The 2013 MLB All-Star Game starting lineup revealing is set for 6:30 ET on Saturday. Some of the races are very close until the end, including the battle between Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton and Bryce Harper for two National League outfield spots. Gonzalez and Upton are two similar talents, and here we're going to take a look at what makes them tick.
At the plate, both of these players instill some serious fear in opposing pitchers. Though he started off the season on a torrid pace, Upton has fallen off considerably since then, as Yankeesource explained the ugly truth:
Justin Upton looked like a serious contender for an MVP title early this season. He's hit just 3 homers in last 2 months.— Yankeesource (@YankeeSource) July 1, 2013
Still, he remains an imposing figure in the batter's box, and he has an impressive 48 walks to his credit.
When he was drafted first overall in the 2005 MLB draft, Upton was touted as a five-tool player. But at age 25, it seems that he is only scratching the surface of his potential. Through 81 games, he is batting only .248 with 38 RBI.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, has been a consistent performer at the plate throughout his tenure with the Rockies. For many years now, his critics have been sure to point out that Coors Field has been friendly to his statistics. However, this year is different.
Surprisingly enough, Gonzalez has hit .312 with 13 home runs on the road to his .280 and 11 homers at home. ESPN Stats & Info points out how impressive he has been this year:
Carlos Gonzalez has already hit more HR this year (23) than he did all of last year (22).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 4, 2013
Though it's often overlooked outside of the SportsCenter "Top 10 Plays," fielding is a big part of baseball. Neither of these two players is a stranger to the highlight reel, though.
Statistically, Upton has made four errors this year and carries a DWAR of -1.0. Obviously, that doesn't speak too highly of his defensive abilities, but he has some serious range and athleticism.
Here, Upton robs Pedro Alvarez of what could have been a home run:
And here, he makes a phenomenal diving catch to save multiple runs:
Gonzalez might not have the sheer athleticism of Upton, but he has some serious speed and two Gold Gloves to his name. So, despite what seems to be an advantage for Upton, Gonzalez only has three errors and a DWAR of 0.5.
Below, you can see him make a veteran's play, in which he perfectly tracks the baseball to its landing point and makes a great leaping catch. It may not look as tough as Upton's catches above, but it showcases his experience and instincts.
Both of these players are very quick on their feet, but that doesn't necessarily translate to stolen bases. Upton may very well be the faster of the two, but he only has six steals on seven attempts. Gonzalez, however, has 15 steals and has only been caught once.
These kind of little things are what separates a great player from a good player, and in the end that could be why Gonzalez edges out Upton on his way to another All-Star appearance.
Going in to the final week of voting, both had starting spots. But it is clear that "CarGo" is the more deserving of the two.