MLB will announce the 2015 All Star vote this Sunday, so it’s about time for BBRT to share its (my) All Star ballot. I prefer to vote late in the balloting, just in case some player has made a late-June/early-July surge that puts him over the top or has suffered a late slump that let’s other contenders close the gap. So, here’s my ballot (statistics through July 2 – the time of my vote).
Buster Posey – Giants
The two-time All Star and 2012 NL MVP gets BBRT’s vote based on his solid .304-13-56 stat line. The only other tempting candidate was the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina – clearly the best defensive catcher out there (seven consecutive Gold Gloves) and a solid hitter (.286-2-27 in 2015). If I was building a team, I’d probably take Molina for what he could mean to the pitching staff. For the 2015 All Star Game, I’ll take Posey’s bat.
Tidbit: Through July 2 of 2015, Posey was hitting .364 with runners in scoring position and .438 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks
Easy choice here, Goldschmidt brings it all to the ball park – average, power, speed and defense. His line through July 2 – a league leading .352 average, with 20 home runs, 65 RBI and 15 stolen bases. And, of course, there is that Gold Glove (2013 defense).
Tidbit: As of July 1, Goldschmidt led the NL in average (.352), runs scored (56), walks (63), intentional walks (18) and on-base percentage (.468).
Dee Gordon – Marlins
Might have gotten a little more offense from the other second sackers in contention for the BBRT vote – but Gordon’s 26 stolen bases stole this vote. And, as of July 2, he was hitting .345 – with an NL-best 114 hits. Other candidates I considered were the Cardinals’ Kolten Wong (.287-9-36, with six steals) and the Giants’ Joe Panik (.316-6-30, with three steals).
Tidbit: It’s troubling to note that Gordon’s average has dropped each month this season. He hit .418 in April; .393 in May; and .304 in June. Still his hot start earned the nod here.
Nolan Arenado – Rockies
The 24-year-old Arenado looks to have many All Star games ahead of him. This year’s .287-24-68 (he leads all of MLB in RBI) line enabled him to edge out the Reds’ Todd Frazier (.283-25-54). Frazier does have eight steals to none for Arenado, but Arenado has won the NL Gold Glove at third base in both his previous MLB seasons. BBRT likes players who can flash “lumber and leather.”
Tidbit: Arenado hits righties and lefties equally well. This season, through July 2, Arenado was hitting .287 versus right-handers and .288 versus southpaws.
Troy Tulowitzki – Rockies
Tulo is hitting .319-8-41 and that’s a lot of offense from the shortstop position. Still picking Tulowitzki over Andrelton Simmons of the Braves (.269-3-29) was a close call. Simmons, after all, may be the best infield defender on the planet – and won a Gold Glove in each of his first two full MLB seasons (2013-14). A little better batting average or a touch more speed on the bases (Simmons has one stolen base in three attempts) probably would have swung my vote.
Tidbit: Simmons may be garnering the “glove-work” headlines now, but before Simmons hit the big leagues, Tulowitzki had picked up a pair of Gold Gloves at shortstop (2010-11).
Bryce Harper – Nationals
Giancarlo Stanton – Marlins
Sterling Marte – Pirates
The first two votes were relatively easy – Harper (.339-24-58) and Stanton (.265-27-67) can both carry a team – and have 51 home runs and have a 125 RBI between them. They’ll give the NL offense some real punch. (Stanton’s 27 dingers lead all of MLB, as does Harper’s .705 slugging percentage.)
Picking Starling Marte for the third spot added some speed without sacrificing power. Marte’s .288-13-48, with 16 steals, edges his teammate Andrew McCutchen (.295-9-47, with five steal)s – but barely. This is another case, where, if I was setting up a team for the long haul, I’d probably take McCutchen, but Marte earned my vote for this All Star squad. (Of course, with Stanton’s recent hand injury, McCutchen would also make the BBRT All Star starting line-up). And, how can you not vote for a guy named Starling?
Others in the running, but not that close, were the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson and the Reds’ Billy Hamilton – one for exciting power (rookie Pederson’s 20 homers, but .243 average with 95 strikeouts), one for super-exciting speed (Hamilton’s 40 steals, with a .230 average). Still, batting south of .250 kept them behind my three choices.
