This is part five of a nine-part series where we look at each position in the National League for the All-Star roster. We will see how different contributors constructed their All-Star rosters, as well as which players deserve to make the team. Check the storystream in the right bar for previous entries in the series.
If there's one position that no one wants to look at for the All-Star team, it's shortstop. It lacks the strength that some of these other positions have. After the top candidate, no one really stands out in the list. How would you choose a second player for the position? Could Jean Segura be that second player?
Here are the top 10 candidates by fWAR:
Current All-Star Voting Results
Results as of Sunday evening, from MLB.com:
The Contributors Vote
|Cheeseandcorn||Troy Tulowitzki||Hanley Ramirez|
|Derek Harvey||Troy Tulowitzki||Jimmy Rollins|
|Fred Hofstetter||Troy Tulowitzki||Jimmy Rollins|
|Hangwithem Rach||Troy Tulowitzki||Chris Owings|
|-JP-||Troy Tulowizki||Ian Desmond|
|Jordan Mader||Troy Tulowitzki||Andrelton Simmons|
|Noah Jarosh||Troy Tulowitzki||Hanley Ramirez|
|NPetrashek||Troy Tulowitzki||Hanley Ramirez|
The vote for the starter begins and ends at Troy Tulowitzki. If anyone wants to argue that anyone else should start the All-Star game beyond him, well...thank you for your insight. While the team pride factor can account for voting for other players, there's no debate that the discussion for the top shortstop in the NL (and top shortstop in MLB overall) is Troy Tulowitzki.
After that, it became a much bigger field to choose from for the reserve behind Tulowitzki. The choice is tough not because the position is good, but because of how much it lacks a real candidate. Among the voters, Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins each received multiple votes, but five different candidates were mentioned in total. There's no obvious choice for #2 this year, and the list above shows that.
Here's what some of the voters had to say.
Cheeseandcorn: "Tulowitzki is my MVP at this point, by quite a bit - even with the Coors Field effect, he's holding up a mind-blowing pace."
Fred Hofstetter: "Shortstop is a miserable position for the National League, isn't it? Offensively, anyway."
Noah Jarosh mentioned Jimmy Rollins and Ian Desmond as players worth mentions, but didn't make his team.
As mentioned before, the vote for starter begins and ends with Troy Tulowitzki. There's no denying that. Once you get beyond that, where does the vote go? Who would take the reserve shortstop spot?
If you went straight with fWAR, the reserve should be Jhonny Peralta. He's second in the NL at shortstop with a 1.9 fWAR. However, if you look at his offense, it's not that good. He does have 10 home runs, but the batting average is weak. Third place in fWAR is Jimmy Rollins. He still has some star power to his name, but is down from last year and the numbers aren't that impressive behind him, either.
Maybe the vote should go to the offensive juggernaut. In that case, it would be Hanley Ramirez. A .259 batting average isn't very impressive, but he has power and can even steal some bases. Of course, Jimmy Rollins could do that as well, and with better defense. If you're looking for a good batting average, then maybe Starlin Castro deserves some recognition. After Tulowitzki, Castro has the highest batting average among the top 10 candidates. However, his defense is also tough. You could decide to just go with the guy who hits the most home runs, and that would take you to Ian Desmond. The 13 home runs is second at shortstop, but it also comes with a .233 batting average.
There's other factors we could consider as well. If we're going to consider the offensive juggernauts, then why not the defensive ones as well? Jhonny Peralta falls into that category, but so does Andrelton Simmons. He has struggled to provide on offense for the Braves, but his great defense easily makes up for it. What about a balanced player? Chris Owings and Brandon Crawford both would fit that mold, but so did Jimmy Rollins. We could continue down this path for a while, but from the above, one thing is obvious: There's no candidate that stands out for being a second shortstop.
With all of this uncertainty, maybe a Brewers candidate could sneak in? Could Jean Segura make the team with no clear second candidate? The voters like him at least, which is what that third place position proves. However, the stats don't like him at all. In terms of fWAR, he falls into 13th among shortstops (behind three different shortstops from Arizona). The offensive numbers are bad, as Segura has posted a batting line of .247/.277/.314. At least Segura's defense has been above average, though it's not at the level of some of the other candidates. He does lead shortstops in stolen bases with 13, but that's only one part of the story here. It's a very tough sell to put Jean Segura into the All-Star game, but with shortstop lacking a second big name, maybe Jean Segura could find a way to sneak in.
Now that you've seen the case for shortstop, 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 shortstop, 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.