It sounds funny, doesn't it?
Chase Utley is being challenged for the starting job at second base for this year’s National League All-Star team.
Up until this year, that was a preposterous thought, but seemingly out of the woodwork.
Now there has emerged a legitimate contender from the Atlanta Braves in the form of leadoff hitter Martin Prado—who is currently standing in second place in voting(though he is far from "nipping at the heels" of the leader) behind the venerable Utley.
Since Utley is by far the sexier name here, we'll use a sort of a "blind" system by which to judge the two.
Player A has a slash line of .333/.375/.464 (with that .333 being good enough for second in the National League behind the barely-qualified-for-consideration Andre Ethier) with six home runs, 29 RBI, 47 runs scored, and 31 multi-hit games (13 of three hits or more).
Player A has also collected 18 doubles and a single stolen base (to three caught stealing) while putting up a 9.0 UZR/150 in 65 games at second base.
Player B's slash line looks like this: .260/.376/.461.
Player B has also collected the third most home runs by a full-time second baseman with 10, 26 RBI, 41 runs scored, two steals (to one caught stealing), and 12 doubles.
On the defensive side of the ball, UZR/150 gives this player a rating of 16.3 through the 61 games he has played at second base.
By throwing out on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases, we can see how these players separate themselves from one another a bit. Even though RBI and runs scored are close, I think they are each still relevant considering where each of these guys bat in their respective lineups.
Player A: .333 AVG/6 HR/29 RBI/47 RS/9.0 UZR/150
Player B: .260 AVG/10 HR/26 RBI/41 RS/16.3 UZR/150
So, make your pick.
Player A is Martin Prado.
Player B is leading vote-getter Chase Utley.
My opinion lies a bit on the subjective side since I get to watch Prado play and collect his 95 current hits every day, but I don't see how Utley can get the nod when name recognition, which is almost a bit regrettably a pretty big factor in All-Star voting, is thrown out the window.
The way Prado has energized what was an anemic Braves offense before he took over the leadoff spot also throws out the "value to a team's success" factor that comes into play in some ballots cast.
I'll grant Utley the fact that he's been playing hurt, but voting should be based on results (and to potential results, Prado's BABIP is .366 to Utley's .264, so Prado has had quite a bit more luck when it comes to "hitting 'em where they ain't" on the field).
I feel the stats back me up a bit here; Prado has had more of those.
So what do you think (ignoring the fact that Utley's more than likely getting the starting nod from the fans)?
Should Utley get the nod for his longevity as one of the premier second basemen in the game?
Or should Prado be the man for the impressive numbers he's posted thus far in the 2010 season?
This article is also featured on The Hey Train.