St. Louis Cardinals boast strong candidates for the All-Star game

DENVER, CO - MAY 13: A general view of the scoreboard featuring the All-Star Game logo during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 13: A general view of the scoreboard featuring the All-Star Game logo during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – JULY 11: National League All-Star Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a baseball during the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. The American League defeated the National League 2-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – JULY 11: National League All-Star Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a baseball during the 88th MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017 in Miami, Florida. The American League defeated the National League 2-1. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

POSITION PLAYERS

Right off the bat, it’s going to be difficult for some of the injured guys to make it this summer. Despite a reasonably good start to the season, Harrison Bader has missed a lot of the first half. Paul DeJong might be back soon, but his slow start paired with his recent stint on the IL makes it unlikely that he is selected, as well.

Moving around the diamond, Yadier Molina should definitely make the team. His main competition for the starting catcher spot is the resurgent Buster Posey, rival Willson Contreras, and Dodgers budding star Will Smith. With almost daily highlights throwing out baserunners and one of the best seasons of his career at the plate, however, Yadi has a great chance to make his 10th appearance at the All-Star Game.

Like Yadi, Paul Goldschmidt is no stranger to the Midsummer Classic. Whereas Yadi has been hitting the ball well, however, Goldy hasn’t had the same results. Despite a fairly productive season so far and an impeccable track record, he’ll need a real hot month of June to be picked over last year’s MVP Freddie Freeman, Dodgers star Max Muncy (who is leading the league in WAR), and the rest of a strong crop of NL first baseman. Goldy is hitting the ball hard, though, so he’s definitely not out of the running.

I’d hate to jinx anything, but the new guy at third has a pretty good shot to keep his All-Star Game streak alive. Nolan Arenado has played in every game but one for the Cardinals this season. His stellar defense is on display every night, and he’s swung a quite powerful bat.

In fact, Arenado is tied for the lead in the NL in extra-base hits, and ranks second in home runs among NL third baseman. Cardinal fans are going to have to work hard to make sure Nolan gets the starting nod ahead of the once-again dangerous Kris Bryant, but if there is anyone on the Cardinals this season who deserves an All-Star Game bid, it is Arenado. What a homecoming that would be for the former Rockie.

The last spot on the infield is the most interesting in terms of the NL All-Star vote. Although he has bounced around and played other positions, Tommy Edman is representing the Cardinals at second base. Batting leadoff and playing in every game but one this season, he leads the league in plate appearances, is fourth in the NL in hits, and is tied for fourth in the NL in WAR. Not too shabby, Mr. Edman.

Second base isn’t the strongest position in the league this season, but it’s fair to question if Edman has done enough to warrant his first All-Star selection. While he’s cooled off a bit since his hot start to the year, if Tommy can keep hitting, scoring runs, and competing for the league lead in steals, he’ll have a good chance of beating out rookie Jazz Chisholm of the Marlins, the slugger Ryan McMahon of the Rockies, and likely sole representative of the cellar-dwelling Pirates Adam Frazier.

If you want any more Cardinal bats to be in Colorado you better get ready to vote, because the outfield crop in the National League is impressive. With Cody Bellinger, Ronald Acuña, Mookie Betts, and Bryce Harper all established All-Stars, there aren’t many spots available for newcomers. Add in the strong performances of Reds duo Jesse Winker and Nicholas Castellanos, and the path to the All-Star Game for a Cardinal outfielder is really difficult.

That being said, Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson still have a chance. First of all, Bellinger has barely played this year due to injury. In addition, O’Neill is eighth in the NL in home runs, behind only two other outfielders (Acuña and Winker). Carlson, on the other hand, has been one of the top rookies in the league this season.

Both players have provided exceptional defense along with the value they create at the plate, too. Carlson probably doesn’t have the eye-popping stats needed to garner national attention at this point of the year, but if O’Neill keeps hitting bombs, he could sneak his way onto the roster.

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