December 7, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Braves’ Shaun Murphy and Orlando Arcia join Ronald Acuna Jr. for the NL All-Star Championship

Braves’ Shaun Murphy and Orlando Arcia join Ronald Acuna Jr. for the NL All-Star Championship

The Braves have the best record in the National League, and their NL All-Star lineup will reflect that.

MLB announced the starting lineups for next month’s All-Star game Thursday night, as determined by fan voting. Ronald Acuna Jr., who was named a starter last week, has some company. Catcher Shaun Murphy and Orlando Arcia shortstop will start at their respective spots on the NL All-Star Team.

First baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Ozzie Albis, third baseman Austin Riley and outfielder Michael Harris were among the finalists in their position, but they did not win the second base fan vote.

The Braves and Dodgers led the way with three players each named to the starting lineup.

Acuña was the NL leader in votes in Stage 1, which earned him an automatic starting spot. He will be joined by Dodgers’ Mookie Betts and Diamondbacks rookie Corbin Carroll on the field.

This is Acuña’s fourth All-Star start before his 26th birthday. He is the best player in the Premier League as the season ends midway through. 331 with a . 993 OPS, hit 19 homers and stole 36 bases.

Murphy is a first-time All-Star in his first season with the Braves. The couple dealt with Murphy over the winter as they continued to rip before their coveted move to Las Vegas. He was considered a gem for needy contenders, but the Braves—who already had All-Star catcher Travis D’Arno—won the bid, creating a duo that was the envy of MLB.

Along with his defensive acumen, Murphy produced his best offensive season. He hits .289/.385/.540 with 13 homers and 44 RBI. He earned praise from the team’s shooting staff and caught 12 baserunners trying to steal. Murphy received 61% of the fan vote, defeating Dodgers backstop Will Smith for the honor.

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Murphy will be the first Braves catcher to start for the All-Star team since Brian McCann in 2011. He joins D’Arno (2022), McCann (2006-11, 2013), Johnny Estrada (2004) and Javi Lopez (2003) as Braves catchers who made Midsummer Classic since 2000.

No one could have imagined Arcia would be the starting shortstop in the NL. Many didn’t even envision him starting with the Braves until the team picked him over youngsters Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake late in spring training. Arshia has also landed this role. It wasn’t just because Braves fans are passionate voters for their players; Arcia has a strong case as the best shortstop in the NL this season.

He made the most of the opportunity, which arose when he left Dansby Swanson for the Cubs in free agency on the outfield. Arcia hit .303/.358/.436 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 26 RBI. He played excellent defense, an important factor given that he replaced the Gold Glove winner.

Arcia, who received 69% of the fan vote, is the second consecutive Braves shortstop to make the All-Star team after Swanson last season. Prior to the past two seasons, the Braves had not had an All-Star shortstop since Edgar Renteria in 2006. Arcia is the Braves’ first selection at shortstop since current bench coach Walt Weiss (1998).

Olson, who leads the National League with 25 home runs, could still make the reserve All-Star team. He was beaten by former Braves MVP and current Dodgers senior Freddie Freeman in the fan vote (60-40%). Olson made the All-Star Team in 2021 with Oakland.

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Albiz is a two-time All-Star, most recently in 2021, but he lost the fans vote to the Marlins to strikeout stunner Luis Aries, who averaged 396 through Thursday. Albies received 47% of the fan vote. Riley earned his first All-Star nod last summer. He was defeated by Cardinals star Nolan Arenado in the fan vote, receiving 43% of the vote. Michael Harris, the reigning rookie of the year, also fell short in the fan vote for Carroll and Bates.

Perhaps at least one of these players will get a reserve spot. The Braves could also have an All-Star pitcher – Bryce Elder (6-1, 2.44 ERA) certainly made a strong argument.

The full All-Star rosters will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN. The 93rd All-Star Game will take place on July 11 in Seattle.

NL Starting Lineup:

Sean Murphy, Braves

1B Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

2B Louis Aries, Marlins

3B Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

SS Orlando Archea, Braves

Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves

From Mookie Betts, Dodgers

Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

DHG De Martinez, Dodgers