Welcome to the first part of a nine-part series on the All-Star Game. The purpose of this series is to take an in-depth look at the All-Star roster for the National League. Specifically, who would we like to see on the roster for the National League?
About a week and a half ago, I emailed all of the BCB contributors asking for volunteers to participate in this series. A few brave souls volunteered, and with them we put together eight ballots of who we want to see on the team. Here are the contributors who chose to participate:
Here's how the series will work. Each day, a different position for the all-star team will be covered. There will be an overview of the stats for the candidates at that position, as well as an update on what the fan voting says for that position. Then, the results from the contributors will be revealed, as well as any reasons they have for the players they chose (or, in some cases, didn't choose). The post will conclude with a poll where you can vote for your own picks for the game, and those results will be revealed in the final post of the series.
It is important to note that this series is about who we want to see on the All-Star team for the National League, not who we think will be on the team. Some of the contributors may make some picks that are surprising, but it was up to them to decide who they want to see in the game. The contributors are usually lurking, so if you want to challenge a choice of theirs, they may decide to respond to your challenge (or not, it's up to them).
Here's the schedule for the series:
- 6/10: Catchers
- 6/11: First Basemen
- 6/12: Second Basemen
- 6/13: Third Basemen
- 6/16: Shortstops
- 6/17: Outfielders
- 6/18: Starting Pitchers
- 6/19: Relief Pitchers
- 6/20: Final Notes/Overview of Team
Now with the intro done, let's look at our first position: the catcher.
Here are the top 10 candidates by fWAR:
Current All-Star Voting Results
Results as of Monday evening, from MLB.com:
The Contributors Vote
|Voter||Starter||Reserve #1||Reserve #2|
|Cheeseandcorn||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina|
|Derek Harvey||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina||Buster Posey|
|Fred Hofstetter||Jonathan Lucroy||Carlos Ruiz|
|Hangwithem Rach||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina||Buster Posey|
|-JP-||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina||Devin Mesoraco|
|Jordan Mader||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina|
|Noah Jarosh||Jonathan Lucroy||Yadier Molina|
|NPetrashek||Jonathan Lucroy||Devin Mesoraco||Yadier Molina (A)|
The contributors were consistent in choosing Jonathan Lucroy as their starter, and as you can see in the stats, that's not a homer pick. The numbers favor that choice well. Most of the voters also gave the nod to Yadier Molina on the team, but not everyone. Fred decided to go with Carlos Ruiz instead, and Nate went with Devin Mesoraco, with Yadier Molina an alternate for the team. Maybe some Brewers favoritism played in there, but most recoginze Molina's ability.
Here is what the contributors have to say on the catchers:
Derek Harvey: "I stayed pretty close to fWAR leaders, except at third base. Buster Posey is a superstar and there probably needs to be three catchers anyway."
Noah Jarosh: "Lucroy is the best in the NL behind the plate this year. He hasn't been doing well in the actual voting, but in a fair world he's starting the ASG." (Noah also included Carlos Ruiz as a player worth a mention, but did not make his team.)
NPetrashek: "Lucroy is not a homer pick; leads NL among catchers with [2.6] fWAR, but Mesaraco is close. Lucroy gets the edge because of his defense, and the way he's handled the rotation. I went Mesoroco over Yadi because he's been on the DL and still outdistanced Yadi offensively."
When looking at the numbers, it's obvious that Jonathan Lucroy deserves a starting nod. He had a clean sweep in the contributors vote. He has the best fWAR among all catchers, as well as the best batting average, second best on-base percentage, and third-best slugging percentage. While the defensive numbers favor Yadier Molina, everything else favors Jonathan Lucroy, except for one thing: the fan vote.
The fans have overwhelmingly been voting for Yadier Molina. He had a 550,000 vote lead over Buster Posey and a 850,000 vote lead over Jonathan Lucroy. It's a near lock at this point that Molina will win the start from the fan's vote. Where does that leave Lucroy? It should leave him as a reserve on the team. The numbers are just too much in his favor to ignore him at this point. In my opinion, it's not a question of whether or not Lucroy makes the team, but whether the team takes a third catcher or not.
There are some good other candidates that could deserve a third spot, should the manager choose to go with it. Evan Gattis leads catchers with home runs and RBI, and is third in fWAR. Devin Mesoraco has dealt with an injury for a good chunk of the season, but in the time he has played, his numbers have been great. Carlos Ruiz also has put up some good numbers in his time this season. Meanwhile, there's still Buster Posey lurking as well. He may not has performed as well this season, but he has the name recognition and star power. That may be enough to get him on the team.
As we move on with the series, you will see that some other positions are not as strong as catcher. For that reason, I think the NL team will take three catchers this year. Yadier Molina is a near lock for starter, and Jonathan Lucroy should be a reserve. The question is who the third catcher will be.
Now that you've seen the case for catcher, what do you think? This is your chance to voice your opinion. Below is a Google form; fill that out to submit your vote for the position. Each pick will be assigned a point value that will be used to determine the results (pick #1 gets the most, pick #3 gets the fewest). Please vote only once. The poll will remain open until noon tomorrow.
Note: Not all three of these picks would potentially make the team. There is one starter and one reserve guaranteed for catcher, but the third will be for a possible bench spot in what bench spots are available. You do not have to fill in all three spots, you can fill in only two if you choose.