First Five Votes

As a registered user at MLB.com, I am able to vote for the 2014 All-Star game 35 times (you can, too, by registering for free).  I’ve decided to divide my voting into three rounds.  The first round will get 5 votes, the second round will get 10 votes, and the final round will receive 20 votes.  Each ballot will be cast on the 1st of the month.  So, since today is May 1st, I’m casting my first five votes.  I’ll post each time I vote, and give a brief explanation for each choice.  My stats may be ever so slightly off, depending on last night’s games.  But, it shouldn’t make much of a difference for any vote.  We’ll go position-by-position, the same way the ballot is set up.2014_Twins_All-Star_Game_Logo

FIRST BASE

AL:  Jose Abreu (CHW).  There’s really no debate here.  10 HR, 32 RBI in his first month in the majors.  Among players who have never had a 10 HR/32 RBI month in their careers: Evan Longoria, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, etc.

NL:  Adrian Gonzalez (LAD).  Also an easy choice.  He leads all NL first baseman in HR, RBI, wRC+, and is just .002 behind Morneau for the lead in OPS.  All while batting a very nice .313 – good enough for 5th.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Albert Pujols, Mike Napoli, Freddie Freeman and Justin Morneau

 

SECOND BASE

AL:  Ben Zobrist (TB).  He leads all AL second basemen in batting avg., HR, OBP, OPS, and wRC+.  His 8 RBI don’t look like much, but he’s clearly producing in other ways.

NL:  Chase Utley (PHI).  It’s nice to see a guy that has been so hampered by injuries the last few years, come back to playing well.  His .355/.408/.570/.978 slash line leads all NL second basemen in every category.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Brian Dozier, Howie Kendrick, Dee Gordon, Emilio Bonifacio

 

SHORTSTOP

AL:  Alexei Ramirez (CHW).  While his defense seems to be average, he is so far ahead of everyone else offensively (for now), that it doesn’t make sense to vote for anyone else.  He leads all AL shortstops in batting avg., HR, RBI, SLG, OPS and wRC+.

NL:  Troy Tulowitzki (COL).  Probably the easiest choice on the ballot.  Not only is he one of the best defensive shortstops in the NL, but he is putting up MVP-type numbers at the plate – leading all NL shortstops in every significant offensive stat, aside from stolen bases.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Jed Lowrie, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez

 

THIRD BASE

AL:  Josh Donaldson (OAK).  Somewhat of a tight race, depending on which stats you go with.  Donaldson leads AL third basemen in HR, RBI and SLG, and is the better defender.  But, Plouffe is right on his heels.

NL:  Juan Uribe (LAD).  Another tight race.  But, with several good candidates.  Uribe gets the nod for me, because he has proven thus far to be the best defender in the group, has a comfortable lead in wRC+, and a slight lead in SLG and OPS.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Trevor Plouffe, Evan Longoria, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, Todd Frazier, Aramis Ramirez

 

CATCHER

AL:  Matt Wieters (BAL).  He holds a decent lead among AL catchers in batting, SLG and OPS, and is 2nd in both HR and RBI.  He’s also one of the better defenders behind the plate.

NL:  Yadier Molina (STL).  This is a tight 3-way race right now.  Offensively, for now, I would rank them 1. Saltalamacchia, 2. Molina, 3. Posey.  Defensivley, for now, I would rank them 1. Posey, 2. Molina, 3. Saltalamacchia.  I’ll give Molina a slight edge for now, but I’ll be keeping a close eye on this race.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Josmil Pinto, Kurt Suzuki, Buster Posey, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

 

DESIGNATED HITTER

AL:  Matt Joyce (TB).  This might seem like a strange choice, considering the year Cruz is having in Baltimore.  But, in spite of trailing Cruz in some significant categories (HR & RBI), Joyce actually has the better OBP, OPS and wRC+.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Nelson Cruz, Adam Dunn

 

OUTFIELD

AL:  Jose Bautista (TOR), Mike Trout (LAA), Melky Cabrera (TOR).  Bautista and Trout are comfortably #1 & #2, respectively, in OPS, HR, SLG, and wRC+.  Cabrera is leading AL outfielders in batting and is 3rd in HR and 4th in wRC+.

NL:  Justin Upton (ATL), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Ryan Braun (MIL).  Upton leads all NL outfielders in wRC+ & SLG, and is 2nd in HR & OPS.  Blackmon leads NL outfielders in batting avg., OBP, OPS & stolen bases, and is 2nd in SLG  & wRC+.  Braun is the only one left without a glaring weakness:  .318/.361/.591/.952, 6 HR, 18 RBI, 3 SB.  Morse’s defense is poor.  Stanton’s batting below .270.  McCutchen has just 4 HR.  And so on.

KEEP AN EYE ON:  Shin-Soo Choo, Dayan Viciedo, Michael Morse, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gomez, Angel Pagan

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