It's time to pick the NL dream team
The sequel is rarely better than the original. This is especially true when the original is a half-baked idea.
That said, here's the National League version of last week's American League attempt at concocting the best starting roster for make believe.
Here are the rules to this game in case you missed out or had your memory erased during Doomsday 2k11 (Day 1 of March Madness plus St. Patrick's Day): You (a) must pick a player from each NL team and (b) you cannot pick more than one player per team.
This means that the "Having-Cake-and-Eating-it-Too-Rule" is in effect:
You might want both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez on your team, but you can't -- too many calories.
Here's a snapshot of the team photo to give you some context, and then I'll break everything down afterward.
Feldmania All-NL Team
C: Buster Posey (SF)
1B: Albert Pujols (STL)
2B: Dan Uggla (ATL)
SS: Jose Reyes (NYM)
3B: Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
OF: Ryan Braun (MIL)
OF: Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
OF: Andrew McCutchen(PIT)
OF: Justin Upton(ARI)
SP: Roy Halladay (PHI)
SP: Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
SP: Josh Johnson (FLA)
SP: Mat Latos (SD)
SP: Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)
RP: Aroldis Chapman (CIN)
CL: Carlos Marmol (CHC)
Starter: Posey, San Francisco Giants
Other contenders: Brian McCann (Braves), Miguel Montero (D-backs), Geovany Soto (Cubs)
Giants eliminated: Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson's beard
Breakdown: This didn't go down as expected. My gut-shot inclination was that both Brian McCann and Lincecum would be on Team Feldmania, but second base put a whole new wrinkle on this, and I seconded that emotion when I realized I had an abundance of outfielders and starting pitchers from which to choose. Also, finding a catcher/second base combo that you'd be happy with is tougher than that hangar steak you forgot in the oven while you went to the gym and did laundry.
Starter: Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
Other contenders: Prince Fielder (Brewers), Ryan Howard (Phillies), Joey Votto (Reds)
Cardinals eliminated: Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday
Breakdown: Easiest pick for Team Feldmania by far. Pujols is the best hitter in baseball, Fielder, Howard and Votto are not.
Starter: Uggla, Atlanta Braves
Other contenders: Brandon Phillips (Reds), Rickie Weeks (Brewers), Chase Utley (Phillies), Kelly Johnson (D-backs)
Braves eliminated: McCann, Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Jason Heyward
Breakdown:Getting 35-40 homers from my second baseman was just too saucy to pass up. Also, did I mention that there is an oasis of amazing outfielders and starters from which to pick? That's not a rhetorical question, my mouse just broke and I can't scroll up.
Starter: Reyes, New York Mets
Other contenders: Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), Tulowitzki (Rockies)
Mets eliminated: David Wright
Breakdown: Wright or Reyes had to be on this team, that much I knew. After that, it was pretty much the lesser of two evils. On a pure talent level I would have preferred Wright, but that would leave out Ryan Zimmerman, and having no Zimmerman means that Livan Hernandez joins the Feldmania rotation. That wasn't going to happen; my mom/pitching coach would have disliked that. So then I centered on Reyes, knowing that Hanley (Josh Johnson) and Tulo (CarGo) had equally talented teammates who fit the Feldmania brand. So then I just ate five orange Tic-Tacs, Velcro'd my shoes and called it a day.
Starter: Zimmerman, Nationals
Other contenders: Wright (Mets), Pedro Alvarez (Pirates)
Blue Jays eliminated: Jayson Werth, Hernandez
Breakdown: See above. Zimmerman was not not going to be on this team.
Starters: Braun, Milwaukee Brewers; Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies; McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates; Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
Other contenders: The Matts (Kemp, Holliday), Hunter Pence (Astros), Heyward, Jay Bruce, Mike Stanton (Marlins), Chris Young (D-backs), Andre Ethier (Dodgers)
Breakdown: Is "I'm Walking on Sunshine" playing in your head when you look at that outfield, or is that just me? Seriously, look at that outfield. It's beautiful. And better yet, since there are 16 NL teams for 14 real starting spots, I arbitrarily included a fourth outfielder into the mix. I can do stuff like that. I made up this game. If you want two catchers on your team you can do that, too. Just one will be receiving fastballs from Roy Halladay -- the other will just be playing catch with my fat Uncle Saul, the bullpen coach. He will share his ranch-flavored sunflower seeds with you. He's good like that.
Rotation: Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies; Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers; Johnson, Marlins; Latos, San Diego Padres; Rodriguez, Houston Astros
Other contenders: Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, not Joe Blanton (Phillies), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies), Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo (Brewers), Hanson, Carpenter, Lincecum, Cain, Chad Billingsley, The Hudsons (Tim, Daniel), Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza (Cubs)
Breakdown: I couldn't be happier with my rotation. We got the bulldog, sure-fire ace to start Game 1 of any imaginary playoff game, three burgeoning aces in Kershaw, Johnson and Latos, and Rodriguez, who needed to go on the squad since there was no room in the outfield for Pence. An astute reader would notice that I only had four starting pitchers on Team Feldmania AL Edition, and I have five starters now on Team Feldmania NL. But hey, I wasn't going to put five outfielders in the outfield. You can if you want to, but they will all fight about who gets to be the rover. I've seen grown men cry over losing out on the "rover" distinction, and I just don't need that kind of distraction in the Feldmania clubhouse. You've been warned.
Choice: Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Other contenders: Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams (Padres), Hong-Chih Kuo (Dodgers),
Breakdown: Hey, look, I made a spot for a setup man on the NL Feldmania Team! This is something you do when your team is almost complete but you discover that there are no members of the Cincinnati Reds. I mean, this is something you do when you want that intimidating eighth-inning man to serve as the bridge to between Rodriguez and your closer. For serious, I just wanted Chapman on this team for that 100-mph-fastball flavor. For cereal, I just wanted Crispix for that crispy-rice, crunchy-corn flavor.
Choice: Carlos Marmol, Chicago Cubs
Other contenders: Heath Bell (Padres), Wilson (Giants), Wilson's Beard (Wilson's face)
Cubs eliminated: Alfonso Soriano? Aramis Ramirez? Matt Garza?
Breakdown:I really, really like Marmol, so using him and his 100-plus strikeouts wasn't such an issue despite bypassing Bell and Wilson. What was relatively interesting during this exercise was that at no point did any other Cubs player remotely lather me with excitement. I am erasing them from my Teams That Can Win the NL Central List purely based on this metric. Pirates -- you guys can stay -- you guys are cool, McCutchen's with me.
Dave Feldman is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.