MLB All Star Position Comparisons
Another quick idea here, thought I’d compare each position in the All Star Game (as in NL players vs. AL players). Just for clarification I will be putting the AL player first and the NL player second. Also, I am not comparing the players overall, but rather their individual seasons. This means a guy like Nick Markakis carries a lot more weight. Unfortunately we don’t know who the starting pitchers are going to be yet, but I think I have a pretty good sense of how that’s going to unfold.
Starting Pitcher: Jacob deGrom vs. Justin Verlander
This might be the hardest comparison out of all the All Stars. Both are pitching at a level reserved for all-time greats, and it would be silly to discount either of their accomplishments. Verlander’s season strikes me as more impactful not only because of his team’s record but because of the poise and dominance he possesses on the mound. 11 K/9 for a starting pitcher?!?! C’mon.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos vs. Willson Contreras
Before his torn ACL in 2016, Ramos was turning into one of the best offensive catchers in the game. Now that he’s healthy, he has put up huge numbers. However, I believe it is more valuable to have a great defensive catcher, and Contreras certainly fits that role. It doesn’t hurt that he can also handle the stick.
First Base: Jose Abreu vs. Freddie Freeman
This is an easy one. Abreu is having his worst season but was voted in due to the lack of great first basemen in the AL this year, and Freeman is continuing to produce at the same level that has made him one of the best for many years. Throw team records into the conversation and Freeman has gone above and beyond.
Second Base: Jose Altuve vs. Javier Baez
He may be 0-8 lifetime in ASGs, but Jose Altuve is the best pure hitter in baseball. I would love to watch a fielding competition between the two, but there’s a reason Altuve is the reigning MVP.
Third Base: Jose Ramirez vs. Nolan Arenado
Arenado at home this season: .373 AVG with a 1.165 OPS. Arenado on the road this season: .253 AVG with an .820 OPS. Clearly Coors Field has helped out Arenado this year, and Ramirez has turned into a perennial MVP candidate in the AL.
Shortstop: Manny Machado vs. Brandon Crawford
Shortstop is another position where I believe defense is more valuable, and a guy who boasts -20 defensive runs saved is not valuable (even if he is the best hitter as his position). Machado should have stayed at third (and he may be forced to come Trade Deadline), and Crawford is easily having his best year ever. And if we take hair into consideration..it’s over.
Outfield: Trout, Judge and Betts vs. Markakis, Kemp and Harper
Why are you doing it by position group now? Didn’t you say you were going to compare positions on each team individually? Well yes, I would if the AL had a left fielder and the NL had a center fielder. I have always loathed how all outfielders are lumped together when it comes to ASG voting, as I believe each position is different and should be voted on separately. Because of the current format, I must only compare the outfielder corps as a whole, and it’s really no contest. Betts or Trout could win MVP any other year in history, and Judge has continued to mash. Markakis and Kemp are having career-resurrecting years, but they don’t have the same star power (oh and Harper is struggling to stay above .200).
No bullpen or bench comps here, feel like I could go a million directions with that stuff (and use a million words in the process). Just know that I am psyched Jed Lowrie finally got in and all it took was Gleyber Torres injuring his hip.
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