All Star Game 2014 logo at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
I filled out my first All-Star ballot of the year yesterday. I voted for all Padres.
It felt wrong.
I went back and filled out another one, with the players I think are deserving.
There was no overlap.
Actually, there was, but there shouldn’t have been. I wrote in Seth Smith on both ballots. Is he one of the three most deserving NL outfielders? Probably not, but there was no way I was voting for Yasiel Puig.
On the All-Padres ballot, I left off Will Venable to write in Smith. So my outfielders were Quentin, Denorfia, and Smith. Maybin isn’t listed on the ballot.
The difference between the Padres’ performance this year and the performance of the most deserving players is vast. Like Pacific Ocean vast. Like the distance between stars vast. Like the acting talent level between Robert De Niro and Larry the Cable Guy vast.
The online ballot lists BA, HR, and RBI. Not fair to lead-off hitters, certainly, but that’s what voters see at mlb.com. So let’s pretend we’re not the kind of voters who actually research stats before we vote, and compare the Padres to the best NL players at each position, based on these three data points.
Yonder Alonso .206/4/19
Paul Goldschmidt .299/10/38
Jedd Gyorko .162/5/24
Neil Walker .279/11/34
Everth Cabrera .245/3/11
Troy Tulowitzki .353/15/38
Chase Headley .199/5/19
Nolan Arenado .305/6/28
Yasmani Grandal .190/5/15
Devin Mesoraco .347/9/27
Chris Denorfia .266/1/13
Giancarlo Stanton .308/16/51
Carlos Quentin .278/2/6
Charlie Blackmon .306/10/38
Will Venable .212/1/10
Seth Smith (write-in) .308/6/21
There are no Padres’ hitters having a good year at the plate. None. Smith is hitting well, but with nobody else getting on base, his runs and RBI are not close to All-Star-level. Gyorko is the only Padre on a pace to drive in more than 54 runs. And he’s about to get sent down to Triple-A.
So it looks like it’s up to the pitching staff again. The candidates there are a bit more compelling, but tend to have some drawbacks. Andrew Cashner’s ERA of 2.35 is top 5, but he’s only got two wins and has missed 3-4 starts to injury. Ian Kennedy’s 88 strikeouts puts him in the top 3-4 in the league, but he has a losing record (5-6) overall. And with 20 starters with an ERA under 3.00, his 3.39 isn’t likely to turn many heads.
Street is quite likely to make the team. Six of the last 12 Padres All-Stars have been closers (Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell, and Street), and when a team has few good candidates, managers tend to select good closers. Street is better than good this year, tied for the league lead with 18 saves, and he hasn’t blown a save all year, converting all 18 opportunities. And his 0.75 WHIP is second in the league among pitchers with at least 20 innings. Barring a real meltdown, we can expect to see him in Minneapolis in July.
Ross is also making a pretty compelling case for himself, with a 2.85 ERA (15th), 70 Ks (11th), and six wins (tied for 6th). Not quite at the level of Cueto, Wainwright, Hudson, Greinke, Teheran, and maybe Lohse, but solidly in the mix after that. That would be fun, we haven’t had a starting pitcher at the Midsummer Classic since Jake Peavy and Chris Young made the team in 2007.
If only fans could vote for pitchers. It would be a lot less depressing.