The best player on each NLTeam

Pete Alonso

In my last article, I wrote about a hypothetical situation where the MLB expanded upon the traditional 25-man roster and allowed for thirty positional players on the active roster. 

That article contained one American League player per team, while this article will contain one National League player per team. If you were the general manager of any professional organization, who would your dream roster comprise of?

 

OF Ronald Acuña Jr, Atlanta Braves

As a rookie, Ronald Acuña Jr. rose to instant stardom in 2018, captivating fans of the Atlanta Braves and fans of many other organizations across the league. 

Since Acuña’s debut in 2018, he has demolished 67 home runs and has driven in 165 RBI in 1202 plate appearances. Acuña has slashed at .285/.365/.532/.897 with a .376 wOBA, 133 wRC+ and a 9.3 fWAR, while achieving 121 extra-base hits. 

Although Acuña has struck out at a 25.9% rate, he walks at a decent 10.1% rate, is in the top 4% for sprint speed, has stolen 53 bases and has only been caught on 14 occasions. 

Acuña’s defensive abilities are still in question, however. In 2300 innings played in the outfield, Acuña has saved 16 runs, but has accumulated a -0.6 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Acuña was in the bottom 27% for outs above average and was in the top 56% for outfielder jump. 

 

3B/OF Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins

Chances are, if you don’t observe the Miami Marlins extensively, this is probably the first time you’ve heard of Brian Anderson. 

Since 2018, Anderson has led the Marlins in fWAR. In that time frame, Anderson has demolished 31 home runs and has driven in 131 RBI in 1190 plate appearances. Anderson has slashed at .267/.349/.434/.783 with a 337 wOBA, 113 wRC+ and a 6.5 fWAR, while achieving 103 extra-base hits.

Anderson also plays solid defense and possesses flexibility both at third base and in the outfield. Last season, Anderson saved 13 runs and accumulated a 6.4 ultimate zone rating in 1043.4 innings played. Anderson was in the bottom 39% for outs above average. Also, Anderson is from Edmond, Oklahoma, and I have to support any product from Oklahoma. 

 

1B Pete Alonso, New York Mets

It’s fascinating just how similar Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso were in terms of offensive production last season. While a case could be formulated for McNeil, I chose Alonso since he accumulated a higher fWAR by 0.2 points, walked more often and broke the rookie record for most home runs recorded in a season at 53. 

In his rookie season, Alonso drove in 120 RBI in 693 plate appearances. Alonso slashed at .260/.358/.583/.941 with a .384 wOBA, 143 wRC+ and a 4.8 fWAR, while achieving 85 extra-base hits. 

Alonso produced a historic season with his bat, but his defense was another story. In 1328 innings played at first base, Alonso cost his team three runs, accumulated a 1.8 ultimate zone rating and was in the bottom 4% for outs above average. 

 

C J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies

While I’m a massive defender of Bryce Harper, I had to select J.T. Realmuto on the strict basis that his talent at the catching position is unlike any other. 

In the last four seasons, Realmuto has demolished 74 home runs and has driven in 270 RBI in 2248 plate appearances. Realmuto has slashed at .283/.335/.464/.799 with a .339 wOBA, 113 wRC+ and a 17.1 fWAR, while achieving 213 extra-base hits. 

Without a shadow of doubt, Realmuto is one of the most productive defenders in the league. In 2019, Realmuto posted 10.5 framing runs, 4.8 blocking runs, 4.7 throwing runs and 19.5 fielding runs above average. Realmuto ruled all catchers with a 1.88 poptime, posted a 50.2% strike rate and was in the top 34% for framing. 

Like Brian Anderson, Realmuto was born and raised in Del City, Oklahoma, which I appreciate considerably. 

 

OF Juan Soto, Washington Nationals

The king of Washington D.C, Juan Soto, is one of the most complete hitters in baseball at 21 years old. Soto is gifted with superb plate discipline and has already walked at an absurd 16.2% rate in the last two seasons. 

In that time frame, Soto has demolished 56 home runs and has driven in 180 RBI in 1153 plate appearances. Soto has slashed at .287/.403/.535/.937 with a .393 wOBA, 143 wRC+ and a 8.5 fWAR, while achieving 119 extra-base hits.

