The Statistically Ideal 2013 All-Star Ballot: AL Update 1
That's why I'm updating our ballot, with the AL side coming today and the NL side coming tomorrow. Some of the AL team has remained the same, but a few shakeups at shortstop, catcher, and in the outfield has us with a radically different ballot than even just a short time ago.
|Position||Player||Team||nERD Score||Overall Batter Rank||New?|
For a full description of nERD, check out our numberFire glossary. It's worthwhile to note that only batting efficiency is taken into account, not fielding efficiency. So for the Andrelton Simmons fielding lovers, you're not finding a friend here.
First Base - No, that's not a typo: Chris Davis is currently the single best batter in the entire majors. With his nERD score rising by about two runs per 27 outs over the past two weeks, Davis has taken full advantage of a .754 slugging percentage that would sit as the 10th-best mark of all-time. Seven of the top nine, by the way, are either Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. It should be extraordinarily tough for Prince Fielder to catch him for starting honors now.
Second Base - It might have been somewhat of a surprise when Pedroia beat out Robinson Cano two weeks ago, but now, the gap between the two has grown even larger. Pedroia's .415 OBP sits as the sixth-best in the majors and fourth-best in the AL, way above Cano's .346 mark. And since the time of our last ballot two weeks ago, Cano has hit exactly one homerun. He's all the way down as our No. 43 overall hitter now.
Shortstop - Perhaps our largest riser on the overall list, Jed Lowrie has smoked his way past Jhonny Peralta into our starting shortstop job. He was out for a while at the time of our last ballot, but since his return to the lineup on May 26, Lowrie has registered a hit in eight of nine games and multiple hits in four of those contests. That has raised his batting average to .317 and OBP to .397. Peralta may have the higher average at .333, but with only a 7.3 percent walk rate (compared to Lowrie's 10.9 percent), his career-high .378 OBP just isn't enough to keep pace.
Third Base - Maybe Miggy isn't the No. 1 overall player anymore, but that's more due to Chris Davis's outlier of a season instead of his own play. Cabrera's extraordinarily high 6.37 nERD score (runs generated per 27 outs) is just 0.24 below two weeks ago, meaning he hasn't fallen off the pace too badly. The only noteworthy piece here is how Josh Donaldson (our No. 12 batter) has moved into second place at 3B ahead of Evan Longoria (our No. 19 batter).
Catcher - Mauer's been consistently hanging out in between No. 13 and No. 25 overall all season, but he's new to our list because of the absolute collapse of everybody's favorite guitarist, Carlos Santana. After sitting at No. 17 overall just two weeks ago, Santana's average has fallen eight points, OBP 13 points, and slugging a whopping 61 points since that time. Santana's double yesterday against the Yankees was his first extra-base hit since a homerun on May 22. And with Mauer sitting with the majors' fifth-best OBP at .417, lack of extra-base power recently just not going to get it done.
Designated Hitter - Ortiz. Easy. And I'm honestly not sure how Big Papi does it. His 11.1 percent strikeout rate is the best of his career, while his 6.1 percent homerun rate is his best since 2006. His .618 slugging would sit fourth in the entire majors if he had enough plate appearances to qualify (thanks no-DH Interleague play!), while his 1.023 OPS would sit third behind only Davis and Cabrera. At 37 years old? It's really just not fair.
First Choice - Mike Trout was on our ballot last time, but he was our No. 3 outfielder instead of our top one. But that type of rise will happen when you put up six different multi-hit games over the past two weeks as Trout has. His .371 OBP and .547 slugging may not be up to last year's insanely high standards, but he's still in the top ten in the majors in park-adjusted OPS (ninth), stolen bases (tenth), and that all-knowing offensive WAR (third). Maybe the fact he's had the most plate appearances in the American League helps those numbers, but either way, we'll take it.
Second Choice - Down go Alex Gordon (now No. 38) and Alex Rios (freefalling to No. 54). In their place come Jose Bautista and Adam Jones, two names that you figure are more likely to win the fan voting for the actual team. Bautista may not have his typical absurd power numbers - he's only hit 12 homeruns so far this season, a 5.3 percent rate - but he's made up for it with his exceptional patience. His 14.5 percent walk rate isn't too far above his 13.6 percent career average, but it's still exceptional enough to net him a .371 OBP and the fifth-most total walks (33) in the entire majors.
Third Choice - Adam Jones has registered the second-most at-bats in the entire majors behind teammate Manny Machado, so it's not too surprising to see him on the top ten lists for total runs scored (sixth), hits (fifth), and total bases (fifth). But does that necessarily mean he's being efficient? You tell me - would you rather have No. 20 Jones' .313 batting average and 4.4 percent homerun rate, or No. 21 Coco Crisp's 15.0 percent walk rate and 11 stolen bases? Our formula says the former, but it's extremely close.