Who Should You Vote for in the National League Final All-Star Vote?
I don't mean to put any pressure on y'all, but you've got a sick amount of power right now. With great power comes great responsibility. Don't be the gal or guy that clicks "vote" without giving this decision a great amount of consideration first.
And, unfortunately for you, things are a bit murkier in the National League than the American League. There's no Chris Sale here that we can dub, "Mr. Steal-Ya-Vote." Because of this, we've got some work to do. Let's go through each of the candidates and their pros and cons so that we can make this puppy a little prettier.
Below, I'll be citing a couple of stats that I want to clarify first. nERD is a numberFire-specific stat that measures the number of runs a player would be worth above a league-average player if they were to record all 27 plate appearances in a game. You can read more about that here. I'll also be talking about weighted on-base average (wOBA), which is an offensive measure similar to on-base and slugging percentage that weighs each outcome based on the expected number of runs that event would produce. Now let's get cracking.
nERD: 2.10 | wOBA: .357 | WAR: 3.2
The biggest thing that Rendon has going for him is that he can do it all. Of the five players, he's the only one that has a positive defensive rating on Fangraphs' defensive stat. He also has accumulated eight steals this year, which is the most of the players in this selection. When you add in his stick and the fact he's only 24, you've got yourself a dandy little candidate here.
All of the above things have helped Rendon accumulate, by a healthy margin, the highest WAR of any of the players in the final vote. Of the three third basemen currently on the All-Star roster, only Todd Frazier has a higher WAR at 3.5. At second base, Rendon is the only one above 3.0. It's hard not to love him when you take the whole package into account.
I ain't watchin' no All-Star game to see some scally-wag play defense! Y'all must be trippin' to think I'll put up with this non-sense. We want los bombs!
While I don't subscribe to the above bumblings, I do understand why some fans may shy away from Rendon for having less impressive offensive stats than some of the other guys. Of the five candidates, he ranks fourth in nERD and wOBA, both of which only factor in offense. So if defense and base-running really aren't your thing, Rendon may not be your main squeeze.
nERD: 2.22 | wOBA: .374 | WAR: 1.5
For me, the pros of voting for Morneau are pretty obvious. I grew up a Twins fan, and seeing one of the good guys back at Target Field would just be too perfect. It would also provide for a ridiculously cool moment because the people of Minnesota still love him and would undoubtedly give him a rousing ovation.
Beyond the mushy-gushy, Morneau really is having a resurgent season in Colorado. His 11.1 strikeout percentage and .518 slugging percentage are both tops of this group of five. It's by far the best he has looked since sustaining the concussion that ended his 2010 season and his run of offensive dominance in the dirty 'Sota.
The obvious con here is that he's not even the best candidate at his own position in the vote. That would be the talented Mr. Rizzo. Rizzo trumps Morneau in every relevant offensive category and is only a teency bit worse defensively.
There's also that whole thing with Morneau playing his home games a place where gravity ceases to exist. His wOBA drops from .390 at home to .356 on the road (which actually is a smaller split than a lot of the other Rockies players). Basically, for Morneau, it has to come down to whether or not you think the coolness of the moment can outweigh what the stats say.
nERD: 2.40 | wOBA: .379 | WAR: 2.5
If you're looking for some young, power-hitting fire-power, Rizzo's your guy. He leads all of these candidates in wOBA and nERD and is tied with Justin Upton for the lead in home runs with 17. Like Rendon, he's only 24, and I don't mind giving him a little boost for that.
Rizzo's also interesting because he's on a very clear upward trajectory. AFter hitting .233/.323/.419 with 23 bombs last year, his .276/.384/.487 slash this year is even more impressive. He has also brought his walk percentage up to 13.5 percent, the 13th highest total in the league. This guy is going to be contending for All-Star games for a long time to come.
The biggest thing working against Rizzo right now is his position. Currently, there are two guys on the N.L. All-Star roster (Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman). Rizzo is a pretty distant third behind those two guys, although he probably is the next-best N.L. first baseman.
With Rendon, he would have been the fourth person at his position, but he would have arguably been the second best of those. Rizzo doesn't have that on his side. He also doesn't have Rendon's defensive ability and versatility to work with. I could see a lot of people ending up deciding between these two guys in the end.
nERD: 1.45 | wOBA: .348 | WAR: 1.9
For McGehee, the advantage is obvious: he has the coolest hash-tag of the five. If you had the choice of tweeting #VoteHitsMcGehee or #VoteBlahBlahBoringLastName, which one are you doing? Whoever decided to start calling him Hits McGehee needs both a hug and a raise because they are simply doing life correctly.
Unfortunately, that's about where the train stops for McGehee. While he gets on-base at a great clip (.389), you aren't going to see many All-Stars with a sub-.400 slugging percentage. Unless, of course, they're on a magical mystery retirement tour and are a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer. Even then it's iffy.
As with Morneau, McGehee isn't even the best player in the vote at his position. Rendon has played more games at third than he he has at second, and he has been better than McGehee across the board. He has certainly been a great story in leading the Marlins to a better record than everyone thought they'd have, but he comes up a bit short in this race.
nERD: 2.26 | wOBA: .370 | WAR: 2.4
Upton can hit the ball a long way. Of his 17 home runs, 11 have been 400 feet or longer. Six of those have been 430 feet or longer. That's some serious mileage, homes. Upton currently ranks second in extra-base hits on this list, trailing only Rendon by four.
He is also still only 26 years old. He's already in his seventh major-league season. This would be his third ALl-Star game. This dude is what the kiddos call a phenom that brings some star-power to the vote. Is that enough to garner a click? That would be your call, my friend.
Brudduh like-a swing dat stick, doe. If Upton were to win the fan vote, he would have the highest strikeout percentage (28.4 percent) by a sizable margin (Giancarlo Stanton would be second at 24.4).
The other thing about Upton is that he isn't even the best outfielder on his own team that's not currently on the All-Star roster. Jason Heyward, largely because of his superb defense, has a higher WAR (2.8) than Upton. Oh, and so does Billy Hamilton, who has a .301 on-base percentage. Upton can hit some home runs and compile some good offensive stats, but that's about it. That's why it's hard for me to justify a vote for Upton here when there are alternatives that are superior at their respective positions.
Despite the sentimentality behind Morneau, I have to go with Rendon here. If he doesn't make it, he's a definitive snub at his position, and I can't say that for any of the other four people on the ballot. He's also the best all-around ball player right now, and that should still be a factor in this decision. Because the offensive differences between the five aren't all that great, the player with the best defensive abilities and versatility gets the nod for me.
What say you? Who gets your final vote? We'd like to hear it. Shoot us your answer on numberFire's question forum. Also, give your reason, too, if only because it means we'll get to read #VoteHitsMcGehee a few more times.