It’s your election Czar, back again to go over the updated balloting results for the National League.
St Louis fans have voted three of their Cardinals into the top spots for their respective positions, with another two sitting in second place. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? (Stats through Tue, June 2)
First Base: Adrian Gonzalez
The Dodgers’ first baseman began the 2015 season about as locked-in as any player could. Through his first 3 games, Gonzalez swatted 5 home runs, plated 7 runs, and got hits in 10 of his first 13 at-bats. That torrid start helped catapult Gonzalez back into the national spotlight, and he was the talk of the baseball world for the first few weeks of the year. Since his first 3 games, however, Gonzalez has been relatively pedestrian, and his numbers have mostly come back down to earth. A-Gon is still, though, second among NL first basemen in homers, RBIs, slugging, and OPS. Dodgers fans were out in force on the digital ballot, however, and his 1.38 million votes are good enough to keep him in the top spot among NL first sackers.
Paul Goldschmidt, though, leads all NL first basemen in nearly every category. Goldy is slashing .355/.471/.677 and has 15 HRs and 44 RBIs on the young season, all tops among qualified players at first base. The Diamondbacks are currently under .500, while the Dodgers are leading their division. So, it will be interesting to see if Goldschmidt can hit enough to displace Adrian Gonzalez, as he trails the Dodgers first baseman by about 225,000 votes.
The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo ranks third in most of the major offensive categories, and not surprisingly is third in voting. Curiously, Matt Adams was fourth in votes despite being dead-last in OBP and OPS for qualified first basemen on he senior circuit. The Reds’ Joey Votto rounds out the top-5.
As is the case in the American League, first base is a bit of a crowded field and there are a few players who are deserving of votes. Lucas Duda of the Mets and Brandon Belt are both enjoying good seasons and both are outpacing Votto in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS.
1. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: 1,380,696
2. Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs: 1,067,482
3. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: 834,554
4. Matt Adams, Cardinals: 702,282
5. Brandon Belt, Giants: 632,931
Second Base: Dee Gordon
Dee Gordon is showing no signs of slowing down, both literally and figuratively, after being traded from the Dodgers to the Miami Marlins this past offseason for prospect Andrew Heaney (who was then promptly flipped to the Angels for Gordon’s replacement, Howie Kendrick). Gordon leads the entire majors in batting with a .366 (as well as a major league high .425 BABIP). He also leads the majors in hits with 79, although not surprisingly 67 of those are singles (also a MLB high). Gordon’s 20 stolen bases are second most in the majors, behind human-cheetah hybrid Billy Hamilton.
Kolten Wong, of the Cardinals, is second in voting and he trails Dee Gordon by roughly 350,000 votes. Wong leads all players at the keystone with 6 home runs, 32 runs, and a .465 slugging percentage. He is also second among NL second basemen in BRef defensive WAR. Gordon is definitely having a better season, thus far, but I’ll be curious to see if Cardinal Nation can stuff the box enough to have Wong overtake the Marlins second baseman for the staring job in Cincinnati this July.
After Marco Scutaro went down last year with a nasty back injury in which he needed to have two of his vertebrae fused together, the Giants put out an APB for any able-bodied second baseman in their system to fill the void. Finally, they landed on rookie Joe Panik. In 73 games during the 2014 campaign, Panik hit .305 and had a 106 OPS+. Panik has taken a step forward this season and through only 51 games has already surpassed his 2014 totals in doubles (11), home runs (4), and RBIs (21). Panik ranks among the top-5 among NL second basemen in average (.303), OBP (.376), and slugging percentage (.447).
Howie Kendrick and Yunel Escobar round out the top-5 (although Escobar has played all of his games at third base, for the injured Anthony Rendon). Reigning gold glove award winner, Rockies 2B DJ LeMahieu, who’s .339 batting average, .388 OBP and 59 hits all place him among the top-10 in the entire NL is on the outside looking in.
1. Dee Gordon, Marlins: 1,531,048
2. Kolten Wong, Cardinals: 1,185,982
3. Joe Panik, Giants: 723,564
4. Howie Kendrick, Dodgers: 559,417
5. Yunel Escobar, Nationals: 502,505
Third Base: Matt Carpenter
The Cardinals third baseman is enjoying a resurgence after struggling a little last season. Carpenter finished the 2014 campaign with the lowest batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS of his young career. Although, he still finished with an OPS+ of 111, many viewed his 2014 as a down year. Carpenter has turned it around in a big way, and through 47 games and has already matched his 2014 total in home runs with 8. He’s leading all qualified third basemen in batting average (.314), and runs scored (35), and his .396 OBP is good for 6th best on the senior circuit.
