The Statistically Ideal 2013 All-Star Ballot: NL Update 1
That's why I'm updating our ballot, with the AL side already posted and the NL side below. Unlike the AL, there isn't a lot of movement in the NL statistically optimized ballot over the past two weeks. However, what little movement there is all favors the Rocky Mountain Boys.
|Position||Player||Team||nERD Score||Overall Batter Rank||New?|
This is the optimal roster accurate as of June 4, 2013. 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 - Goldschmidt or Votto, Votto or Goldschmidt? Just like last time, it's extremely close: the two are No. 4 and No. 5 on our overall charts. Both have had a fluctuating past two weeks, as Goldschmidt rose his OBP while only hitting one homerun while Votto has hit three homeruns but has seen his OBP drop 31 points. While Votto's .451 OBP still leads the majors, it's not miles ahead of Goldschmidt's .417. Goldschmidt's .599 slugging, however, is far ahead of Votto's .518, and that seems to be the difference.
Second Base - The name hasn't changed, but the efficiency sure has. Matt Carpenter was the single-worst starting batter in either league just two weeks ago with an overall ranking at No. 54. But now, Carpenter's turned into a lean, mean hitting machine. Since May 22, Carpenter's OBP has risen 20 points, his batting average 23 points, and his slugging percentage 29 points. It's no surprise his 2.9 WAR ranks 10th among all position players. The next closest second baseman is Marco Scutaro as the No. 62 batter overall.
Shortstop - While shortstop represents one of the two changes on the NL roster, it's not exactly a surprising one. Jean Segura was due to regress towards the mean, and an OBP that has fallen from .400 on May 28 to its current .378 seems about right. Tulowitzki, meanwhile, has held steady with his .398 OBP, and his 6.0 percent homerun rate is the ninth-best among MLB qualified batters.
Third Base - Alicia Keys is a New York girl, so it would make absolute perfect sense for Fallin' to be David Wright's walk-up music for more than one reason. His 22 position drop in our overall batter rankings has made him the least efficient starter on our NL squad. I guess that'll happen, though, when your OBP drops from .400 on May 24 to .372 on June 4. The only top ten list Wright may be on right now is triples (with six), but his closest competition in the NL 3B club is No. 56 Eric Chavez.
Catcher - I don't think Posey's going anywhere any time soon. His offensive WAR is tenth in the majors at 2.4, his park-adjusted OPS according to baseball-reference sits fifth at 159, and his .388 OBP isn't that far off his MVP rate of .408 last season. He may not be the current leader in the clubhouse for MVP, but not even No. 41 Yadier Molina can likely overtake him as our starting catcher now.
First Choice - Yeah, I'm on the CarGo bandwagon. Strangely enough, this has less to do with his 5.6 percent homerun rate (fine, but not Chris Davis-level) or his extra-base hit rate (11.5 percent is OK, I guess). Instead, it has everything to do with his newly-found patience and his insane ability to hit productive balls in play. Gonzalez's walk rate has risen to 12.3 percent of plate appearances, 19th among qualified major leaguers and easily best of his career. Meanwhile, 30 percent of his balls in play have been line drives - the sixth-best such average in the majors - leading to an exceptional .368 batting average on balls in play (BABIP).
Second Choice - Shin-Soo Choo has dropped a couple of spots since he was our No. 2 overall player two weeks ago, but that doesn't mean he's not exceptional. His .438 OBP sits third in the majors (although down from .455 two weeks ago), and his 15.4 percent walk rate is the second-best in the majors behind teammate Joey Votto. His power's still there as well, holding steady at a 3.8 percent rate.
Third Choice - I have a confession to make. These ballots are entirely based off of nERD, numberFire's own efficiency rating system. nERD is darn near infallible, except sometimes when it comes to ballparks. Coors Field is not accounted for in the current iteration of nERD, as is no ballpark. So when somebody like Cuddyer pops up with seven homeruns and a .443 OBP at home against three homeruns and a .358 OBP on the road pops up, it will count all stats similarly. That's what gives Cuddyer our No. 3 outfield spot at this moment, but if you wanted to vote No. 11 Carlos Gomez instead, nobody would fault you.