It’s May 25 today. It’s a lovely day in Chicago, and I’m in class right now on a break. And it crossed my mind that something is going to irritate me to no end soon.
I am fully aware that the ASG is a popularity contest by casual baseball fans who constantly vote for names or teams they recognize rather than the players who deserve to be there because they are actually really good.
But Paul Konerko deserves to be starting at first base. And I will do whatever it takes to get people to vote for him.
I’ll start with the stats that everyone looks at and that MLB allows you to compare when you click on the “Compare Stats” link: average, runs, home runs, RBI and stolen bases.
Paul Konerko is hitting .384 as of this morning. Re-read that number. I’ll wait. The next highest batting average among AL first basemen is Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s batting .294. That’s almost 100 POINTS LESS than Konerko.
But I don’t think Chris Davis is going to be one of the players getting tons of votes (no offense, Orioles fans). No, I feel Konerko will be up against Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Adrian Gonzalez and Albert Pujols.
Fielder is batting .286, Teixeira is batting .226, Gonzalez is batting .269, and Pujols is batting .225. Konerko is batting over 100 points better than all of these players, and I know that he’s not going to be the starter for the AL because causal fans are going to make it a battle among those four guys and not Konerko.
Well, maybe (if they’re smart), they’ll exclude Pujols who has been thrown into the media spotlight for being really awful on the Angels despite being incredibly good on the Cardinals.
Home runs, runs and RBI
Konerko has ten home runs so far this season. Fielder has seven, and he and Mitch Moreland are the closest to Konerko among AL first basemen. Konerko has 27 RBI on the season, and the closest player to that mark is Fielder. Paulie has also scored 26 runs, and Fielder trails him by one run scored.
Konerko leads the AL first basemen in every category except stolen bases because we all know Paul Konerko cannot steal a base. It’s as rare as Konerko hitting a triple. These things rarely occur in nature, and it’s an accepted fact. But that’s OK because stolen bases is a useless stat for a first baseman more often than not.
Konerko leads the American League in average and on-base percentage. He trails Josh Hamilton in slugging and OPS. But not by much. Hamilton is slugging .758 while Konerko is slugging .649, and Hamilton’s OPS is 1.187 while Konerko’s is 1.111.
Let’s go with overall MLB. He’s second in average and OBP behind David Wright, third in slugging behind Hamilton and Matt Kemp, and fourth in OPS behind Hamilton, Kemp, and Wright.
Paulie is on fire. Check out his numbers in this piece Jim Margalus wrote over at South Side Sox. He’s been phenomenal this season, and I’m afraid that this monster first half will be overlooked by ASG voters because he’s not this superstar that is being paraded around the Interwebs.
The All-Star Game is a popularity contest. Which is fine for the NFL, NHL and NBA. Because their All-Star Games don’t count for anything. It’s just a time for them to shine because they’re good at their sport. However, MLB’s game counts for something. It gives a league home field advantage for the World Series. (Which I still think is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, but that’s another topic for another day.) I know starters don’t stay in for the entirety of the game, but they are in there for quite a while unless they are having an extremely awful game. Why should fans be subjected to players who can’t hit their way out of a paper bag so far this season when there are plenty of players who can hit themselves out of that bag and THEN go hit those bad-hitting players out of their paper bags?
Paul Konerko is having a season more than worthy of an All-Star start. It’s up to the fans to tell people about this monster season and get him that start.