All-Star rosters will be announced tomorrow afternoon. We know no Nationals will win the fan voting — Ryan Zimmerman will probably finish third among NL third basemen and Adam Dunn will finish somewhere around 12th among outfielders — but obviously someone has to make it as a reserve.
The logical candidates are Zimmerman, Dunn and Cristian Guzman, and really, you could make a reasonable argument for any of the three. But remember: This is about more than just each individual player’s case. Their position and the rest of the competition at that position plays just as much of a role in the final decision.
So let’s take a look at the three candidates and why they might or might not be selected…
Why he should be picked: He’s been the most consistent hitter on the roster all season, really one of the most consistent in the majors. He ranks 10th in the NL with a .320 batting average and is tied for third with 30 multi-hit games (this, despite missing a couple weeks in April with a minor injury). Guzman has been an All-Star twice before, including last year, and he plays a position that’s having a down year. Only Hanley Ramirez (and maybe Miguel Tejada) are shoo-ins to make it as shortstops, helping Guzman’s cause.
Why he shouldn’t be picked: Other than his high batting average, Guzman doesn’t bring much else to the table. He’s drawn only seven walks, leading to a .365 OBP. He’s got only 21 RBI, and he’s committed 10 errors at shortstop. While he has been consistent, he’s hardly been a high-impact player this season.
Chance of representing the Nats: 45 percent.
Why he should be picked: Zimmerman was one of baseball’s best players through April and May, with an average that reached into the .360s. His 30-game hit streak drew headlines around the country and earned him respect from fans, media and colleagues. He is the face of the Nationals’ franchise and would represent the club well this year (and likely for many years to come).
Why he shouldn’t be picked: Zimmerman has cooled off considerably since the streak came to an end, his average now at .295. He’s tied for the league lead with 13 errors among all third basemen. He plays a position deep in talent this season. David Wright will win the fan vote and start. Chipper Jones, San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval and Arizona’s Mark Reynolds all have strong cases to make the team, potentially leaving no available spot for Zim
Chance of representing the Nats: 35 percent.
Why he should be picked: Dunn has long been one of the game’s premier sluggers, and he’s kept it up this season with 21 homers (tied for fifth in the NL) and 57 RBI (tied for seventh). He also ranks third with 63 walks drawn. Dunn would also be a natural draw for the Home Run Derby.
Why he shouldn’t be picked: Like Guzman, he’s too much of a one-trick pony. Dunn’s .261 average is hardly All-Star material. His 88 strikeouts rank third in the NL. His defense is atrocious, and this game will be played in St. Louis (an NL park), so he can’t DH.
Chances of representing the Nats: 20 percent.