votto phillips choo

Filling out my first All-Star Ballot of the Summer

All-Star voting is underway and fifty games into the season is a good enough sample size to identify some selections. These will likely change a little before July 16, so don’t kill me for omitting the first place Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals. But hey, this is my ballot.

Along with your traditional home runs and batting average, my favorite baseball statistics are:

  • On-base percentage (hits plus walks plus hit-by-pitches)
  • Extra-bases (homers, doubles, triples, stolen bases)
  • Runs produced (runs scored plus runs batted in minus home runs)

After all, getting on base, moving around the diamond and producing runs are like the hokey-pokey: that’s what it’s all about. Those aren’t the only stats I’m judging on, and defense is also considered.

American League

First base: Chris Davis, Orioles. 17 home runs, 18 doubles, .344 batting average and 29 walks. He also plays solid defensively at first. Davis has become one of my favorite sluggers.

Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees. The way Cano leads the Yankees with nothing resembling an All-Star around him on the active roster to the top of the division for nearly two months is amazing. One of the best players in baseball.

manny machadoThird base: Manny Machado, Orioles. Okay, this spot should and will go to Miguel Cabrera, but this is my chance to put in a plug for one of the brightest rising stars in the game. The 20-year old phenom is hitting .335, leads the league with 23 doubles, and is tield with Cabrera for most hits in baseball. And it’s safe to see we all would rather watch this Web Gem collector flash the leather at third than Cabrera.

Shortstop: Johnny Peralta, Tigers. Cabrera’s teammate on the left side gets my vote at short. Batting .400 in May, Peralta, who has always been a solid hitter and fielder, is taking advantage of injuries to regular All-Stars Jeter and Reyes.

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins. What’s there to say about a catcher batting .330 who also collects lots of walks and smacks doubles?

Center field: Mike Trout, Angels. The wonder kid is among the league leaders in extra base hits, stolen bases and runs produced, and is a human highlight reel in center field.

Left field: Adam Jones, Orioles. It’s amazing how last year’s Baltimore superstar is now third on the team, even though he’s still hitting .318 with power, speed, and a recent Gold Glove on his shelf.

Right field: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays. After missing much of last year and starting slow, it’s nice to see Joey Bats back to doing his thing. Especially at the Rogers Center. After sitting out four games with an injury last month, Bautista’s on-base percentage at home since April 19 (20 games) is .538. Wow.

miguel cabreraDesignated hitter: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. Miggy will be at third but he should probably be the DH instead. Let’s see… he leads the league by a mile in on-base percentage and runs produced, he’s second in home runs, he’s the reigning MVP and has a good chance to win the Triple Crown again.

Pitcher: Chris Sale, White Sox. While Clay Buchholz has pitched lights out against the Twins, White Sox and Astros, Sale has pitched very well against some of the best lineups in the AL (Angels twice, Indians and Rangers). He’s allowed 20 less hits than innings pitched. And other than one bad game in Cleveland, Sale has a 1.51 ERA and a quality start in each game. And he did it last year, too.

National League

First base: Joey Votto, Reds. One of the best measures for a hitter is how often he is walked. Joey Votto has 44 bases-on-balls, ten more than everyone else except his teammate Shin-Soo Choo. If a .354 batting average isn’t impressive enough, a Bonds-esque .477 on-base percentage is.

Second base: Brandon Phillips, Reds. The slick-fielding vet doesn’t do much when the bases are empty (awful .260 OBP), but takes advantage of the plentiful times Votto and Choo get on base to the tune of an impressive .478 OBP with runners in scoring position and league-high 43 RBI and 68 runs produced.

Third base: David Wright, Mets. The Amazin’s captain is having another stellar season. Some interesting stats: 4 triples, 11 stolen bases, 27 walks.

Shortstop: Jean Segura, Brewers. Probably the toughest decision of the whole process is Segura or Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo’s home splits at Coors are staggering, but not much different than Segura’s impressive road splits. Segura has higher average, on-base percentage, 14-0 steals edge, and comparable power numbers.

buster poseyCatcher: Buster Posey, Giants. The reigning MVP and World Series champ is hitting .304 and a ton of walks brings his OBP to .394, fifth highest in the NL.

Center field: Shin-Soo Choo, Reds. What do you want in a leadoff hitter? How about a .450 on-base percentage with power?

Left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies. CarGo has been one of the most productive hitters in baseball doing it all: .311/.388 and among the leaders in homers, doubles, walks, stolen bases, and runs produced.

Right field: Justin Upton, Braves. It comes down to a couple Brewers and a struggling Bryce Harper, and Upton beats them out right now as the Braves are in first and Upton’s hot start is holding up.

Designated Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks. Goldy is the primary reason Arizona is in first place out west. He’s pretty much Top 2 or 3 in just about every offensive category.

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. Tip my hat to Matt Harvey, but I still think Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball right now.