Cubs wunderkind Kris Bryant is a distant second to Carpenter in the voting, thus far, behind by almost a million votes. Since his much ballyhooed debut on April 17th, Bryant is hitting .273 with 7 homers and 33 RBIs, and his .387 OBP is second among qualified third basemen, trailing only Matt Carpenter in that category.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier trails both Bryant and Carpenter in the balloting, despite being tied for second in the entire league with 16 home runs. His .608 slugging percentage is also good for 4th on the senior circuit. The Reds sit at 22-28 on the young season, and not much has gone right for the club, but Frazier should be at Great American Ballpark for the All Star Game in some capacity.
2014 Gold Glove award winner Nolan Arenado is fourth in voting, despite the fact that he is 4th in the NL in RBIs (38), 6th in homers (13), and tied for first in BRef defensive WAR (1.4). Injured Mets third baseman, David Wright, rounds out the top-5.
1. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 1,974,503
2. Kris Bryant, Cubs: 1,079,693
3. Todd Frazier, Reds: 636,177
4. Nolan Arenado, Rockies: 578,243
5. David Wright, Mets: 468,288
Shortstop: Jhonny Perralta
Believe it, or not, Perralta has more home runs, RBIs, and a higher batting average, OBP, slugging percentage than Troy Tulowitski. Through 51 games, Jhonny Perralta is having perhaps the best season of his career at age 33. The Cardinals shortstop is slashing .306/.370/.508 (all tops among qualified shortstops in the NL) to go along with 8 home runs and 31 RBIs.
Perralta, though, only maintains a slight lead of about 176,000 votes over the man in second place: Brandon Crawford. Crawford, before this season, was known mostly as a defensive-first shortstop with not much to offer at the plate. The 28-year-old is proving all his naysayers wrong so far in 2015 and is by far having his best season, and his 148 OPS+ is 10 points higher than that of Perralta. Crawford has 8 home runs, which is tied for the most among NL shortstops, as well as 37 RBIs (which leads all SS). To boot, Crawford’s 2.7 BRef WAR leads all NL shortstops and is good enough for 5th best among all NL position players. Both Perralta and Crawford play on popular teams, but are overshadowed by other players on their respective teams, so this will be an interesting race to keep an eye on as the summer rolls on.
Cubs SS Starlin Castro is a curious third in votes for NL SS, as his .647 OPS is 10th out of 11 qualified players at his position. To his credit, though, he is tied for third among his bretheren in hits (54) and RBIs (25). The aforementioned Tulowitski is fourth in voting. After an incredible 2014 that was derailed by injury, Tulo is having a down year by his own standards, slashing .287/.303/.468 with only 5 home runs and 23 RBIs.
Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart is another glove-first shortstop who is enjoying an offensive awakening this season, and it has been good enough to place him 5th in votes at SS, so far. His .778 OPS is good for third best among qualified players at short, and his .451 slugging percentage is more than 50 points higher than his previous career-high (.399 in 2012).
The biggest question here is: where the heck is Andrelton Simmons? Simmons is tied with Nolan Arenado for the NL lead in defensive WAR, according to BRef, and his 34 runs scored are tops at his position in the National League. The 2014 gold glove award winner is playing for a team that, as I write this, sits a game under .500, and he most certainly will never be mistaken for an offensive juggernaut, but his abilities with the glove are unparallelled in the game today. It’s a little bit of a shock that Simmons hasn’t garnered more votes.
1. Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals: 1,279,711
2. Brandon Crawford, Giants: 1,103,884
3. Starlin Castro, Cubs: 853,452
4. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 762,100
5. Zack Cozart, Reds: 535,921
Catcher: Buster Posey
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey overtook Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for the lead in votes for NL catchers after the first update was released last week. Posey leads all NL catchers in home runs (8) and is second in RBIs (29). Also, his .811 OPS places him third best among backstops who have played more than 25 games. Posey’s lead of roughly 152,000 is the narrowest of all position players, and his 1.68 million votes are the third-most of any player in the NL.
Molina leads his next closest competitor in votes by almost 1 million, despite having exactly as many home runs as I do (zero, just in case you weren’t sure) and a paltry .662 OPS. He does, though, have 51 hits and 9 doubles, but has scored only 10 runs. The perennial all star and Gold Glove award winner is having a very disappointing season.
Somewhat strangely, Miguel Montero and AJ Pierzynski are third and fourth in the voting. Neither are having particularly good seasons, ranking 6th and 8th respectively in OPS for catchers with more than 25 games played.
The Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal rounds out the top-5. Grandal missed some time this season, but in 38 games the young catcher is slashing .287/.403/.470 to go along with 5 home runs and 20 RBIs. His .872 OPS is tops amongst NL catchers who have played more than 25 games.
Oddly, though, is the fact that Padres catcher Derek Norris is outside of the top-5 in all star voting for backstops. After being traded to San Diego this past offseason, Norris is enjoying his best season power-wise despite being traded from one pitchers park (O.Co Colosseum) to another (Petco Park). In fact, all of Norris’s 5 home runs have come at Petco Park this season (Although, it should be noted that Petco Park is playing much closer to a neutral park this season than O.Co is according to ESPN’s Park Factors), and his 54 hits and 34 RBIs lead all NL backstop.
