Yesterday, voting for the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field started. In the past, many of the Brewers have received their share of league honors in the years they have been in the league. Of the current roster, here are the players with at least one All-Star Team appearance:
* - Appearance was made with another team.
One player that has eluded this list for so long is Jonathan Lucroy. As he continues his fifth season in the majors, it's time for that to change. It's time to get Lucroy into the All-Star Game.
When you look at the numbers for Lucroy, it all looks good for him. He's tied for fourth in MLB and tied for third in the NL in fWAR at 0.9. The batting line is strong at .333/.402/.487. He's putting up a good combination of offense and defense, and he's doing it as a full-time catcher while others are in platoon situations. He has improved every year and is on track for another year of improvement.
In addition, this is the player that the Brewers should be pushing to make the All-Star team. While the Brewers have worked their way to the best record in baseball, perception outside of Milwaukee has gone down. Lucroy is the type of player that is hard working and very likable. This is the guy that should be a representative for the Brewers.
Unfortunately, it's a big hurdle to clear to make the All-Star team at catcher, especially in the National League. The biggest problem that Lucroy faces is the competition for the position. Here are the 15 players listed on the ballot this year (in alphabetical order by last name):
|Wellington Castillo||Cubs||17 G / 72 PA||3||6||9||.242/.286/.409||0.2|
|Travis d'Arnaud||Mets||19 G / 69 PA||1||4||4||.213/.294/.295||0.2|
|AJ Ellis||Dodgers||7 G / 29 PA||0||1||0||.167/.310/.167||-0.2|
|Evan Gattis||Braves||17 G / 63 PA||5||7||12||.311/.333/.607||0.9|
|Yasmani Grandal||Padres||19 G / 54 PA||1||3||5||.250/.333/.354||0.2|
|Jonathan Lucroy||Brewers||20 G / 87 PA||1||8||8||.333/.402/.487||0.9|
|Russell Martin||Pirates||16 G / 73 PA||2||9||11||.242/.342/.355||0.6|
|Devin Mesoraco||Reds||13 G / 53 PA||3||10||13||.468/.509/.787||1.3|
|Yadier Molina||Cardinals||21 G / 87 PA||3||10||11||.361/.391/.542||1.1|
|Miguel Montero||Diamondbacks||23 G / 96 PA||2||8||13||.269/.375/.410||0.5|
|Buster Posey||Giants||22 G / 83 PA||4||9||10||.219/.313/.397||0.5|
|Wilson Ramos||Nationals||1 G / 3 PA||0||0||0||.000/.000/.000||-0.1|
|Wilin Rosario||Rockies||21 G / 84 PA||3||6||13||.241/.274/.405||0.2|
|Carlos Ruiz||Phillies||19 G / 80 PA||1||16||6||.269/.388/.463||0.6|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia||Marlins||21 G / 76 PA||3||10||6||.250/.368/.453||0.8|
When you look at this list, there are the two big names that jump out: Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. Those are the two players to beat. Going back to last year's voting, Molina won with 6.8 million votes, and Buster Posey was second at 6.4 million. Jonathan Lucroy finished in 6th with 1.1 million votes. That's a major gap that would have to be closed for him to make it as a fan selection. Even with Posey's slow start this season, he's still got the star power and fan base to take a lot of votes.
There are some things that will help and hurt this year. Two of the players ahead of Lucroy in last year's vote (John Buck and Brian McCann) are no longer in the NL, so there are votes to come from there. Unfortunately, there are candidates that can come in above him as well. Devin Mesoraco is off to an incredibly hot start despite playing in more of a platoon situation. Evan Gattis is stepping into the void that Brian McCann left well for the Braves. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has also had a terrific start for the Marlins. All of them could pull votes and make it harder for Lucroy to make the team.
I expect to see the candidates thin out a little as the season goes on. Voting is open for two months so there is a lot that can happen in that time. Personally, I say that we should get a campaign going to get Lucroy into the all-star game. The team typically has three catchers, and Lucroy has played so well in his career that he deserves the honor. His fWAR of 8.1 since 2012 is third among NL catchers, and that's even with missing time due to a hand injury. He's been one of the most consistent performers on the team and around baseball since his arrival. It's time for him to get the credit that he is due.