Alternate title: The Problem With All-Star Voting Philosophies. Alternate alternate title: Whither Aaron Hill?
The latest all-star vote tabulations still have the NL 2B position as, well, a one-horse race, with Dan Uggla leading with over 2 million votes. With voting over one week from today, it seems unlikely to change, as BP’s pulling a lackluster 1.2 million votes (Altuve, Infante, and Weeks round out the top 5).
Two weeks ago, this seemed pretty fair. Although there are parties out there who don’t like BP’s flashy style, and many more who think that he may have lost a step in the field, I think most would admit that there’s some defensive advantage from BP over Uggla. And on June 5, for example, Uggla was OPS’ing .876, with BP at .714. You’d have to play one heck of a defense to make up for an offensive gap that wide. In the past two weeks, though, they’ve taken opposite turns – where Uggla has hit a cold streak, dropping his OPS to .818, BP has gotten hot, raising his to .778. A .040 difference in OPS is a horse of a whole different color – you could legitimately believe that BP’s season was just better.
Although, with these samples, I’m quite wary of the defensive and baserunning numbers, for what it’s worth, fangraphs still rates Uggla at 2.5 WAR and Phillips at 2.0 WAR. So, it’s certainly not unfair that Uggla will likely head to the all-star game.
You know what other NL second baseman that fangraphs rates at 2.5 WAR? Aaron Hill. Hill has better hitting numbers at this point than Uggla, and by some metrics, is also fielding better. Hill doesn’t even crack the top 5 in all-star voting. I mean, to be fair, Aaron Hill is not exactly an NL mainstay like Uggla and Phillips are, and there aren’t any Diamondbacks who are doing well in all-star voting, but Hill has been good before, and was an AL All-Star in 2009. He’s not a journeyman nobody having 1/2 a good season.
I guess that’s the confusing thing about all-star voting. It’s so hard to tell what makes you an all-star. Sustained excellence clearly means something. Being on a popular team clearly means something. Winning the world-series the year before means something. But having a hot half-season can also mean a lot, too, or else Melky Cabrera wouldn’t ne leading the outfield voting right now.
And this year, it seems like having a really hot 1/3 of a season can mean something too. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t really have any problem with Dan Uggla going to the all-star game. He’s a good second-baseman having a good year – a bounceback year, which is a nice story. I will say that I absolutely do not understand all-star voting, and probably never will. And honestly, that’s fine.