Soto is a maniac with the bat, but his glove is suspect. In 2314.1 innings played in the outfield, Soto has cost his team six runs and has accumulated a -4.9 ultimate zone rating. Although Soto was in the bottom 7% for outs above average in 2018, he improved drastically in 2019 and was in the top 10% for outs above average and was in the top 24% for outfielder jump. 

 

3B Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

Anthony Rizzo, and even Javier Báez for his defense would be valid choices, but I had to choose Kris Bryant for his productive bat.

Since his debut in 2015, Bryant has demolished 138 home runs and has driven in 403 RBI in 3105 plate appearances. Bryant has slashed at .284/.385/.516/.901 with a .383 wOBA, 139 wRC+ and a 27.8 fWAR, while achieving 321 extra-base hits. 

Bryant’s defense is questionable In the outfield, Bryant has saved five runs and has accumulated a -0.7 ultimate zone rating in 1054 innings played. At third base, Bryant has cost his team 15 runs and has accumulated a -0.8 ultimate zone rating in 4930.1 innings played. In 2019, Bryant was in the top 38% for outs above average. 

 

3B Eugenio Suárez,Cincinnati Reds

The product from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, produced his first break out season in 2018 and placed second in the majors with 49 home runs in 2019.

In the last three seasons, Suárez has demolished 109 home runs and has driven in 289 RBI in 1900 plate appearances. Suárez has slashed at .271/.363/.519/.882 with a .371 wOBA, 128 wRC+ and a 12.3 fWAR, while achieving 184 extra-base hits. 

Like many players on this list, Suárez's defensive abilities are uncertain at the hot corner. In 5147.1 innings played, Suárez has saved two runs but has accumulated a -2.1 ultimate zone rating. In 2018, Suárez was in the top 10% for outs above average, but dropped by 28% in 2019. 

 

OF Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

Christian Yelich has been a reliable hitter since his days with the Miami Marlins, but never yielded a MVP quality season until signing with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018.

In that time frame, Yelich has demolished 80 home runs and has driven in 207 RBI in 1231 plate appearances. Yelich has slashed at .327/.416/.634/1.050 with a .432 wOBA, 170 wRC+ and a 15.4 fWAR, while achieving 153 extra-base hits. 

Yelich’s primary drawback is his ineptitude in the field. While Yelich has been proficient in left field, saving 27 runs and accumulating a 14.1 ultimate zone rating in his career, he hasn’t replicated the same numbers in center field and right field. 

In 3759.3 innings played in center field and right field, Yelich has cost his team 23 runs and has accumulated a -1.7 ultimate zone rating. In 2018, Yelich was in the top 16% for outs above average, but dropped by 72% in 2019.

 

1B Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

Josh Bell has shown signs of potential since 2016, but didn’t fully display his potential until 2019. 

In 2019, Bell demolished 37 home runs and drove in 116 RBI in 613 plate appearances. Bell drove in 84 RBI in the first half and was expected to pass the Pittsburgh Pirates’ single-season RBI leader, which belonged to Paul Waner, but Bell declined vastly in the second half. Bell slashed at .377/.367/.569/.936 with a .378 wOBA, 135 wRC+ and a 2.5 fWAR, while achieving 77 extra-base hits. 

Like his major decline in the second half, Bell’s defense reduced over time. In 1160.2 innings played, Bell cost his team eight runs, recorded minus five outs above average and accumulated a -7.5 ultimate zone rating.

 

SS Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals

Alongside Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong has been a sensation in St. Louis since his debut in 2017. 

Since 2017, DeJong has demolished 74 home runs and has driven in 211 RBI in 1597 plate appearances. DeJong has slashed at .251/.318/.467/.785 with a .332 wOBA, 107 wRC+ and a 10.5 fWAR, while achieving 159 extra-base hits. According to league averages, DeJong is an above average hitter, but can definitely improve. 

DeJong is mainly recognized for his superior defense at shortstop. In 3124.2 innings played, DeJong has saved 38 runs and has accumulated a 20.6 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, DeJong was in the top 2% for outs above average. 

 

2B/SS Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks struck platinum when they packaged Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger for Ketel Marte and Taijuan Walker in 2016. Marte didn’t fully develop until 2019, but the wait has been worth the price of admission for Arizona. 

