Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 NL Final Vote Analysis

Turner is having a year reminiscent of peak George Brett (Los Angeles Times)
If you haven't cast your ballot for the All-Star Game Final Vote, it's not too late! Polling closes at 4 PM EST, so make sure you get those votes in. After deciding that Logan Morrison was the most worthy of the five American League candidates, it's time to take a look at the National League five, ranked in order of FanGraphs WAR:

Justin Turner (3.9 fWAR .384/.473/.571 182 wRC+ .446 wOBA)

Anthony Rendon (3.7 fWAR .297/.398/.549 145 wRC+ .397 wOBA)

Kris Bryant (2.5 fWAR .263/.394/.505 135 wRC+ .381 wOBA)

Justin Bour (1.8 fWAR .289/.365/.557 138 wRC+ .384 wOBA)

Mark Reynolds (0.7 fWAR .286/.372/.517 116 wRC+ .378 wOBA)

There's a much bigger range here than in the AL, where four of the five candidates were clustered in the 2-3 win range. We can immediately eliminated Bour and Reynolds, who have posted lesser numbers at first base compared to their league-mates at third. Reynolds has been a product of Coors Field with a 1.084 OPS there compared to .729 everywhere else. Bour is having a fine season with 19 home runs, but he's clearly had an inferior year to the three hot-corner men on the ballot.

And that's where it gets tricky, just as separating the trio of AL shortstops proved difficult. Bryant is the reigning MVP and undoubtedly the biggest star on the ballot, but he's also fallen off a bit from last year and hasn't been as good as Rendon or Turner. What you do with him depends on your philosophy of what the All-Star Game should be. If you feel the Midsummer Classic should showcase the game's household names, then Bryant's your guy. If you feel the best players of the first half should be honored (as I do, to a point), then you're looking elsewhere.

While Rendon's having a fantastic year, his numbers can't compete with Turner's, which are truly remarkable. Aside from Freddie Freeman, he's been the National League's best hitter this year, with only the otherworldly Mike Trout and Aaron Judge surpassing him in the American League. Only Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt have produced more offensive value in the Senior Circuit, and both play first base. The best hitter on the NL's most dominant team should be a no-brainer.

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