Tidbit(s): Bryce Harper hit 22 MLB home runs as a teenager, the most very by a teenie-bopper in the NL and second only to Boston Red Sox’ Tony Conigliaro’s 24 dingers before age 20. Giancarlo Stanton has hit five of the ten longest 2015 MLB home runs (through July 2) according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. Starling Marte hit a home run on the first pitch he ever saw in the major leagues
Steve Vogt – A’s
The A’s Steve Vogt is having a breakout season at age 30 – hitting .290 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI through July 2. He edges out the Blue Jays’ Russell Martin (.262-12-38) and the Yankees’ Brian McCann (.265-12-49). Besides those two veterans already have 10 All Star appearances between. Give the new guy a chance to shine.
Tidbit: With runners in scoring position (through July 2), Vogt is hitting .365 with 7 home runs and 46 RBI in 74 at bats.
Miguel Cabrera –Tigers
If two consecutive MVP Awards and a Triple Crown aren’t an automatic All Star vote, what is? Perhaps, Miguel Cabrera’s .345-15-53 line through July 2. I did consider Albert Pujols’ AL-leading 24 home runs, but Miggy’s all-around game is better.
Tidbit: Miguel Cabrera has finished in the top five in MVP voting in seven of his 13 MLB seasons.
Jason Kipnis – Indians
Kipnis earned the BBRT vote with a league-leading .347 average (and league-leading 108 hits), six home runs, 35 RBI and ten steals through July 2 – but this was one of the toughest calls in the balloting process.
Also in the running were the Twins’ Brian Dozier, with 16 home runs, 40 RBI and an MLB-best 61 runs scored through July 2; the Astros’ Jose Altuve (.298-7-33, with an AL-leading 23 steals); and the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia (.306-9-33).
Tidbit: Kipnis also leads the AL with 26 doubles.
Manny Machado – Orioles
If I could split a vote, it might be here. Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado are that close. The basic line: Donaldson .300-19-52; Machado .302-16-44. So, why give the edge to Machado? An eleven steals to three edge, and a one Gold Glove to none edge. Once again, BBRT respects the combination of “leather and lumber” – add a touch of speed and you get my vote.
Tidbit: Machado hit .365 with eight home runs and 22 RBI this June.
Xander Bogaerts – Red Sox
This vote could have gone to Bogaerts (.297-3-35, with four steals); the Blue Jays’ Jose Reyes (.272-4-27, with ten steals); or Jose Iglesias of the Tigers (.320-1-11, with nine steals). Let’s give a nod to the youngster – get someone in the lineup whose name starts with ‘X” – and give the forlorn Red Sox nation something to cheer about.
Tidbit: In 2013, Bogaerts was the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .297 with 15 home runs at AA and AAA.
Mike Trout – Angels
Adam Jones – Orioles
Brett Gardner – Yankees
Here BBRT’s vote(s) went for all-around players who could deliver power, defense and speed. That channeled my support to Mike Trout (.303-21-44, with nine stolen bases), who brings all the tools every day; Adam Jones (.292-10-37, with four Gold Gloves); and Brett Gardner (.304-9-39 and 15 steals). With this OF, the AL would have plenty of offense and plenty of speed to run down anything the NL sent to the OF. Others in the running were Tigers’ slugger J.D. Martinez (.281-21-51) and the A’s Josh Reddick (.287-11-49 and a solid defender).
Tidbit(s): Mike Trout is just 23-years-old and this will be his fourth All Star game); Brett Gardner led the AL in stolen basis in 2011 (49); and Adam Jones has won Gold Gloves in each of the past three seasons.
Nelson Cruz – Mariners
Cruz brings a powerful bat (.303-20-48) to the DH slot. Actually, the only other DH I really considered was Alex Rodriguez – making history and having a pretty good season (.280-15-45), just a bit shy of Cruz’ marks.
Tidbit: In 2011, Cruz and Ian Kinsler became the first two teammates in major league history to homer in each of the first three games in a season.
So, there’s the BBRT All Star ballot. Hope it gave you some food for thought.