All Star Points To Ponder

A couple of random items before we get back to the final instalments of the Best Ever Blue Jays.

The first is reason for hope for Jays fans. A few of whom have been grumbling about a perceived lack of performance from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Which might be reasonable if viewed through the lens of media hype and the assumption that the majors are no different than the minors. However, the two are utterly different and there is a learning curve for even the best of players coming up. Last night, #27 played in his 49th big league game (and had 3 hits plus and RBI against the Yanks). To put his first two months in context, let’s compare him to another good player through their first 40 games. That other player is Mike Trout, who logged exactly 40 games in 2011, just few enough to keep him under the bar so he could come back and win the Rookie of the Year in 2012 – which he did. Guerrero’s 40th game was back on June 14th, so we’ve backdated his stats to that game:

AB H 2B HR RBI B AVG OBP SLUG OPS DIF
Trout 123 27 6 5 16 220 281 390 672 N11
Guerrero 149 40 8 7 18 268 325 467 788 4

Most of the stats are self-explanatory, but I point out that the decimal points are missing (software quirk) and the final column is the difference between the player’s OPS and the league average that year. Trout’s N11 is negative 11… 11% below average.

We can see that Guerrero’s numbers are better in every category. Does that mean he’ll continue to outpace Mike Trout and be an even bigger star than the Angel’s OF down the road? Not necessarily. But it does mean it’s time to shut up with the complaints about Vladimir’s hitting.

*** ***

Give commissioner Rob Manfred one thing. He’s not afraid to tinker with time-honored traditions of the game. Among his many changes have been alterations to the All Star Game.

He’d already eliminated the (relatively recent) incentive of the winning team getting home field advantage in the World Series. This year he’s played around with the voting procedure.

For the first time, there are two separate votes to get to the starting lineups for the AL and NL team – the initial one which has wrapped up now and another round starting tomorrow with fans picking between the top 3 at every position. Fun! (Yawn) Excitement!

If memory serves, last year there was a cap on how many times a fan could vote -35. This year, no such limit has been in place. But a funny thing happened along the way to the All Star ballpark. Fans seemed to give up caring.

Although MLB quickly seemed to edit out the total number of votes received by players, the tallies were out there and they show that so far Cody Bellinger of LA leads with 3.68 million votes. Christian Yelich and Mike Trout are the only others to log 3 million ballots this year. Last year, Jose Altuve led all vote-getters… with 4.85 million. Flip backwards like a bat in time to 2011 and you’ll recall Jose Bautista became the first Blue Jay to lead in votes… with 7.4 million.

I don’t have the time to search out the entire vote results for year, if they are even archived and add them up. But the trend seems clear. Fans can vote more than ever this year. And they are in fact voting less than they have before this decade at least. Methinks paying the players to take part in the rusty Home Run Derby isn’t the way to bring excitement back to the Mid-summer Classic.

Perhaps if fans could vote on who they wanted for MLB Commissioner people would pay attention again.

4 comments

  1. badfinger20

    The fact that Christian Yelich got that many votes is a good thing for baseball playing on the Brewers…but yea the votes aren’t as high as they use to be. The All Star game is the best All Star game in any sport but it used to seem more imporant…a pride thing. Now people will avoid it on purpose.
    I’m glad they took the home field advantage away.

    • Dave

      Gotta respectfully disagree with last point– when WS home advantage was on the line, there was something at stake & it was managed like a real game not a spectacle. But i agree about Yelich being noticed being a real good sign, Mil. being such a small market.

      • badfinger20

        Well my thing is…I think the team should dictate if it has home field advantage. Like Boston did last year.
        I see what you are saying though. There are not many incentives you can place in there because of the money. Pride was the thing before but now it doesn’t matter.

      • Dave

        True.i can see how that WS advantage is a bit unfair since its somewhat outside of the two WS team’s control, but it made for good All Star games that seemed relevent.Plus, with limited interleague play it’s also arbitrary to give home advantage to team with most wins…95 wins in AL might be more of an achievement than 99 in NL (or vice versa)

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