The 2009 MLB All-Star game is just around the corner and in this article I will discuss my three picks for the starting outfielders for the National League squad.
My first pick was the easiest. Raul Ibanez of the Philadelphia Phillies has had an outstanding start to this season, and has surprised nearly everyone with his results. The left fielder came to Philadelphia to fill the shoes of fan favorite Pat Burrell, who signed with Tampa Bay over the off season. Many thought that Ibanez, at 37 years old, and playing in his fourteenth season, would not be able to live up to his predecessor. However, as the halfway point of the season approaches, fans have come to adore their new star player, who has more than lived up to the standards of the World Series champions. Raul is putting up remarkable statistics. He currently leads the league in home runs(22) and runs(51) and is in second place in both RBI(59) and slugging percentage(.678). He is currently batting .322 with 78 hits, both of which lead all other Phillies. Raul Ibanez is having a career season, and is leading a World Series caliber team. He is a sure pick for the All-Stars.
The Milwaukee Brewers are seeing some early success this year despite the absence of their prize starter from last year, C.C. Sabathia. This is in large part due to my second choice Ryan Braun. With his Brewers sitting in first place, Ryan Braun continues to bring his best to each game. Braun leads his team in runs(46), hits(74), doubles(14), triples(2), stolen bases(5), on base percentage(.415), and batting average(.319). With a fielding percentage of .982 Braun also brings a strong defensive edge to the team. Ryan is a strong young player, only in his third season, and has put up consistent numbers in his first two. He has proved he can run with the best of them and easily earns a spot in the outfield.
My final vote may not be an obvious one, as his team is 10.5 games out of first place. However, Brad Hawpe of the Colorado Rockies is moving his team from the gutter to the top of his division. His batting average is an impressive .337, which leads his team. He also has 21 doubles, which is currently third in the league. Hawpe has at least one hit in his last 17 of 20 games, of which 7 were multi-hit games. With his strong on base percentage(.410), Brad has sent the Rockies on an 11 game win streak, which ties a franchise record. This win streak has caught the eye of the entire league, and is making people wonder if the Rockies can eventually catch up to the league leading Dodgers. This has been a great opportunity for Brad Hawpe to shine, since Manny Ramirez of the Dodgers has been suspended for fifty games. Hawpe has taken this opportunity and has shown that he is worthy of his first All-Star spot.
The All-Star game is always exciting, and these are my three most exciting players of the first half. Hopefully ,we will see them in St. Louis on July 14.
“Brad Hawpe Postseason Statistics”, coloradorockies.com
“Brad Hawpe Game Log”, coloradorockies.com
“Major League Baseball Statistics”, mlb.com
“Regular Season Standings”, mlb.com