Comparing NL All-Star Fans Vote to Players Deserving of Start

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

Comparing NL All-Star Fans Vote to Players Deserving of Start

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    Baseball's mid-summer classic is just like every other professional sports league's All-Star Game—the starters are selected in a globally-held popularity contest, not on the merits of their performance on the field over the first half of their respective league's regular season.

    The latest voting results for the National League, released on June 15, prove this to be true.

    I don't take exception with every one of the fans' selections to this point but, by-and-large, the fans are not giving the National League the best chance to win with the starting lineup that they believe should be on the field when MLB converges on Citi Field on July 16.

    Here's a look at how the voting currently stands and, more importantly, how it should finish.

    *Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are current through games of June 16.

First Base

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Joey Votto, Reds: 2,047,945

    2. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: 1,524,517

    3. Allen Craig, Cardinals: 1,191,229

    4. Brandon Belt, Giants: 997,066

    5. Freddie Freeman, Braves: 924,937

    Who Deserves to Start: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

    It's not that Joey Votto is having an off season—far from it. But Paul Goldschmidt's performance through the first two-and-a-half months of the season—both at the plate and in the field—has been equal to or better than Votto's.

    Take a look:

      BA OPS  XBH (HR) RBI
    Goldschmidt 0.301 0.924 32 (15) 59
    Votto 0.318 0.935 24 (11) 33

    Goldschmidt leads the National League with 59 RBI; is top-five in home runs, walks (34), slugging percentage (.543) and OPS while ranking seventh in the league with 45 runs scored.

    Votto leads the majors with 53 walks but lands among the league leaders in only three other categories: batting average (seventh), runs (52, second) and OPS (fourth).

    While defense doesn't normally play a part in All-Star voting, Goldschmidt holds the advantage over Votto in both UZR/150 and DRS, according to FanGraphs.

    The super sophomore deserves the starting nod over the perennial MVP candidate.

Second Base

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Brandon Phillips, Reds: 2,021,277

    2. Marco Scutaro, Giants: 1,717,875

    3. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 1,508,314

    4. Chase Utley, Phillies: 982,966

    5. Daniel Murphy, Mets: 786,414

    Who Deserves to Start: Brandon Phillips, Reds

    Second to only Paul Goldschmidt for the RBI lead in the National League, Brandon Phillips has put together another outstanding season in Cincinnati, hitting a respectable .278 with 10 home runs and 56 RBI. Those numbers that are certainly worthy of the starting nod for the National League.

    Strong cases can be made for both Marco Scutaro and Matt Carpenter as the pair have more impressive slash lines than Cincinnati's second baseman, but Phillips' ability to produce runs like he's playing a corner spot puts him on another level than his counterparts in the National League.

Shortstop

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,443,772

    2. Brandon Crawford, Giants: 1,293,476

    3. Jean Segura, Brewers: 1,188,317

    4. Pete Kozma, Cardinals: 905,976

    5. Andrelton Simmons, Braves: 771,665

    Who Deserves to Start: Jean Segura, Brewers

    With Troy Tulowitzki likely sidelined until after the All-Star break with a fractured rib, Brandon Crawford would be next in line to start at shortstop for the National League.

    Apologies to Crawford, who is having a solid season, but this shouldn't even be a race because Jean Segura's numbers blow Crawford's out of the water:

      BA OPS XBH (HR) RBI R SB
    Crawford .288 .780 21 (5) 28 32 1
    Segura .330 .890 25 (10) 30 40 19

    Segura ranks fourth in the National League in batting average, third in stolen bases, seventh in slugging percentage (.526) and ninth in OPS. Crawford's name is nowhere to be found near the top of the leaderboards in any offensive category.

Third Base

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 2,180,147

    2. David Wright, Mets: 2,053,744

    3. David Freese, Cardinals: 1,152,038

    4. Chris Johnson, Braves: 829,420

    5. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: 686,905

    Who Deserves to Start: David Wright, Mets

    Forget about the fact that the All-Star Game is being played at Citi Field, Wright's home park, and forget about the fact that Wright has an eight-point lead on Sandoval in the batting average department.

    Wright's on-base percentage is more than 60 points higher than Sandoval's, while Captain America holds a more than 100-point advantage over the Kung Fu Panda in OPS.

    Both are going to finish the season with batting averages around .300, somewhere between 20-to-30 home runs and in the neighborhood of 90 RBI.

    Now factor in the two seemingly meaningless things I said to forget a minute ago.

    With all things being equal, Wright deserves the starting nod in his home ballpark.

Catcher

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Buster Posey, Giants: 2,606,434

    2. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 2,543,588

    3. John Buck, Mets: 866,471

    4. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: 630,902

    5. Brian McCann, Braves: 627,056

    Who Deserves to Start: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

    This race is going to go down to the wire, as both Posey and Molina are worthy of getting the starting nod for the National League.

    But only one catcher can start, and the honor should go to Molina, who is simply having a ridiculous season at the plate:

      BA OPS XBH (HR) RBI R
    Molina .352 .882 25 (4) 36 29
    Posey .316 .905 29 (8) 41 29

    As you can see, Posey has the slightest of advantages in the power department over his veteran counterpart.

    But Molina is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the highest batting average in all of baseball, and that nearly 40-point advantage over Posey in the category is big enough where Molina should be the pick here.

Outfield

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    How The Voting Looks

    1. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 2,385,240

    2. Justin Upton, Braves: 2,054,225

    3. Bryce Harper, Nationals: 1,981,030

    4. Ryan Braun, Brewers: 1,645,904

    5. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 1,508,355

    6. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,330,471

    7. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 1,319,419

    8. Hunter Pence, Giants: 1,286,163

    9. Shin-Soo Choo, Reds: 1,274,755

    10. Angel Pagan, Giants: 1,131,176

    11. Carlos Gomez, Brewers: 1,027,684

    12. Gregor Blanco, Giants: 934,174

    13. Jon Jay, Cardinals: 884,323

    14. Domonic Brown, Phillies: 837,748

    15. B.J. Upton, Braves: 733,744

    Who Deserves to Start: Domonic Brown, Phillies; Carlos Gomez, Brewers; Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

    The popularity contest reaches the height of its insanity in the outfield, where the three most deserving candidates to start in the outfield for the National League—two of whom play for small-market clubs—sit fifth, 11th and 14th in the voting.

    I'm not trying to take anything away from the seasons that Beltran, Upton and Harper have had, but they simply pale in comparison to the numbers of the three most deserving outfielders on the senior circuit:

      BA OPS XBH (HR) RBI R
    Beltran .306 .874 23 (16) 44 34
    Harper .287 .973 20 (12) 23 29
    Upton .247 .835 25 (15) 32 45
    Totals: .279 .894 68 (43) 99 108
    Brown .276 .876 30 (19) 48 34
    Gomez .317 .943 36 (12) 37 43
    Gonzalez .316 1.041 42 (20) 56 57
    Totals: .303 .954 108 (51) 141 134

    Of the three currently selected to start, the strongest case could be made for Beltran, whose numbers are certainly on the same level as Brown's.

    But that's it.

    Upton has hit .215 with three home runs and 15 RBI since May 1, doing almost all of his hitting in the first month of the season.

    Look at those numbers again: .215 with three home runs and 15 RBI over his past 40 games. That's not All-Star caliber production on any level.

    Gomez's numbers speak for themselves—and for those who put a lot of weight into the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistic, Gomez's WAR is among the three highest in all of baseball, according to Baseball-Reference, ESPN and FanGraphs.

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