Posted on 25 June 2013.
I previously covered first and second base in part one of the series, and short and third base in part two. Here is part three.
Royals: Salvador Perez .293/.316/.401. WAR: 1.1
Perez’s inability to take walks has been discussed quite a bit. His decent batting average keeps him a very respectable player, but if he could draw more walks, he would be in the discussion as one of the better catchers in the game.
AL Leader: Joe Mauer .330/.413/.504. WAR: 3.4
Mauer is a really good player who is having a really, really good year. Even though he is benefitting from a high BABIP, he is having a very good year offensively, along with having a good year defensively; which comes after last year where he fared poorly defensively. Catcher voting appears similar to the situation at third base, where there just happens to be an exceptional player in the competition at the position, crushing everyone else statistically and with votes. Besides Matt Weiters, who is almost a million votes behind him, the next closest player in votes is two million votes behind Mauer.
If you vote for Perez? PRETTY UNNACCEPTABLE BASED ON THE YEAR MAUER IS HAVING. He is just that good so far. I do think though, Perez will be in the All Star game someday. He is just an adjustment or two away from being that good. And maybe Brett can help him with that adjustment.
Cardinals: Yadier Molina .353/.397/.502. WAR: 3.3
Molina is neck and neck with Mauer (and Posey of course) as best catcher in baseball. He has very similar numbers to Mauer offensively and defensively. It would be interesting seeing those two players battling it out in the same league.
Molina is both a fan favorite and just a great player. Joe Buck says he is the most irreplaceable player on any team in either league (though I’m not sure if that’s true or how you necessarily evaluate that). Molina has gone from a free swinging, slap-hitter to a player who draws many walks and occasionally crushes the ball. He is known now possibly more for his hitting than his defense and is the heart of the Cardinals.
NL Leader: Molina by 90 votes (they each have over 5 million cast for them) over Buster Posey
Posey .307/.383/.488. WAR: 2.7.
Molina is having a better year than Posey. The debate between the two of them really gets to the core of how you vote for the All Star Game. Do you just use this year’s states? Do you take their past in consideration at all? Do you go back to last year to see more? Last year Posey had a slightly better year and led Molina in WAR. Same for 2010, his rookie year (’11 he was out most of the year due to the collision at home).
If you vote for Molina? VERY VERY ACCEPTABLE. Molina deserves it this year. His numbers are better, and even if Giant fans want to argue that it may be a different situation by the end of the year, as of now, Molina deserves the support from the home-town voters along with other educated voters.
Alex Gordon .288/.345/.413 WAR: 1.7
Lorenzo Cain .262/.325/.380 WAR: 1.4
Jeff Francoeur .212/.254/.330 WAR: -0.7
Gordon has a great on base pct, but his slugging is low (though, there’s a reason for that, according to Dayton Moore). But on inspection, his slugging pretty much matches up with previous years. He’s always a reliable fielder and great on the bases. Gordon is far from a great player, but in certain ways, is one of the best all-around players we have in the game.
Cain is better than I thought. I haven’t looked at his slash in quite a while, but I fell into the conventional wisdom that he never took walks. Maybe that monster swing he has leads to the idea that he is a free-swinging hacker. But that impressive slash with great fielding metrics, and Cain is pretty much on par with Gordon this year.
Frenchy is just awful. Possibly the worst starter in baseball. His on base is worse than most bad hitter’s batting average. He is respected slightly more than he should be because of his cannon of a throwing arm. He is a right fielder who throws like a pitcher. Unfortunately, he hits like one too.
Adam Jones .290/.322/.483 WAR: 1.9
Mike Trout .306/.384/.534 WAR: 4.1
Nick Markakis .289/.341/.414 WAR: 0.7
Markakis third in voting is just pitiful. Have offensive numbers just become that weak? Trout is a beast, like always. I didn’t realize he was so on pace to repeat his stats from last year, but he is. Easy MVP candidate. Jones is overrated, but having him up there is not nearly as sinful as Markakis.
If you vote for Gordon? ACCEPTABLE
If you vote for Cain? ACCEPTABLE
If you vote for Francoeur? UNACCEPTABLE
Gordon and Cain, two players better than the traditional stats will indicate, versus some weak competition and poor voting, gives them a chance. Heck they both deserve it more than Markakis. Francoeur has no business even close to the All Star Game. Not even over Markakis.
Matt Holliday .268/.350/.439 WAR: 1.4
Jon Jay .247/.326/.335 WAR: -0.2
Carlos Beltran .305/.345/.495 WAR: 1.2
Because of being a defensive liability, Beltran is pretty overrated. I mean if you just look at his offensive numbers you assume he’s a superstar. But that defense really pulls him down.
Jay is having a very bad year. I don’t think this is who he is as a player, but so far this year there is something wrong. Last year I would have argued he was underrated. This year, overrated.
Holliday needs to get his slugging up a little more. Hit some more gappers for doubles. He’s having a mildly disappointing year so far, but would still feel comfortable if I was managing the All Star Game and he was my starting left fielder.
Justin Upton .240/.350/.454 WAR: 1.4
Bryce Harper .287/.386/.587 WAR: 1.7
Upton’s hot start has given him the reputation that helped him get votes. Harper’s name alone got him votes. Harper probably has the best slash of the 3. Upton hardly gets any extra base hits. If these three start, I would love to see a study (or maybe do the study myself) on if this is the weakest statistical outfield to start the All Star Game.
If you vote for Beltran? ACCEPTABLE
If you vote for Jay? UNACCEPTABLE
If you vote for Holliday? MILDLY ACCEPTABLE
Bernie Micklasz wrote a column for the Post-Dispatch surmising if this is the beginning of the decline for Holliday. He points out the almost 100 point drop in his slugging pct from his career slugging. He also points to his very weak numbers against left handed pitchers.
He also criticizes his amount of double plays he has grounded into. Holliday’s 20 double plays leads the majors. Though Micklasz does forgive him for the myth he is a bad “clutch” hitter, calling “clutch” a stupid concept. I would agree with that, but then find it confusing as to why he would criticize Holliday for grounding into double plays if he is going to exonerate his clutch performance. How you hit with runners at second and third is a myth but how you hit with a runner at first is to be evaluated?
Beltran will start, and if people want to criticize looking at defense at all in terms of All Star voting, they would probably have a point. His offense definitely make him worthy.
Don’t vote for Jay. Cargo of the Rockies deserves to start. He’s too good of a player not to. Transfer your vote for Jay to him. He’s much better than any of the current vote leaders
Next up: Pitching and warp-up