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MLB All-Star Popularity Contest: Did the fans get it right ?

Voting for All-Star Games is always a bit of a popularity contest. Good players always win, but do the best pull through? Let’s see who the fans did well on, and who they could have done much better with in this analysis of the 2018 MLB All Star Game’s newly released starting lineup.

 

Catchers

 

AL – Wilson Ramos – Right

 

There is a case to be made for Evan Gattis, because he is a “catcher,” but no matter his stats, he’s only caught 2 games all year. Removing him from the equation, there is no catcher in the AL even close to Ramos. That being said, the system robbed Gattis, but more on that later.

 

NL – Wilson Contreras – Terribly Wrong

 

This is only the second pick I’m evaluating, but it’s easily possible that this one will be the worst one I look at. Instead of rambling and ranting, I’m going to show you two stat lines:

 

Player 1 – .317/.368/.551 12HR 44RBI 20DBL 84H in 66 Games

Player 2 – .284/.372/.461 7HR 34RBI 19DBL 80H in 78 Games

 

Who is your All-Star? Player 1 of course. Player 2 is Wilson Contreras and Player 1 is JT Realmuto, who was absolutely and utterly robbed of a starting spot on this All-Star team. Oh, and on top of that, Contreras has 3 more errors this year than Realmuto and a worse fielding percentage. It’s a good thing that he was bailed out by the MLB and put on the team as a reserve, because an All-Star game without baseball’s best catcher is just plain wrong.

 

First Base

 

AL – Jose Abreu – Acceptable

 

Abreu is a solid choice, there is an argument to be made for Houston’s Yuli Gurriel, but it is tough to put up a strong argument against Abreu, as he combines the traditional power expected from someone who plays first with a decent batting average. Gurriel or Mooreland would have been acceptable picks, none of them wrong with cases for them all to be in this spot.

 

NL – Freddie Freeman –  Wrong

 

Time for more stat lines!
Player 1 – .305/.368/.639 23HR 64RBI 76H in 249 ABs (80 Games)

Player 2 – .315/.406/.542 16HR 59RBI 108H in 343 AB (89 Games)

Player 3 – .292/425/.444 9HR 45RBI 94H in 322 AB (90 Games)

 

Who ya taking? Player 1? With his OPS of 1.007 and the 5th most dingers in the league in less than 250 at bats? That’s who I’m taking, Jesus Aguilar, the best first baseman in the NL right now. I’m bumping player 2, Freddie Freeman, down to a reserve and taking Player 3, Joey Votto, and shipping him back to Cincinnati to enjoy the break with his family.

 

Second Base

 

AL – Jose Altuve – Duh

 

Is there even a reason to discuss this?

 

NL – Javy Baez – Right

 

Second basemen in the NL are having a great year. Javy, Scooter, or Ozzie could have been the right choice here, with Starlin and Asdrubal not too far behind, but far enough to not be in the discussion with these three.

 

Third Base

 

AL – Jose Ramirez – Right

 

Bregman is great, but this season Ramirez is the right choice. He has a better average, OBP, and slugging percentage, less strikeouts, more walks, more homers, and more RBI. Look for this silver slugger race between the two to come down to the wire.

 

NL – Nolan Arenado – Acceptable

 

Nolan is a superb player, an incredible fielder who more than gets it done at the plate. However his competition in this race should not have come from Kris Bryant, the second place vote getting, but from Eugenio Suarez, who is playing much better than Arenado (as weird as that is to say) at this point.

 

Suarez – 277 ABs hitting .314/.405/.585 with 68 RBI, 19HR, 39BB, 59K

Arenado – 321 ABs hitting .305/.388/.583 with 63 RBI, 22 HR, 45BB, 71K

 

Any fan knows how noteworthy Nolan Arenado getting outhit is, especially by someone who is averaging .92 RBI/Game compared to his .75. Nolan is not necessarily the wrong pick here, as he is the best third baseman in the NL right now, but the if the Silver Slugger was being awarded today, it would not be getting sent to Denver.

 

Shortstop

 

AL – Manny Machado – Acceptable

 

There are four people who deserve to be All-Stars at this position for the AL: Jean Segura (batting .330 with 115 hits, 24 doubles, and 14 stolen bases in 84 games), Francisco Lindor (batting .298 with 23 home runs, a .937 OPS, and 28 doubles in 88 games), Manny Machado (batting .309 with 21 home runs, 60 RBI, and a .934 OPS in 90 games), and Andrelton Simmons (batting .307 with 16 doubles, 39 RBI, and 27 BB vs. 15Ks in over 50 less ABs than the rest of the field).

 

Any of them would have been acceptable, the voters had a tough choice.

 

NL – Brandon Crawford – Laughably Wrong

 

Did Brandon Crawford deserve to finish second in NL SS All-Star voting? Absolutely. Did he deserve to be the starter? No. Let me tell you a Story, Trevor that is (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Let’s compare. Story – 24 doubles, Crawford – 21. Story – 17 homers, Crawford – 10. Story – 62 RBI, Crawford 39. They’ve both walked 30 times, Story has struck out 95 times to Crawford’s 69. Story has stolen 11 bases to Crawford’s 3 (and Crawford has been caught 5 times to Story’s 4). Crawford is batting .296, Story is batting .284, but his OPS is .882 vs. Crawford’s .836.

It’s really no contest. Story should be starting this game alongside his fellow leftsider, Nolan Arenado.

 

Outfield

 

AL – Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge – Yup

 

Castellanos? Rosario? There are plenty of talented outfielders in the AL, and there is a decent place to argue over if the reserves should include those two I mentioned and maybe some others; however, this is about the starters, and how could you pick anyone else besides these three? It’s simple, you can’t

 

NL – Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper – Right, Right, Wrong

 

Harper is hitting .218 and only has 22 home runs. A .218 hitter who is tied for 7th in the MLB for home runs should not be an All-Star starter, but his name is Bryce Harper, so he is in. Charlie Blackmon should be starting over him, as he has 17 home runs, and is hitting .276. I’m taking Chuck Nasty and his beard.

 

Designated Hitter

 

AL – J.D. Martinez – Duh

 

There is no need to discuss Martinez, but there is need to discuss how the DH spot figures into the All-Star game selection process. Evan Gattis has caught 2 games this year, but he is hitting better than any other AL catcher, but reasonably, he is eligible as a DH, not a catcher. Nelson Cruz has played 76 games this year, all at DH, and is an All-Star reserve in the outfield. Gattis is out in the cold, Cruz is an All-Star for a spot he doesn’t play. Something is not right here. Either way J.D. is better, but Gattis deserves an All-Star spot and Cruz is not an outfielder.

 

Pitching Staff

 

As you know, the pitching staff is not chosen by the voters, but by MLB and the players, so I can’t really say if the voters made the right or wrong choice, so instead I will just discuss a few pitchers who got snubbed.

 

AL – Blake Snell

 

12-4 with a 2.09 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, a .183 BAA, and 132Ks in 116 innings of work speaks for itself.

 

AL – Charlie Morton

 

11-2 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, a .199 BAA, and 141Ks in 108 innings of work doesn’t speak as loudly as Snell’s stat line, but Morton, a 34-year-old, has won 11 of 18 games, and only suffered 2 losses. That speaks volumes.

 

NL – Ross Stripling

 

7-2 with a 2.22 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, a .242 BAA, and 103Ks in only 89 innings of work. Besides his BAA, Stripling is on par with the rest of the pitchers in from the NL who made the cut, and he should have been in there with them.

 

Also, let’s remember, as of last season the All-Star game doesn’t count. More on that to come.

 

 

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