The Atlanta Braves have accelerated their rebuild, tied atop the National League East. They will be well represented at the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, with four players, including a pair voted into the starting lineup by fan balloting.
The All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday, July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
First baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Nick Markakis are the two Atlanta starters. It’s the third All-Star nod for Freeman, who is hitting .313/.405/.538 with 16 home runs this season. He received the most fan votes among National League players at over 4,039,219.
NL All-Star starters
This is the first All-Star selection for the 34-year-old Markakis, in his 13th major league season.
Willson Contreras beat out Buster Posey for his first All-Star selection, starting at catcher, and will be joined by his Chicago Cubs teammate Javier Baez, starting at second base.
San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, hitting .301/.366/.480 with stellar defense, starts as well.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado makes his fourth All-Star appearance. Arenado is the NL leader in home runs (22) and is second in RBI (63), and the five-time Gold Glover will make his second career All-Star start.
Matt Kemp was re-acquired in December by the Los Angeles Dodgers in more of an accounting move, maneuvering salary around to get under the competitive balance tax threshold. But after three sub-par campaigns since leaving his original team, Kemp has been resurgent this season, hitting .317/.355/.550 with 15 home runs and 18 doubles. It’s Kemp’s third All-Star appearance, but his first since 2012.
“The thing about Matt is, he was just taking it day by day. He was given an opportunity and he took advantage. He came in to compete and show he would earn opportunities to get at-bats,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who will manage the NL All-Stars. “He’s taken it, and become an All-Star in 2018.”
Bryce Harper has slumped for roughly two months but is still second in the National League in home runs (21), hitting .218/.374/.472. He received the third-most votes from fans among NL outfielders, giving the host Washington Nationals an All-Star starter, Harper’s sixth nod in the midsummer classic.
Max Scherzer is another National on the team, the top vote-getter among pitchers on the players’ ballot. Scherzer, the NL Cy Young Award winner the last two seasons, is tops in the majors in strikeouts (177) and fourth in the NL in ERA (2.33), and seems in line to start on the mound in front of his home crowd.
Full NL All-Star roster
|C||Willson Contreras||Cubs||Fan Vote|
|1B||Freddie Freeman||Braves||Fan Vote|
|2B||Javier Baez||Cubs||Fan Vote|
|3B||Nolan Arenado||Rockies||Fan Vote|
|SS||Brandon Crawford||Giants||Fan Vote|
|OF||Nick Markakis||Braves||Fan Vote|
|OF||Matt Kemp||Dodgers||Fan Vote|
|OF||Bryce Harper||Nationals||Fan Vote|
|C||Buster Posey||Giants||Player Vote|
|1B||Joey Votto||Reds||Player Vote|
|2B||Ozzie Albies||Braves||Player Vote|
|3B||Eugenio Suarez||Reds||Player Vote|
|SS||Trevor Story||Rockies||Player Vote|
|OF||Lorenzo Cain||Brewers||Player Vote|
|OF||Christian Yelich||Brewers||Player Vote|
|OF||Charlie Blackmon||Rockies||Player Vote|
|SP||Max Scherzer||Nationals||Player Vote|
|SP||Jacob deGrom||Mets||Player Vote|
|SP||Jon Lester||Cubs||Player Vote|
|SP||Aaron Nola||Phillies||Player Vote|
|SP||Mike Foltynewicz||Braves||Player Vote|
|RP||Josh Hader||Brewers||Player Vote|
|RP||Sean Doolittle||Nationals||Player Vote|
|RP||Brad Hand||Padres||Player Vote|