Another catcher who is on the outside looking in, and is also enjoying his new home ballpark, is Rockies catcher Nick Hundley. Hundley’s .307 batting average is second only to Franciso Cervelli of the Pirates, and his .486 slugging percentage leads all NL catchers with more than 25 games played. Outside of Posey, who should run away with the starting vote, it will be intersting to see who joins him on the NL squad this season.
1. Buster Posey, Giants: 1,679,730
2. Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 1,542,231
3. Miguel Montero, Cubs: 551,748
4. A.J. Pierzynski, Braves: 448,162
5. Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers: 396,897
Outfielders: Bryce Harper, Matt Holliday, Giancarlo Stanton
Mr. “Corner Turned”, Bryce Harper, leads the NL in votes with 2,323,186. The Nationals right fielder is having a career year this season and is tied with Nelson Cruz for the most home runs in the majors with 18. Harper’s 4.3 WAR according to BRef is the highest of any player in the entire MLB regardless of position. He also leads the entire planet in slugging percentage (.718), and OPS (1.188), and his 9.4 AB/HR rate is the best in the MLB by more than 1.5 ABs. Harper has been playing like a man possessed this season, not much else needs to be said.
At 35 years of age, Holliday is the oldest of any of the current all star starters, but the Cardinals left fielder is still having a good year. Although he only has 3 home runs and 24 RBIs, Holliday’s .430 OBP is second only to young Mr. Harper for all qualified NL outfielders. He also is in the top-10 for NL outfielders in hits (51), walks (31) and OPS (.859).
If we know one thing about Giancarlo Stanton, its that he is strong like bull, Stanton owns 4 of the 8 longest hit home runs this season, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, and his 16 total home runs is good for a tie for third most in MLB. Stanton also leads the majors with 45 RBIs. That’s, unfortunately, where the good ends and the bad begins. Stanton is hitting only .230 and his 72 strikeouts are the most in the majors. After getting hit in the face by a pitch last season, much has been made of his use of a cage guard to cover his face, and that might be playing a significant role in his drop in overall offensive production. Or, perhaps, pitchers have learned a way to get the big man out. Either way, I hope that Stanton will be in Cincy this July, and will hopefully participate in the home run derby after the show he put on last year at Target Field in Minnesota.
A trio of Giants come next in the voting: newly acquired Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence. Aoki is having a “Nori Aoki-type” season, as his .314 average is third highest, and his 65 hits lead all NL outfielders. Aoki also has 12 steals on the campaign. Pagan isn’t doing much, offensively, this season, although his 60 hits are good enough for 4th most among outfielders.
Pence missed a significant portion of the season, after suffering a broken left forearm in spring training, and has only played in 18 games thus far.
Justin Upton of the Padres is 7th on the list, and is another Padre enjoying his new digs. The younger Upton is slashing .294/.355/.523 o go along with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs on the season. He’s also a perfect 10 for 10 on stolen base attempts.
Andrew McCutchen is next, and after having a frighteningly slow start to the 2015 campaign Cutch has turned it on as of late. Less than a month ago, on May 5th, Cutch was hitting .185 with 2 homers and 13 RBIs. Since that date, however, the Pirates center fielder is slashing .398/.473/.699 to go along with 5 homers and 21 RBIs. If McCutchen keeps this up, he’ll be in Cincy for the All Star game one way or another. Jason Heyward is 9th in votes for NL outfielders, and it is probably mostly due to the fact that he is playing on the team with the best record in the Majors. Heyward’s .251/.302/.394 slash line is very uninspiring.
Rounding out the top-10 is the young Dodgers center fielder, Joc Pederson. After playing 18 games last season for the Dodgers last september, Young Joc has burst on to the scene in 2015. His 16 home runs are tied with Giancarlo Stanton and Todd Frazier for the third most in the Majors, and he owns 2 of the 6 longest hit home runs on the year, including the longest: a 480 foot bomb to straight away center field in Colorado. Pederson, Harper, and Giancarlo Stanton in the home run derby for the NL squad are the things dreams are made of. Here’s hoping Pederson at least gets an invite to participate in the derby, if he doesn’t make the team.
1. Bryce Harper, Nationals: 2,323,186
2. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,654,428
3. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: 1,210,108
4. Nori Aoki, Giants: 1,012,117
5. Angel Pagan, Giants: 782,876
6. Hunter Pence, Giants: 692,922
7. Justin Upton, Padres: 692,380
8. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 667,692
9. Jason Heyward, Cardinals: 655,444
10. Joc Pederson, Dodgers: 588,336
11. Jon Jay, Cardinals: 554,899
12. Dexter Fowler, Cubs: 513,233
13. Corey Dickerson, Rockies: 504,983
14. Matt Kemp, Padres: 476,318
15. Jorge Soler, Cubs: 462,196
Previous post: 2015 All Star Game AL Ballot – Update #1