Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sure … you can be a homer and vote a straight KC Royals ticket when filling out your MLB All-Star ballot. The puppet masters of America’s great pastime have ensured voters can uphold the traditions of ignorance and blind loyalty that we exercise in the voting booth. (Heck, they’ve even kept it old-school and allow you to vote up to 35 times, just like the good ol’ days of Pendergast!)
Before we venture too far into political punditry (from which baseball is a blessed reprieve), let’s throw out the pitch: Namely, which of our KC Royals players truly deserve to be in the discussion – and worthy of your vote – as representatives of the Mid-Summer Classic?
I don’t have a beef with voting a straight Royals ticket – I’m sure most fans of most other teams do just that. But I’m as much a fan of facts as I am of baseball. What follows are a few data-based thoughts for people who actually have lives and don’t obsess over baseball stats, yet are interested in which Royals players are deserving of their vote. It provides a modicum of erudition (emphasis mine) based on the most common metrics.
I’m purposely refraining from becoming too wonky with the statistics. (Feel free to peruse the basics here.) Suffice it to say I have earnestly tried to account for the most important stats, but I make no claims of being a Sabermetrics expert.
The KC Royals as an organization have become a team with a phenomenal number of remarkably great players. We saw that throughout the second half of last season. That said, your 2015 Royals truly are a case of the sum being even greater than its ridiculously good parts. KC ranks second as a team on offense, with six players ranked in the top 30. The next-closest teams have half that many! Check this out for more about the team’s impressive work with the lumber this year.
That said, being worthy of consideration as an All-Star player isn’t merely about offensive numbers. I’m not alone in arguing that defensive skills are at least half the game. Nonetheless, a player should, I think, be near the top at his position on both sides of the ball to be in the All-Star conversation. It becomes most interesting (and most difficult) to discern “worthiness” when a player dominates in one area but not the other. Or, when players are closely bunched, with one having a slight edge on defense and the other on offense.
Whatever you do: please cast a vote. These guys deserve at least a few minutes of our time. (Note that all numbers were current prior to the games on Friday, May 22.)
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