Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

luis valbuena cubsIt’s late April, so it totally makes sense that All-Star balloting is open. It was already a bit silly that a player’s season’s-worth of achievement can be decided before half of the season has actually been played, so why not just go the full nine and start picking All-Stars when 80% of the season hasn’t been played? Hell, let’s just start voting on the 2018 All-Star team right now. Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, FTW!

You can check out the ballot here, and cast your votes for Cubs players. It’s very early, but I think Anthony Rizzo is pretty deserving, as is Emilio Bonifacio (who is not on the ballot – you’d have to write him in). I urge votes, however, for Luis Valbuena – who wouldn’t want to see an All-Star-caliber bat flip? Put him in the Home Run Derby and we might just all die from excessive bat flip enjoyment.

(In all seriousness, Valbuena has been great defensively, his .383 OBP would be top 15 in the NL if he qualified, and his 4.6 pitches per plate appearance would be tops in the National League. All-Star? Probably not. But he’s been a valuable piece, overall.)

The stats shown for players on the balloting page include at bats, batting average, home runs, and RBI, which is really a great representation of how well a player has played.

In 1965.

Alas, I’m shouting down a cavernous maw on that one, so I’ll just suggest that, in the future, there may be better ways to evaluate players. Then again, are there really all that many good ways in April?

All that said, the All-Star Game has always been, by definition, a popularity contest, so I don’t really care that there’s voting in April or that the stats on which some meatballs will base their votes are comically limited. The Cubs aren’t very popular right now, and they don’t have many (any?) superstars on the offensive side, so they won’t garner many votes. That’s just the way it is.

If you want to jump into the fray, though, by all means, click yourself silly for the Cubs. Ultimately, the Cubs will get at least one representative, but it’ll probably come from the pitching side and/or the manager’s selections. Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, and possibly also Jason Hammel have all pitched at All-Star levels so far this year.

(Fans can vote up to 25 times, or 35 times if they register for an account. I’m all for promotional exercises, but you’re reading that correctly: the identity of this year’s All-Stars are being decided, in part, based on trying to get new users registered.)

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