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Neil Walker Has Completely Legitimate All-Star Case

May 21st, 2014 at 5:57 PM
By Allan Smith

'Neil Walker' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Currently sporting the second-highest OPS amongst qualified National League second basemen, Neil Walker may very well have the best All-Star case of anyone on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His nine home runs and 25 RBI rank first for an NL second baseman, and projected All-Star second-sackers, such as Brandon Phillips and Jedd Gyorko, have struggled mightily.

But everyone knows how All-Star voting traditionally goes, and the players producing in the major markets will receive the vast majority of the vote. There is little chance Walker will be able to finish above Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon or New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.

The three have all enjoyed successful seasons as well, particularly Utley, who has seen a renaissance of his career over the first few months, hitting .335 with a .945 OPS. Gordon has also enjoyed a career year, hitting .301 with a league-leading 25 steals in just 28 attempts, and Murphy is hitting a solid .309 with a .797 OPS, good for third-best amongst the second basemen.

It would be a surprise to see Walker start over Utley or Gordon, but he should certainly be in close competition with Murphy for the final second baseman's slot. Walker has hit for more power and run production while Murphy has hit for a higher average and drawn more walks. Look for Walker to have the edge, as the Pirates may just have one lone representative, and he looks to be the most deserving.

Tags: Baseball, MLB, Neil Walker, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates

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