The recently-named “Face of MLB” is not only the best catcher in the NL West, but also perhaps in all of baseball. After breaking in as Rookie of the Year, he’s consistently been in the MVP conversation. He’s also adept at handling a veteran pitching staff and has been sensational in the postseason.
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First base: Paul Goldschmidt
A strong argument can be made for four-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez, but Paul Goldschmidt is younger and seems to have tremendous upside -- Tony La Russa recently compared him to Albert Pujols. He’s been an All-Star the last couple of seasons and finished second in the MVP voting in 2013.
Second base: Howie Kendrick
Although Joe Panik may very well turn out to be an All-Star this year, Howie Kendrick gets the nod here because Panik only has a half season of major league experience thus far. Kendrick is solid defensively and has a career .292 average. D.J. LeMahieu also gets consideration for a Gold Glove last season.
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Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki
Despite battling injury last season, Tulo had another solid season with 21 home runs in only 315 at bats. He’s been a Gold Glover twice and an All-Star four times as well as an MVP candidate.
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Third base: Nolan Arenado
With Pablo Sandoval out of the division, Nolan Arenado is the best player at third. The Rockies third baseman does it all. He’s yet to make an All-Star team, but he’s been a Gold Glover in each of his first two seasons in the majors and had a club-record 31-game hitting streak last season.
Outfield: Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence going down is a big blow for the Giants as he is perhaps their biggest offensive threat after Posey and their most vocal leader. He’s been an All-Star three times and currently has a streak of 382 consecutive games played.
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Outfield: Justin Upton
The Padres added two All-Star-caliber outfielders this offseason, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. They have both been in the league for about the same amount of time, average 26 home runs per season and may have had their best seasons in 2011 when they were both among the top five in NL MVP voting. Kemp has been limited by injuries lately, so Upton gets the nod.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos Gonzalez is the third outfielder and the third Rockies player to make the list. Before injuries plagued him last season, he was an All-Star and a Gold Glover in his two previous seasons. He also finished third in the MVP voting in 2010. Other outfield considerations are emerging stars Yasiel Puig and Corey Dickerson.
Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw
If taking into account the postseason, Madison Bumgarner would definitely get the start. However, in looking at a body of work that includes four straight seasons of leading all of baseball in ERA, the reigning NL Cy Young winner and MVP, Clayton Kershaw gets the start.