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NL All-Star Team for May

Robert Suarez pitches at home for the San Diego Padres.

NL players had some A-May-Zing performances this month. These are the All-Star performers, compiling a fearsome lineup.

The American League team is done, and now the National League gets to show what their All-Star lineup made of. The San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers both have three All-Stars, leaving little space for other NL teams to crack the lineup in May. Such are the whims of baseball. All of this means nothing come June, where both teams may have no one included. For now, celebrate their wins, which may be hard to come this October.

NL All-Star Roster

C William Contreras

1B Bryce Harper

2B Luis Arráez

3B Joey Ortiz

SS Ezequiel Tovar

LF Jurickson Profar

CF Eddie Rosario

RF Christian Yelich

DH Shohei Ohtani

SP Chris Sale

RP Robert Suárez

Sale Price for Tier One Starter

The Red Sox are paying $17 million out of Chris Sale’s $27.5 million salary this season. This means the Braves had the best pitcher in baseball for $10.5 million. Suddenly, Sale is an asset again and not a liability. He pitched in five games, getting five victories, much like UConn’s Big East run with Kemba Walker back in 2011. Not only a perfect record, but Sale threw 32 innings with a 0.56 ERA, tops in MLB for starters in May. Sale’s icing on the cake was 45 strikeouts. The NL doesn’t know what’s hit them. I am happy for the man and hope he keeps it going. He’s a pleasure to watch when he’s at his best, and Atlanta deserves to watch stars play, even if OF Ronal Acuña Jr. is out for the season.

Sale has been masterful, but complete games are sadly out of style in 2024. Therefore, when Sale dismounts from the mound, Robert Suárez of the San Diego Padres will finish the job. Suárez ended May with a 0.73 ERA through 12.1 innings, earning seven saves along the way. The Padres are vastly improved from last year’s disappointment as well, thanks in part to Suárez’s work out of the bullpen.

Something Special is Brewing

William Contreras and Joey Ortiz were outstanding for the Milwaukee Brewers in May. It is a shame Contreras’ sibling rivalry with his brother Willson is on pause, but that didn’t slow down William. Contreras hit .301 with 21 RBIs and 19 runs. The RBIs led all catchers, and his average was second in the NL, behind only C J.T. Realmuto (.316).  Ortiz dominated at the hot corner, leading NL third basemen with a .307 average, .978 OPS, and was second in doubles. These two were major factors in the Brewers going 16-12 in the month.

Another reason for the Brewers’ success was the re-emergence of former NL MVP OF Christian Yelich. Yelich won the MVP in 2018 and was second in 2019. Since then, he has not even made an All-Star game. This month may very well be the end of the downward trend. Yelich hit .321 with a .872 OPS, 16 RBIs, 14 runs, and 6 stolen bases. Among NL outfielders those stats rank second in average and OPS while the others all rank third. Perhaps former manager Craig Counsell left a year too soon for the supposedly greener pastures of Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs enter Tuesday seven games behind the Brewers.

The Prayers of the Padres

The Brewers have three All-Stars this month. The Padres are not to be outdone because they have three as well. Suárez is applauded above, but his teammates OF Jurickson Profar and new teammate 2B Luis Arráez have been phenomenal as well. Arráez has played a lot of DH as well, but for this he’s a second baseman. He led MLB with a .389 average and with 44 hits in the month while also chipping in 16 runs and 11 RBIs.

Profar was far from being overshadowed by Arráez. He hit .344, good for fourth in MLB. He led NL outfielders with a .927 OPS, 18 runs, and 18 RBIs. The Padres are still chasing the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the NL West but finally look like the team they were supposed to be last season. Losing SS Xander Bogaerts to a shoulder injury has not slowed them down. Needless to say, the NL West is the Dodgers to lose but the Padres will keep them on their toes this year.

The Leftovers

Each of these players had a fantastic month, but none of them are a member of the Padres or Brewers, thus designating them “the leftovers”. Speaking of designating, DH Shohei Ohtani beat out DH Marcell Ozuna this month for the spot. Ohtani led NL DHs in OPS (.976), average (.312), slugging (.591), home runs (7), RBIs (19), and stolen bases (8). The stolen bases were good for fifth in the league, not something typically seen out of a DH. A soon-to-be DH, Bryce Harper, was dominant at first base for the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper hit .313 with seven home runs and was fourth in MLB with 24 RBIs. Harper has been a constant star in Philadelphia, but let’s not forget that the most successful and famous athlete in Philadelphia history is still Rocky Balboa, a fake boxer with a real statue.

Coors Field is always ridiculed as a hitters’ park, yet the Colorado Rockies typically couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Ezequiel Tovar was a pleasant exception last month. Tovar earned the shortstop spot for hitting .308 with ten doubles and 17 runs. His 36 hits were the most in the month for any shortstop. It will continue to be a rocky road in Colorado, but Tovar is a bright young star Rockies fans can look forward to seeing traded away.

Lastly, the final outfield spot goes to Eddie Rosario of the Washington Nationals. His OPS among NL outfielders was third, behind only Profar and Yelich. Six home runs, 17 RBIs, and 17 runs for a struggling Nationals team makes Rosario’s stats look stronger than they may be on paper.

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