In 2019, Marte manufactured a MVP caliber season, demolishing 32 home runs and driving in 92 RBI in 628 plate appearances. Marte slashed at .329/.389/.592/.981 with a .405 wOBA, 150 wRC+ and a 7.1 fWAR, while achieving 77 extra-base hits. 

Luckily for Marte, he has potential to improve defensively. While Marte has saved 20 runs at second base and shortstop, he has accumulated a minus 6.9 ultimate zone rating in 3746.2 innings played. In 2018, Marte was in the top 4% for outs above average, but dropped by 84% in 2019. 

 

3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Considered by the masses as the most superb third baseman in the league, Arenado has showcased his aptitude at the hot corner since 2013. 

In the last seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies, Arenado has demolished 227 home runs and has driven in 734 RBI in 4357 plate appearances. Arenado has slashed at .295/.351/.546/.897 with a .375 wOBA, 120 wRC+ and a 31.3 fWAR, while achieving 507 extra-base hits. 

The “Coors Effect'' may not aid Arenado’s case offensively, as wRC+ adjusts for external factors like ballpark friendliness, but does prove he’s a superior defender. In 8807.2 innings played at third base, Arenado has saved 105 runs and has accumulated a 47.9 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Arenado was also in the top 1% for outs above average. 

 

OF/1B Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

With all due respect to Mookie Betts, who recently signed a one-year, $27 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I was determined to select Cody Bellinger since he’s a homegrown product from the Dodgers’ farm system. 

Since 2017, Bellinger has demolished 111 home runs and has driven in 288 RBI in 1840 plate appearances. Bellinger has slashed at .278/.368/.559/.928 with a .380 wOBA, 140 wRC+ and a 15.4 fWAR, while achieving 213 extra-base hits. Bellinger was also awarded MVP in 2019, posting a 1.035 OPS, .415 wOBA, 162 wRC+ and was fourth in the majors with 47 home runs. 

Bellinger is a tremendous defender. In 2019, Bellinger saved 23 runs and accumulated a 10.3 ultimate zone rating in the outfield. Bellinger was in the top 6% for outs above average and was in the top 17% for outfielder jump. Among qualified outfielders in 2019, Bellinger ranked third in the majors for defensive runs saved and ranked fifth in the majors for ultimate zone rating.

 

SS Fernando Tatis Jr, San Diego Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. was perhaps the most thrilling and unique player to observe in the 2019 season. I’d debate that Juan Soto and Tatis Jr. possess the best frames to be crowned the best player in baseball once Mike Trout regresses. 

In his debut season last year, Tatis Jr. demolished 22 home runs and drove in 53 RBI in 372 plate appearances. Tatis Jr. slashed at .317/.379/.590/.969 with a .398 wOBA, 150 wRC+ and a 3.6 fWAR, while achieving 41 extra-base hits. 

Tatis Jr. exhibited signs of flashiness with the glove last season, but wasn’t nearly the finest shortstop in terms of defense. In 731.1 innings played, Tatis Jr. cost his team three runs and accumulated a minus 5.8 ultimate zone rating. Tatis Jr. was in the bottom 99% for outs above average. However, Tatis. Jr. is young and possesses plenty of time to develop his skills, which is a terrifying thought for opposing teams to scheme a plan against. 

 

C Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

It should be to nobody's surprise that Buster Posey has been the most dominant catcher for the past decade. Since 2010, Posey ranks first in RBI, AVG, wOBA, wRC+ and fWAR. In that same time frame, Posey ranks second in OBP and fifth in HR and SLG.

Since 2009, Posey has demolished 140 home runs and has driven in 673 RBI in 5153 plate appearances. Posey has slashed at .302/.370/.456/.826 with a .356 wOBA, 128 wRC+ and a 52.7 fWAR, while achieving 419 extra-base hits. 

Due to his consistency behind the plate, Posey is highly respected for his performance at the catching position. In his career, Posey has saved 121 runs and has accumulated 123.5 pitch framing in 8399.2 innings played. Posey has also posted 134.6 framing runs, 13.4 blocking runs, 10.9 throwing runs and 168.4 fielding runs above average.

I have now officially concluded who my dream squad would consist of. Who would your dream squad contain? 

sports.ed@ocolly.com