As of June 4th, there wasn’t a single Cubs player in the top five at any position for the 2013 MLB All Star voting, which doesn’t come as a surprise to fans of the team. The All Star voting process is first and foremost a popularity contest, yes, but a lot of time the most popular players are the ones who perform on the field, and the Cubs have certainly had their share of performance issues this season.
However, thanks to the generosity of Major League Baseball and the inability to abolish an old rule, each team must be represented by at least one player, so believe it not, the Cubs will indeed send someone to the All Star game in New York this July. The big question is – who deserves it? Let’s take a look at who best deserves a shot to be the Cubs 2013 Token All Star.
Let’s start with the position players. All players stats are compared to National League players at same position with a minimum of 100 plate appearances, and outfielders are all grouped together. With position players only the offensive stats are being observed as let’s be honest – no one gets elected to the All Star Game with their glove.
Catcher – Wellington Castillo
AVG – .258 (5th), OBP – .306 (7th), SLG – .344 (12th), OPS – .648 (11th), WAR – 1.1 (6th), 2B – 11 (T-3rd), 3B – 0 (T-6th), HR – 1 (T-15th), RBI – 10 (17th), BB – 5 (17th), SO – 42 (5th).
5th in batting average, but also 5th in strikeouts, very low in power, very low in walks.
First base – Anthony Rizzo
AVG – .259 (8th), OBP – .325 (9th), SLG – .491 (4th), OPS – .816 (6th), WAR – 1.2 (4th), 2B – 18 (1st), 3B – 2 (T-1st), HR – 10 (T-2nd), RBI – 39 (5th), SB – 4 (2nd), BB – 19 (T-5th), SO – 46 (6th)
Rizzo’s power is his key attribute, being 4th in slugging, 1st in doubles, 1st in triples, and 2nd in home runs. Unfortunately he’s also decently high in strikeouts with 46 of them so far on the year, which is hurting his overall average and on base percentage.
Second base – Darwin Barney
AVG – .220 (17th), OBP – .302 (14th), SLG – .347 (15th), OPS – .648 (17th), WAR – -0.3 (15th), 2B – 11 (6th), 3B – 1 (T-6th), HR – 2 (T-14th), RBI – 9 (19th), SB – 2 (T-5th), BB – 15 (T-9th), SO – 20 (16th)
Barney had a stint on the disabled list due to a knee injury, but since his return he hasn’t done a lot with his bat. He won the Gold Glove last year, so he has defensive value, but it isn’t any surprise that the Cubs don’t seem to have long-term plans for Barney as a starter.
Short Stop – Starlin Castro
AVG – .253 (9th), OBP – .291 (11th), SLG – .353 (10th), OPS – .644 (10th), WAR – -0.1 (13th), 2B – 13 (T-4th), 3B – 1 (T-7th), HR – 3 (10th), RBI – 21 (T-8th), SB – 3 (5th), BB – 10 (T-13th), SO – 42 (3rd)
Not a lot of production from the short stop of the future (at least until Javy Baez arrives). Way too many strikeouts and a low amount of walks shows poor plate discipline, his speed his only asset being able to leg out doubles when he connects well.
Third base – Luis Valbuena
AVG – .248 (12th), OBP – .365 (T-5th), SLG – .436 (6th), OPS – .801 (5th), WAR – 1.1 (5th), 2B – 7 (T-7th), 3B – 0 (T-6th), HR – 6 (T-5th), RBI – 17 (T-9th), SB – 1 (T-5th), BB – 23 (T-3rd), SO – 31 (10th)
Luis, welcome to being a place holder until the Kris Bryant era. Luis does a good job of drawing walks and being patient at the plate, but he just doesn’t have the kind of power a team expects from the hot corner, and that lack of power translates into easily defensible contact.
AVG – .288 (14th), OBP – .317 (33rd), SLG – .519 (7th), OPS – .836 (14th), WAR – 0.7 (27th), 2B – 15 (T-5th), 3B – 0 (T-33rd), HR – 7 (T-17th), RBI – 23 (T-17th), SB – 4 (T-27th), BB – 6 (T-51st), SO – 24 (46th)
Nate leads the Cubs outfielders in average, slugging, OPS, homers, and has the least amount of strikeouts. His on-base could be higher, but consider that he’s only taken 6 walks, it means he makes a decent amount of contact at the plate. He’s clearly the most well rounded hitter in the group.
