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MLB All-Star Game Balloting opens

Far too early, of course. But let’s handicap the races for the D-backs based on first month performance.

86th MLB All-Star Game Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The official ballots have been released, and that’s who we’re going to go with for the D-backs. If you’re not listed on the ballot, you’re basically not getting in, even though each position comes with a space for a write-in candidate. Last year, there was a concerted effort by Cubs’ fans to get David Ross elected through write-in votes, but he couldn’t even crack the top five. I believe there has not been a single write-in player chosen since Steve Garvey made it in from the 1974 Dodgers. So, the names listed below are the ones on the official list.

1B. Paul Goldschmidt

Paul won’t have the advantage of being the incumbent this year, and will also have to deal with Anthony Rizzo now sporting a World Series ring, which is sure to galvanize the Cubs’ fanbase [there’s a reason, after all, the term “Vote early and vote often” became popular in Chicago!]. However, Rizzo is off to a relatively slow start, ranking only 7th by fWAR among NL first-basemen, behind Goldie, who is fifth. The HR surge of Eric Thames make him an early contender, along with Ryan Zimmerman, but thus far, you’d be hard pushed to argue with Freddie Freeman as the best in the league. ASG chances: good, likely as a player’s choice.

2B. Brandon Drury

Another Cub, Ben Zobrist, started here, but he is batting only .216, which should eliminate him from contention. Drury’s .318 average is nice, but he’s one of six players at the position hitting above .300, led by the BravesBrandon Phillips who is batting .355 on the year. Drury is sixth by fWAR. The leader is the Phillies' Cesar Hernandez, but his value is significantly due to his defense, something generally downgraded by the voting public. Daniel Murphy from the Nationals, is batting .343 with five home-runs, and is likely an early leader. ASG chances: slight, and in need of a power boost.

SS. Chris Owings

Based on the first month, this looks set to be a two-horse race between the 2016 Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager from the Dodgers, and the Reds’ Zach Cozart. By both fWAR and wRC+ [measuring overall offense], they’re well ahead of the third-placed man, who is our own CO. They’re the only ones with a wRC+ better than league-average of 100, and with incumbent Addison Russell stuck down at .258, this is another spot where we could see a first-time All-Star starter. Based on their April, both Seager and Cosart should see action, but if there’s a third spot or any injury, CO is as deserving as anyone. ASG chances: better than anyone would likely have predicted.

3B. Jake Lamb

Unjustly jobbed out of an All-Star spot last year, Lamb charged out of the gate like he meant it, with a 1.015 OPS on April 17. He has cooled off considerably since - Jake has just one walk in his last 50 PA - and along with his defensive issues, has dropped to sixth by fWAR and wRC+. While the Dodgers’ Justin Turner is the man to beat thus far, I doubt the BABIP faeries will continue to smile on him, to the tune of their current .443 amount. Kris Bryant is holding up his end of things well enough he could repeat, and Nolan Arenado is putting up plenty of those shiny home-runs, albeit at Coors. ASG chances: if he didn’t make it last year, with a .983 first-half OPS, Jake won’t this year.

C. Jeff Mathis

Mathis hasn’t even been the All-Star catcher on the 2017 Diamondbacks, and at -0.4 fWAR, ranks dead-last among all National League players at the position. Admittedly, that doesn’t take into account things like pitch-framing, and it’s not unreasonable to suggest he is one of the reasons for the dramatic improvement in performance from our rotation this year. However, no catcher ever gets voted into the All-Star Game based on how well they handle pitchers. It’ll probably be incumbent St. Buster of the Flowers again, though Matt Wieters of Washington is probably having the best all-round season. ASG chances: nil.

OF. David Peralta, A.J. Pollock, Yasmany Tomas

You can pretty much write Bryce Harper’s name in to one of the spots right now. But (a long way) behind him, there’s a pack, with only 0.4 fWAR separating Ryan Braun in second from Osdubel Herrera in 15th, among qualifying outfielders. All three Diamondbacks are in that pack, led by Peralta (6th), ahead of Pollock (8th) and Tomas (14th). And with injuries hampering or removing entirely some rivals, such as Adam Eaton and Yoenis Cespedes, they’re likely going to remain in the mix. The problem is the usual one of name recognition. People are going to vote for Braun or Giancarlo Stanton rather than someone like Peralta. ASG chances: a player’s choice is possible.


Okay, who had the D-backs with the best rotation in the National League by fWAR, at the end of April? Don’t all rush. At least this is an area where we don’t have to rely on the fickleness of fan favoritism, stuffing the ballot with the entire Cubbies rotation or whatever this year’s nonsense might be. By fWAR, we have three of the top 12, in Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin - and, effectively, it’s three of the top 10, because you can almost certainly cross Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard out of consideration. Never bet against a healthy Clayton Kershaw to start, but there’s typically nine or so starters selected. Thus far, we deserve at least one.

Obviously, Fernando Rodney can probably go right ahead and book some tee-times for those days in July. But if you’re looking for a dark horse, what about Archie Bradley? It’s typically a tough road for non-closer relief pitchers to get called. However, Andrew Miller made it to the Midsummer Classic with the Yankees last year, even though he was replaced as their closer by Aroldis Chapman, once the Cuban finished his suspension in early May. A similar route is possible for Bradley, if he continues his early season domination - though I continue to believe he’s likely to end the year in another role on the team. ASG chances: right now, Corbin probably has the best shot.