07 July 2006

DPD: All-Star Game's Pleasant Surprises, National League Edition

Yesterday, after getting briefly off-track, I gave you a few of the more uplifting stories surrounding the 2006 MLB All-Star Game. I had intended to do only one such column, but golly, there were just so many of those stories in the American League alone that I was forced to do an entirely separate column on the National League. So, without further delay, here are some of the more notable positive stories for the Senior Circuit's team.

The NL Starting Infield

No shortage of positive and encouraging tales here. Three quarters of the National League's starters in the infield are making their All-Star debuts. Including...

David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
In truth, Wright is hitting almost exactly as well this year (.320/.390/.571) as he did last year (.306/.388/.523), though with a bit more power in 2006. The trouble, thoguh, is that the Hot Corner is a very deep position in the majors right now, and the 2005 NL team featured no fewer than four thirdbasemen (Aramis Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Miguel Cabrera and Morgan Ensberg, though technically Cabrera played a lot more left field than third base last season). In addition, Wright didn't really "turn it on" until the second half last year, hitting a respectable but non-Star-worthy .281/.369/.470 before the Break. This year, however, he's leading all NL thirdbasemen in homers and RBIs, and is a deserving starter in what should be the first of many All-Star games for the Mets star.

Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets
Another budding, perennial All-Star playing in the Mets' infield is Jose Reyes. Reyes leads the NL with 109 hits, and leads the major leagues with 73 runs scored, 12 triples and 37 steals. Reyes has long been heralded as a star, but hasd not had the health to prove his worth intil the last two seasons. He's gotten his batting average up to .299, but more importantly, he's walking more. Of course, he could hardly have walked less than he did last year, but he's already set a personal, single-season best with 30 this year, after walking only 27 times in 710 at-bats last year. He led the2005 NL with 60 steals, and this year he's on a pace for 72, which would be the most in the NL since 1999. His run-scoring pace of 142 would be the most since Sammy "Say it Ain't Steroids" Sosa scored 146 in 2001.

Read the rest at Double Play Depth...

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