With half of the Crosstown Classic played, it is almost as traditional to pick the best of the two clubs as to play the series.
To the disdain of the North and South sides of Chicago, both the Cubs and White Sox are less than stellar this year, combining for a record of 56-69 before action on Tuesday. Despite the lack of pizazz in this year's series and the addition of the BP Cup, fans still come out in droves to watch.
The basics determine who gets the nod at each position (hitting, defense, etc.), but looking at how a certain player is performing may get him the nod over a player with better statistics.
This is the list, for better or for worst...
Reminder: All stats are from before play on Tuesday.
Both Soto and A.J. Pierzynski are not hitting (.266/7/16 and .236/4/18, respectively), but Soto is a better defensive catcher. Despite managing a much worse pitching staff, Soto has helped them compile a similar record to the Sox.
This is a runaway decision, as Derrek Lee has been a no-show for most of the season, looking old as he swings the bat and runs the bases.
Konerko, however, has had a rejuvenating season, hitting .296 with a monster 17 home runs and 46 RBIs. With it being a contract year, the uptick in stats is not a major surprise. His play alone has been a reason to watch the somewhat dismal White Sox games.
Konerko and Lee are pretty equal defensively, and both have deserved Gold Glove consideration in the past.
With prospect Starlin Castro taking over shortstop, Theriot receives eligibility at second base, beating out a slumping Gordon Beckham.
Theriot has been a consistent player for a handful of years, and he has taken to the move to second.
Beckham, on the other hand, has hit a wall his sophomore season, barely hitting .200 for most of the year.
Mike Fontenot deserves recognition for bouncing back for the Cubs at second as well.
Yeah—it is that bad. I guess this makes the catcher decision look like a cakewalk. If I put Aramis Ramirez or Mark Teahen in the lineup card, I would not be fooling anyone.
Vizquel has been a nice mentor for the middle infield combo of Beckham and Alexei Ramirez, and he offers some zest off the bench. His range is all but gone, but his glove is still as sure as his days with Cleveland.
With Alexei Ramirez playing mediocre ball, rookie Starlin Castro gets the nod.
Castro came out hot, driving in six runs in his first game in The Show. Since then, he has hit about the same as Ramirez (around .260), but his defense shows how good he can be anchoring the middle infield for a long time.
Alexei is almost in "bust" territory, as he has not produced since his rookie campaign.
Soriano is having a nice bounce-back season, hitting .275 with 10 home runs and 32 runs batted in. He got out of his usual early season slump much quicker than in seasons past, and he has been consistent relative to Cubs hitting.
Juan Pierre on the South Side has been disappointing, despite leading the major leagues in stolen bases (25).
Your best athlete is arguably your shortstop or your center fielder. For both teams, the argument can be made that Alex Rios and new Cubs acquisition Marlon Byrd are the best that each respective team has.
The argument for picking Rios is this: Who is going to be at the All-Star Game in Anaheim? Rios is a stone-cold lock for the American League. Byrd may not be, even though he has had a superb season thus far.
If both teams only get one selection, Rios will get the nod for the South, and Carlos Marmol up North, not Byrd.
Despite the $14 million price tag, Fukudome has not looked terrible. Carlos Quentin, on the other hand....
No doubt the biggest story in Chicago baseball has been the play of Silva. If you predicted eight wins in mid-June, well, lucky guess.
His energy on the mound rivals that of Carlos Zambrano. The big difference is that Silva can channel his into good pitching.
Freddy gets the nod because no one expected him to do anything, let alone win six of his last seven decisions.
Interesting stat: His six wins have all come after a White Sox loss.
Honorable mention goes to John Danks and Ted Lilly. There is always love for lefties.
The lefty flamethrower is putting together another solid season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is only hovering around 4.5 (down from 7.0 just about 10 days ago), but he has been a machine in a pretty good Sox bullpen.
Honorable mention to J.J. Putz and super-reliever Sean Marshall.
The large-eared closer has been electric, to say the least. His fastball tails, his slider has swagger, and when he gets in trouble with walks, he strikes you out (17 strikeouts-per-nine-innings). He is as close to automatic as there is for closers in baseball this year.
The man makes me laugh because his stuff makes hitters look goofy.
Bobby Jenks makes me laugh because he should not be the closer for the White Sox, but that is another story.
Hope you enjoyed the list. Let the debate begin!