was close to a coin flip for me, so I decided to go with the best season from the guy who was up there multiple times.

Backup:

2012 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .282/.354/.472, 43 R, 70 H, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 10/13 SB

Honorable Mention:

2013 Denard Span – .305/.350/.399, 43 R, 94 H, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 14/16 SB

2005 Brad Wilkerson – .271/.376/.433, 43 R, 85 H, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 4/11 SB

2014 Denard Span – .269/.319/.385, 57 R, 95 H, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 15/17 SB

 

RIGHT FIELD

Starter:

2015 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .345/.488/.682, 64 R, 88 H, 23 HR, 53 RBI, 3/4 SB

Duh. Dude had a friggin’ 1.170 OPS at the break.

Backup:

2005 Jose Guillen – .310/.360/.539, 50 R, 100 H, 18 HR, 51 R, 1/2 SB

I waffled between Guillen and 2016 Harper here, but again decided to go with the old name for variety’s sake. 2005 Guillen was fun to watch, with his rocket of an arm in RF (and temperamental personality). Glad he turned down that big contract extension offer, though.

Honorable Mention:

2016 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .256/.399/.491, 50 R, 74 H, 19 HR, 52 RBI, 13/19 SB

2014 Jayson Werth – .278/.366/.441, 57 R, 96 H, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 5/5 SB

2013 Jayson Werth – .297/.363/.466, 38 R, 69 H, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 3/3 SB

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

Starter:

2009 Adam Dunn – .266/.398/.544, 42 R, 81 H, 23 HR, 62 RBI, 0/1 SB (starting DH)

 

STARTING PITCHERS:

1 – 2015 Max Scherzer (*AS*) – 10-7, 2.11 ERA, 132 IP, 0.78 WHIP, 10.71 K/BB

2 – 2013 Jordan Zimmermann (*AS*) – 12-4, 2.61 ERA, 132 and 1/3 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 5.28 K/BB

3 – 2016 Stephen Strasburg (*AS*) – 12-0, 2.62 ERA, 106 and 1/3 IP, 1.01 WHIP, 4.26 K/BB

4 – 2016 Max Scherzer (*AS*) – 10-6, 3.03 ERA, 127 and 2/3 IP, 0.96 WHIP, 4.82 K/BB

5 – 2012 Stephen Strasburg – 9-4, 2.82 ERA, 99 IP, 1.10 WHIP, 4.57 K/BB

In my opinion, there is a very clear 1-2-3-4 here, with 2012 Strasburg barely edging out the likes of 2012 Gio and 2011/2012/2014 Zimmermann. I think the storylines and pressure of his coming back (and the Nats actually being good) make it the better narrative for me.

Honorable Mention:

2011 Jordan Zimmermann – 6-7, 2.66 ERA, 115 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 3.9 K/BB

2012 Jordan Zimmermann – 5-6, 2.61 ERA, 110 and 1/3 IP, 1.12 WHIP, 3.36 K/BB

2012 Gio Gonzalez (*AS*) – 12-3, 2.92 ERA, 101 and 2/3 IP, 1.11 WHIP, 2.81 K/BB

2014 Jordan Zimmermann (*AS*) – 6-5, 3.03 ERA, 113 IP, 1.21 WHIP, 5.05 K/BB

2005 John Patterson – 3-2, 2.91 ERA, 89 and 2/3 IP, 1.18 WHIP, 2.42 K/BB

2014 Tanner Roark – 8-6, 3.01 ERA, 113 and 2/3 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 3.40 K/BB

2016 Tanner Roark – 8-5, 3.01 ERA, 116 and 2/3 IP, 1.20 WHIP, 2.89 K/BB

2013 Gio Gonzalez – 7-3, 3.03 ERA, 118 and 1/3 IP, 1.15 WHIP, 2.43 K/BB

2005 Livan Hernandez (*AS*) – 12-3, 3.48 ERA, 134 and 1/3 IP, 1.41 WHIP, 1.56 K/BB

 

RELIEVERS:

1 – 2014 Rafael Soriano – 1-0, 0.97 ERA, 22 SV, 37 IP, 0.81 WHIP, 3.27 K/BB

2 – 2005 Chad Cordero (*AS*) – 2-1, 1.13 ERA, 31 SV, 47 and 2/3 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB

3 – 2014 Drew Storen – 2-1, 1.20 ERA, 0 SV, 30 IP, 0.90 WHIP, 4.60 K/BB

4 – 2011 Tyler Clippard (*AS*) – 1-0, 1.75 ERA, 0 SV, 51 and 1/3 IP, 0.86 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB

5 – 2015 Drew Storen – 1-0, 1.89 ERA, 27 SV, 33 and 1/3 IP, 0.99 WHIP, 4.75 K/BB

6 – 2012 Sean Burnett (L) – 1-1, 1.99 ERA, 2 SV, 31 and 2/3 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 4.57 K/BB

Yes, I could hear your audible sighs when seeing Soriano as the closer. You can’t deny how amazing his first half of 2014 was, though – a sub-1 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP over 37 innings is pretty damn good, and just better enough than Cordero’s 1.13 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Storen was really good in the first half of 2014. We’ll pretend like the end of the second half never happened. Clippard’s 51 and 1/3 innings before the ASG seems cruel, but that’s a lovely ERA and WHIP over a ton of innings.

The last righty spot was a tough decision between 2016 Shawn Kelley (and his amazing 8.17 K/BB ratio), 2008 Jon Rauch’s impressive 47 and 1/3 innings of shutdown ball, Drew Storen’s great 2015 first half, and Tyler Clippard’s amazing 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. And that’s not even mentioning Hector Carrasco’s rubber arm in 2005, Craig Stammen’s rubber arm in basically every season of the Nats’ existence, Jonathan Papelbon’s solid 2016 campaign, or Ryan Mattheus’ surprising (and short-lived) 2012 success. I ended up going with Storen, because he had the best combination of run prevention, volume of innings, and excellent WHIP and K/BB ratios. That, and I knew you guys would probably get pissed off.

