Major League Baseball has three scheduled updates for the 2018 All-Star Game fan voting in the National League, and today marks the first. Here’s a quick look at the rest of the schedule, for your brain storage:
- June 11th: NL Update 1
- June 12th: AL Update 1
- June 18th: NL Update 2
- June 19th: AL Update 2
- June 25th: NL Update 3
- June 26th: AL Update 3
And I’m sad to say that, at our first check-in, exactly zero Chicago Cubs are leading the way:
Three @Braves, including NL leading vote-getter @FreddieFreeman5, are among the current NL leaders in the first @CampingWorld MLB All-Star Ballot update. Visit https://t.co/Jd6REEkFYI to vote. #MLBVote pic.twitter.com/kam5L9iFHa
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) June 11, 2018
At first base, Anthony Rizzo is being lapped and then some by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. To be fair, Rizzo got off to an extremely slow start this season and Freeman is routinely one of the most overlooked players in all of baseball, so this one isn’t all that surprising or undeserved. Sure, Rizzo has been phenomenal over the past month or so, but Freeman has already been worth a massive 3.2 WAR, which is the fifth most in baseball. Frankly, he deservers it at this point, and I’m not sure there’s much Rizzo could *realistically* do to catch up.
At second base, however, Javy Baez is within 40K votes of another Brave, Ozzie Albies, and I can see him overcoming this gap, especially if he turns up again. Baez has been slowing down lately, but is still among the top ten in RBI and top 20 in stolen bases. Given Chicago’s love for Baez, I think one hot streak could very easily push him over the top.
Third base … sigh. Kris Bryant’s 144 wRC+ is better than Arenado’s 142 wRC+, but Arenado (2.6 WAR) has been worth a little more WAR than Bryant (2.3 WAR). There was a time earlier this season when Kris Bryant was seemingly on auto-pilot to another MVP candidacy, but he has since cooled off (he’s still fantastic, obviously, but this battle with Arenado isn’t an unfair one). Like Rizzo, I sure hope Bryant gets it, but he’ll have to get back on track in the next couple weeks to really make it no contest.
Addison Russell is not crazy-far out in the shortstop battle, has shown some serious improvements, and is arguably as good of a defensive shortstop of anyone in the NL, but I have hard time seeing him get enough votes to become the starter for the NL this season.
Willson Contreras should probably be the starter at this point, as he leads all MLB catchers in WAR (1.8), offensive production (125 wRC+), and overall defensive value (5.9 DEF), but Posey will always be a threat because of the name recognition.
Also, let’s not skip over this: Willson Contreras is currently *the* best catcher in baseball. That’s fun.
In the outfield, I’m afraid the Cubs’ rotating door and lack of Albert Almora/Ian Happ on the voting list will prevent any starters from the North Side of Chicago. Kyle Schwarber (7th), Ben Zobrist (8th), and Jason Heyward (10th) are all pretty close, but it’s pretty hard to argue with the current three leading the pack.
All in all, then, the Cubs don’t have any clear front-runners right now. I’d say Contreras and Baez might have the best chances, and Rizzo/Bryant are always deserving of some attention, but everyone else has a massive hill to climb.
So, if you’re hoping to see more Cubs in the All-Star Game, hit up the voting.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 11, 2018