Point/Counterpoint: Who should win the National League All-Star Final Vote?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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Anthony Rizzo

Any baseball fan knows the sabermetric era that the game is in. And again, any baseball fan knows that WAR is one of, if not the, most important statistic for a player. With this logic, the NL final vote should be a two-horse race.

Rizzo’s 2.5 WAR is second to only Washington’s Anthony Rendon in comparison with the five players on the ballot. So why Rizzo over Rendon?

For starters, the Cubs are bad. They’re simply not a good baseball team. The Nationals are an above average ball club quickly approaching 50 wins before the All-Star break. Obviously, this means less protection in the lineup for Rizzo, which theoretically means pitchers go after Rizzo more.

Even with that in mind, Rizzo has managed a higher OPS, OPS+, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage than Rendon. To be fair, Rendon has a higher batting average and has knocked in more runs than Rizzo, but when taking into account their teams’ performance, Rizzo’s season is very impressive.

Compared with other first basemen on the senior circuit, Rizzo has belted more home runs with 18 and is tied with Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona for the lead in walks, but the Diamondback has struck out 21 more times than Rizzo.

The bottom line is simple — Rizzo and Rendon are both having awesome seasons, but when the Cubs’ performance is taken into account, it’s hard not to appreciate what Rizzo has done thus far.

So give Cub fans something to cheer about ahead of what’s looking like a miserable second half and #VoteRizzo.

— by Danny Payne

Justin Morneau

To be honest, name recognition is often a huge component of who gets voted into All-Star games, and with a guy such as Morneau, I’m surprised he didn’t get voted in to begin with. But I’m not too worried about him getting in, and he shouldn’t be, either.

After being plagued by injuries since 2010, Morneau is healthy again and has regained his form from when he was among the most feared hitters in the league.

In his first season for the Rockies, Morneau has played in 85 of 90 games, and he appears to be on pace for, finally, another season as a dangerous run producer.

Morneau is sixth in the National League with a .315 batting average, behind only Casey McGehee among other final vote candidates. The 33-year-old first baseman is also second in the NL with 59 runs batted in, and he is one of only 11 players with at least 100 hits.

Of the five finalists for the National League final vote, all are supposed to be power-hitting run producers. So it would be logical to measure which among these five are the best at producing runs for their team. Thanks to sabermetrics, we can do exactly that.

Near the league lead in RBIs, Morneau is also 10th in the NL at Runs Created per 27 Outs, and tops among the final vote candidates at a clip of 6.62 runs.

All these guys are on their respective teams to put runs on the board, and the numbers say Morneau does it the best. Baseball, of all sports, knows that numbers never lie.

— by Kyle Mann

Anthony Rendon

With only one year under his belt, Rendon has put up favorable numbers so far this season, proving that his skills on the diamond are worthy enough to claim the title of an All-Star.

Rendon would be a strong addition for the National League, offering a solid glove on defense accompanied with an intimidating bat. Of all National League third basemen, Rendon ranks second in WAR (3.2), third in batting (.286), fifth in on-base percentage (.340), second in slugging (.491), second in steals (8), second in RBIs (52), fourth in homers (13), and first in runs (61).

In a nutshell, Rendon contains all of the factors needed to earn a spot on the National League roster.
Rendon also brings a skill that few major leaguers are able to perform. Although playing two positions may have ultimately hurt Rendon’s All-Star position, between his reliability at the plate and flexibility around the diamond, he is sure to play a crucial role for the NL.

For Rendon, earning the final vote won’t be easy, going up against some of the top hitters and players in the game. Rendon’s last seven games may give him the edge he needs to propel him into the final roster spot. Rendon would enter the All-Star break batting .320 in his last seven contents, driving in 6 runs and blasting a 2-run homer.

Rendon could very well be tagged as a potential pinch hitter or be valued as a pinch runner with his speed. Whatever the outcome, this is surely the first of many All-Star Games in which Rendon will participate.

— by Erin Erickson

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