Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 AL Final Vote Analysis

LoMo is the clear-cut choice in the AL (CBS Sports)
The All-Star Game's Final Vote closes at 4 PM EST today, so it's time to make some last-minute picks! In the American League, we have a pair of slugging corner infielders pitted against a trio of good-hitting shortstops. Who deserves to go Miami next week? Let's dive in with a quick glance at the candidates (ranked in order of FanGraphs WAR):

Logan Morrison (2.9 fWAR .256/.366/.579 145 wRC+ .386 wOBA)

Xander Bogaerts (2.6 fWAR .308/.362/.448 110 wRC+ .345 wOBA)

Elvis Andrus (2.2 fWAR .301/.347/.473 114 wRC+ .350 wOBA)

Didi Gregorius (2.2 fWAR .302/.331/.477 112 wRC+ .341 wOBA)

Mike Moustakas (1.6 fWAR .269/.305/.559 120 wRC+ .356 wOBA)

We can one we can eliminate right off the bat, and that's Moustakas. While his 25 home runs are impressive, his on-base percentage is on par with the three shortstops' batting averages. With no steals and uninspiring defense at third base, Moustakas has been a mostly one-dimensional slugger who can be dismissed in favor of the three shortstops -- who have rivaled his offense while playing a more demanding position -- and Morrison, who has been a much better hitter.

It's almost impossible to separate the three shortstops, who rank 5-7 in fWAR among MLB players at their position with at least 100 plate appearances. Gregorius (2.2 fWAR) has been arguably the best hitter of the trio on a per at-bat basis, but he's also played the least due to a lengthy stay on the Disabled List that delayed his season debut until April 28. He's shown the most pop with 10 homers and 12 doubles in 239 at-bats, but he's also worked only nine walks and hasn't made the same impact on the bases (two steals in three tries). He'd need to have a clear edge in rate stats to compensate for his lesser playing time, but since he doesn't he's the next to go.

Bogaerts (2.6 fWAR) has the best average (.308) and on-base percentage (.362) of the trio, but is also toting a considerably lower slugging percentage (.448) despite playing his home games in Fenway Park. He's still recovering from his 41-game homerless streak to start the season, although he's gone deep six times in 39 games since. He's stolen nine bases in 10 attempts and is playing solid defense, but he's essentially been a slightly lesser version of Andrus, who has nearly twice as many homers (11) and more than double the steals (20, although he's been caught seven times) while posting a slightly stronger batting line.

That brings us to our most deserving candidate, Mr. Morrison (2.9 fWAR), who's blown the other four candidates out of the water in terms of offensive production and rates the highest for overall value. He was inexplicably snubbed in the first round of fan voting and was also passed over for the Home Run Derby in favor of Gary Sanchez, which he's rightfully ticked about. In any case, Morrison should have gotten the starting nod to begin with, as he's third among all first basemen in fWAR behind only Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto, who are having MVP-caliber seasons. He's putting up the same numbers as starting first baseman Justin Smoak, albeit in a much tougher ballpark for hitters. Morrison is having a career year and should be rightfully honored for it.

1 comment:

  1. You really don't have a clue about what you are talking, do you? Mike Moustakas is one of, if not the best, third basemen in the MLB. You obviously have not ever seen him play, or you wouldn't make such ridiculous comments as he should be the obvious first one out.