For as many surprise starts, breakout studs, and shocking disappointments as we've seen in the National League, the projected lineup for the 2019 MLB All-Star game in Cleveland is going to feature almost all of the sluggers and superstars you would expect. If Dave Roberts wants to avenge the AL's 8-6 win in the 2018 All-Star Game, he should send out a lineup that looks exactly like this, provided that the fans vote based on stats and not based on their favorite team.
1. Ronald Acuña Jr. (OF)
At the tender age of just 21 years old, Acuña has already blossomed into a borderline superstar. Mashing to the tune of a .289/.369/.498 triple slash with 18 home runs on a Braves team that is currently pacing the NL East, Acuña should stay in the leadoff spot that he has made his own in Atlanta.
2. Christian Yelich (OF)
Who would have thought that a stringy outfielder with 59 career homers in five years would become the most feared hitter in the NL. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder is proving that his 2018 NL MVP year was no fluke, as he leads the NL in home runs with 29 and steals with 17. With an OPS of 1.172 and an OPS+ 196, which is greater than Mark McGwire's 176 during his 65 homer season in 1999, Yelich is a no-brainer to start.
3. Cody Bellinger (OF)
When your WAR is 6.4 and the season isn't even half over yet, you're doing something right at the plate. Bellinger is leading the NL with a .353 batting average while adding in 25 home runs, 97 hits, and outstanding outfield defense. The Yelich/Bellinger competition for MVP this year promises to be just as captivating as the pennant race. The leading vote-getter in the first round of voting, the Dodgers outfielder is a mortal lock to earn a starting spot.
4. Freddie Freeman (First Base)
Now that the Braves have started winning with more consistency, Freeman has gotten the recognition he deserves as the best first baseman in the game. A year after making his third All-Star game and finishing fourth in the MVP voting, Freeman has improved in almost all areas, hitting at a .315 clip with 21 home runs in 78 games. Anthony Rizzo and Josh Bell make compelling cases, but Freeman gets the not at first.
5. Nolan Arenado (Third Base)
How shocking. A six-time Gold Glove winner who has led the NL in home runs in three of the last four years is in line to start another All-Star game. The 28-year-old, who signed a massive extension with Colorado in the offseason, has continued to humble MLB pitching, hitting .326 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI. As good as Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson have been, they're not close to Arenado.
6. Josh Bell (DH)
Playing in an AL park, one NL player that was not voted a starter will get a spot as the DH. The 26-year-old first baseman has been a revelation in Pittsburgh. While hitting .315 with 20 home runs is impressive enough, Bell also leads the NL in doubles with 28 and RBI with 66. One way or another, Bell will get to hit in the All-Star game.
7. Javier Baez (Shortstop)
The Baez breakout finally happened in 2018, as the Puerto Rican slugger was the runner-up in the MVP race. Baez has continued to rake in 2019, as his .287 average, 19 home runs, and 121 OPS+ will attest to. Baez will face tough competition from Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, but Baez's flair and defense will ultimately give him the nod over Story.
8. Willson Contreras (Catcher)
Contreras and Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal have put up almost identical production. Contreras gets the nod, however, as the sabermetrics value him slightly more so than Grandal, as Contreras' 141 OPS+ is barely above Grandal's 136. While Contreras was an All-Star last year thanks to rabid Cubs fans, his production alone will give him a spot in the game this year.
9. Ketel Marte (Second Base)
If you predicted that Marte would either hit .312 in the first half of the season, launch 20 home runs, or start in the All-Star game, you're either clairvoyant, Marte's dad, or you're lying. Marte came into the year with 22 career home runs, but has already slugged 20 and his upped his batting average by 52 percentage points. Ozzie Albies and Mike Moustakas might be bigger names, but Marte is somehow the most productive of the three.