AVG – .275 (24th), .OBP – 338 (22nd), SLG – .455 (21st), OPS – .794 (23rd), WAR – 1.8 (14th), 2B – 15 (T-5th), 3B – 1 (T-17th), HR – 5 (T-24th), RBI – 17 (30th), SB – 3 (T-29th), BB – 15 (T-25th), SO – 29 (36th)
David will take a walk, makes steady contact, does a decent job of avoiding strikeouts, and has a moderate amount of power in his stroke but doesn’t have the power nor the speed to stand out.
AVG – .272 (25th), OBP – .307 (38th), SLG – .432 (30th), OPS – .739 (32nd), WAR – 0.7 (30th), 2B – 15 (T-5th), 3B – 0 (T-33rd), HR – 6 (T-20th), RBI – 24 (T-15th), SB – 7 (T-11th), BB – 8 (T-45th), SO – 46 (13th)
How many years do we have left of this guy? Way too many strikeouts, and his power seems to be waning as well. .272 isn’t a terrible average, though low for someone you’re paying as much as the Cubs are paying Soriano to produce.
Position player result – looks like Nate Schierholtz, if any of these guys, would do best by the Cubs by being given a bench spot on the National League squad.
Now let’s look at the Cubs pitchers, starting with – the starters! Minimum 60 innings pitched, National League rankings. Only three Cubs on the roster qualify…
Innings – 72.0 (T-27th), ERA – 2.75 (11th), WHIP – 1.01 (8th), Hits – 49 (1st), Runs – 23 (T-5th), Earned Runs – 22 (T-10th), Walks – 24 (T-32nd), Strikeouts – 50 (T-34th)
Wood is impressive in that he’s given up the least amount of hits in the National League. Would like to see his strikeout numbers increase, and if he could come up with a more consistent out pitch, he could really be trouble for opposing teams.
Innings – 66.2 (T-45th), ERA – 2.84 (14th), WHIP – 1.17 (20th), Hits – 58 (T-10th), Runs – 28 (T-17th), Earned Runs – 21 (T-6th), Walks – 20 (T-19th), Strikeouts – 52 (T-32nd)
Feldman is a solid man in the rotation, ERA under three, nothing really to complain about here, but also not a standout.
Innings – 79.0 (11th), ERA – 2.96 (17th), WHIP – 2.96 (14th), Hits – 59 (T-13th), Runs – 30 (T-20th), Earned Runs – 26 (T-20th), Walks – 28 (T-44th), Strikeouts – 91 (T-2nd)
Samardzija is still figuring it out, because when he gets hit he gets hit hard, but he’s tied for 2nd in the National League in strikeouts and you know if he continues to refine his control he has the stuff to really be an ace.
Out of the starters, the most dependable has been Travis Wood, but you could see Samardjiza getting a bullpen spot in the All Star game simply because of his reputation as a punch out pitcher, and in the All Star game when most guys only go an inning, you’d think Shark would get the nod over Travis.
Relief pitchers – oh boy, do we even want to do this? Admittedly the weakest roster position on the Cubs this season, we sorted relief pitchers by a minimum of 20 innings pitched. Only two Cubs relievers qualified…
Innings – 23.2 (T-47th), ERA – 1.52 (7th), WHIP – 0.89 (8th), Hits – 14 (T-9th), Runs – 4 (T-4th), Earned Runs – 4 (T-5th), Walks – 7 (T-21st), Strikeouts – 22 (T-39th)
Russel is the most reliable man in the Cubs pen, and if he could up his strikeouts, could have a legit shot at being in the closer role.
Innings – 22.1 (T-57th), ERA – 5.64 (67th), WHIP – 1.84 (68th), Hits – 21 (T-29th), Runs – 15 (T-60th), Earned Runs – 14 (T-62nd), Walks – 20 (68th), Strikeouts – 23 (T-31st)
Marmol, as we know, is a disaster. Worst in WHIP, works in walks, near the worst in runs, and doesn’t get the strikeouts that made him so dangerous years ago. Seems like forever since anyone got excited to see Marmol come into a game, doesn’t it?
Out of the two relievers obviously Russel is the only real candidate from the Cubs bullpen.
So our four finalists are OF Nate Schierholtz, SPs Travis Wood & Jeff Samardzija, and RP James Russel.
Out of these, as of today with a month left to go in the All Star voting and a little over a month until the game, we believe the 2013 MLB Cubs Token All Star should go to… Nate Schierholtz.
What do you think Cubs fans, do you agree?