I decided I needed at least one lefty, and 2012 Burnett beat out 2013 Krol and 2013 Abad because Burnett performed well for 31 and 2/3 innings while the other two performed well for 15 and 19 and 2/3, respectively.

Honorable Mention:

2008 Jon Rauch – 4-2, 2.85 ERA, 17 SV, 47 and 1/3 IP, 1.01 WHIP, 6.14 K/BB

2016 Shawn Kelley – 1-1, 2.76 ERA, 4 SV, 32 and 2/3 IP, 0.95 WHIP, 8.17 K/BB

2012 Tyler Clippard – 2-3, 1.93 ERA, 14 SV, 37 and 1/3 IP, 0.91 WHIP, 2.87 K/BB

2013 Tyler Clippard – 6-1, 1.99 ERA, 0 SV, 40 and 2/3 IP, 0.91 WHIP, 2.59 K/BB

2014 Tyler Clippard (*AS*) – 6-2, 2.03 ERA, 1 SV, 40 IP, 1.23 WHIP, 2.94 K/BB

2010 Matt Capps (*AS*) – 3-3, 3.18 ERA, 23 SV, 39 and 2/3 IP, 1.41 WHIP, 4.71 K/BB

2013 Ian Krol (L) – 0-0, 1.80 ERA, 0 SV, 15 IP, 0.60 WHIP, 13.00 K/BB

2013 Fernando Abad (L) – 0-2, 1.83 ERA, 19 and 2/3 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 10.50 K/BB

 

So, to wrap things up, here’s the squad I chose:

Starting Lineup:

1 – 1B 2006 Nick Johnson – .295/.421/.538, 58 R, 86 H, 14 HR, 41 RBI, 7/9 SB

2 – LF 2006 Alfonso Soriano (*AS*) – .260/348/.561, 70 R, 81 H, 24 HR, 44 RBI, 18/23 SB

3 – RF 2015 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .345/.488/.682, 64 R, 88 H, 23 HR, 53 RBI, 3/4 SB

4 – 2B 2016 Daniel Murphy (*AS*) – .348/.387/.598, 53 R, 117 H, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 2/5 SB

5 – 3B 2010 Ryan Zimmerman – .294/.383/.529, 52 R, 85 H, 16 HR, 48 RBI, 1/1 SB

6 – DH 2009 Adam Dunn – .266/.398/.544, 42 R, 81 H, 23 HR, 62 RBI, 0/1 SB

7 – C 2016 Wilson Ramos (*AS*) – .330/.382/.536, 39 R, 88 H, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 0/0 SB

8 – SS 2012 Ian Desmond (*AS*) – .285/.316/.515, 46 R, 98 H, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 11/15 SB

9 – CF 2015 Denard Span – .304/.364/.430, 37 R, 72 H, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 11/11 SB

STARTING PITCHER:

2015 Max Scherzer (*AS*) – 10-7, 2.11 ERA, 132 IP, 0.78 WHIP, 10.71 K/BB

BULLPEN:

CL – 2014 Rafael Soriano – 1-0, 0.97 ERA, 22 SV, 37 IP, 0.81 WHIP, 3.27 K/BB

2005 Chad Cordero (*AS*) – 2-1, 1.13 ERA, 31 SV, 47 and 2/3 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB

2014 Drew Storen – 2-1, 1.20 ERA, 0 SV, 30 IP, 0.90 WHIP, 4.60 K/BB

2011 Tyler Clippard (*AS*) – 1-0, 1.75 ERA, 0 SV, 51 and 1/3 IP, 0.86 WHIP, 3.5 K/BB

2015 Drew Storen – 1-0, 1.89 ERA, 27 SV, 33 and 1/3 IP, 0.99 WHIP, 4.75 K/BB

2012 Sean Burnett (L) – 1-1, 1.99 ERA, 2 SV, 31 and 2/3 IP, 1.07 WHIP, 4.57 K/BB

2013 Jordan Zimmermann (*AS*) – 12-4, 2.61 ERA, 132 and 1/3 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 5.28 K/BB

2016 Stephen Strasburg (*AS*) – 12-0, 2.62 ERA, 106 and 1/3 IP, 1.01 WHIP, 4.26 K/BB

2016 Max Scherzer (*AS*) – 10-6, 3.03 ERA, 127 and 2/3 IP, 0.96 WHIP, 4.82 K/BB

2012 Stephen Strasburg – 9-4, 2.82 ERA, 99 IP, 1.10 WHIP, 4.57 K/BB

BENCH:

C – 2005 Brian Schneider – .263/.323/.412, 25 R, 60 H, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 1/1 SB

1B – 2007 Dmitri Young (*AS*) – .339/.390/.512, 41 R, 96 H, 8 HR, 43 RBI, 0/0 SB

2B – 2011 Danny Espinosa – .242/.332/.460, 45 R, 79 H, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 12/14 SB

3B – 2014 Anthony Rendon – .287/.343/.490, 67 R, 103 H, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 8/9 SB

SS – 2008 Cristian Guzman (*AS*) – .313/.340/.424, 54 R, 126 H, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 3/6 SB

LF – 2010 Josh Willingham – .281/.411/.502, 45 R, 79 H, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 7/7 SB

CF – 2012 Bryce Harper (*AS*) – .282/.354/.472, 43 R, 70 H, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 10/13 SB

RF – 2005 Jose Guillen – .310/.360/.539, 50 R, 100 H, 18 HR, 51 R, 1/2 SB

 

 

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