Examining John’s MLB All Star Ballot

NL Ballot

Catcher– Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals

Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are more recognized, decorated catchers in a competitive National League, but Wilson Ramos is having the season of his life. Ramos is hitting an astounding .340 batting average, trailing only teammate Daniel Murphy among all National League players. Not coincidentally, the Nats are near the top of the National League.

1st Baseman– Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

Paul Goldschmidt is one of the best players in baseball and a perennial MVP candidate, but Anthony Rizzo earned the nod. The steadying presence in the Cubs’ dugout has hit 19 home runs, good for 6th in the NL, and has three wins above replacement, also sixth in his league. Wil Myers, the first baseman for the hometown Padres, had an unbelievable June and is in the conversation.

2nd Baseman– Ben Zobrist, Chicago Cubs

The second baseman selection is a two-horse race between two players that have excelled in new homes. Washington found a gem in Daniel Murphy, who continued the historic postseason surge into this year and is batting .352. In Chicago, Ben Zobrist reunited with manager Joe Maddon and is one of the most valuable players in baseball, bringing versatility with his bat and glove. The two are tied with 2.7 wins above replacement, but Zobrist’s superior defense gives him the edge.

Shortstop– Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

After Colorado rookie Trevor Story cooled off in April, another rookie, the more heralded Corey Seager, took over as the best NL shortstop. Seager is batting .302 with 17 homers and is carrying the whole Los Angeles lineup. For the future NL Rookie of the Year, an All Star bid would be quite the feat.

3rd Baseman– Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

The majors are stacked at third base and in the National League it is between Colorado’s Nolan Arenado and Chicago’s Kris Bryant. Bryant is worth 0.2 more wins above replacement and has two more home runs, but Arenado has four more runs batted in and 14 more points in batting average. Arenado is also the superior defender.

Outfield- Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets

The Mets have found their offensive superstar in Yoenis Cespedes. After signing a mega deal in the offseason, Cespedes has lived up to the hype and gotten better, mashing 20 homers and hitting .294.

Outfield- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper’s MVP campaign last year caught the eyes of all of the other MLB teams and they’ve adapted. Harper’s 64 walks, most in the majors, are the only way teams have been able to stop him. Even without seeing a lot of balls over the plate, the slugger has hit 16 home runs.

Outfield- Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates are off to a slow start, but with the emergence of Starling Marte, the Steel City still has hope. Marte has taken over the reigns of Andrew McCutchen, hitting a .327 average that ranks third in the National League. He also has 3.2 wins above replacement, fifth in his league. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, Miami’s Christian Yelich, and Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall merit consideration.

 

AL Ballot

Catcher– Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

Perez is in a league of his own for catchers in the American League. The leader in batting average among catchers by 20 points and home runs by 2 homers, Perez is continuing his reign as the best in the AL.

1st Baseman– Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

The second Royal on the list, Hosmer edges out Miguel Cabrera for the 1st base honor by a slim margin. Hosmer has come into his own this season, batting over .300 and smacking 44 RBI. His defense also gives him an edge over Cabrera.

2nd Baseman– Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

The forerunner for the AL MVP, Jose Altuve’s statistics this season are downright ridiculous. Altuve’s .348 batting average is 49 points higher than the second-best second baseman, Robinson Cano, and he has also found his power with 13 home runs. Cano has also had a spectacular season.

Shortstop- Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a breakout season last year and has built upon it with a stellar 2016. Bogaerts has hit .345 with 50 RBI and 10 stolen bases, testaments to his all-around prowess.

3rd Baseman– Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson is having another stellar year, so he should be the starter at the hot corner, right? While Donaldson is a justifiable pick, Orioles superstar Manny Machado should earn the spot. The 23-year-old Machado is batting .330 with 18 home runs and is the number one reason that the Orioles, expected to be mediocre, are in the thick of the playoff race.

Outfield– Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

This choice shouldn’t be at all surprising, given Trout has been the best player in the American League for the past five years. Need proof? A .325 batting average with 17 homers and highlight reel defense. He also leads the majors with five wins above replacement.

Outfield- Jackie Bradley, Jr., Boston Red Sox

Jackie Bradley, Jr., once a can’t-miss prospect in the Boston organization but disappointing at the pro level, has finally come into his own as the Red Sox have risen to the top of the American League. Bradley notched a hit in 29 straight games and is 11th in the majors in wins above replacement. Not bad for a player revered for his defense.

Outfield- Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

While Bradley took awhile to shine, his teammate in the outfield, Mookie Betts, has emerged quickly as an MVP candidate. Betts is another offensive stalwart on the stacked Boston lineup and has 54 RBI. Adam Jones, Ian Desmond, and George Springer are also options in the outfield.

Designated Hitter– David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

A fourth Boston slugger! David Ortiz’ final season has the potential to be his finest, as an outstanding first half has positioned him atop the statistical leaderboards and his team at the top of the AL East. Ortiz is third in batting average (.342) and runs batted in for the whole major leagues and leads the majors in slugging percentage by over 80 points.

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