All-Star Game Update: Heyward Rises, Contreras Battles, Still No Cubs in the Lead

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All-Star Game Update: Heyward Rises, Contreras Battles, Still No Cubs in the Lead

Chicago Cubs

Major League Baseball has three scheduled updates for the 2018 All-Star Game fan voting in the National League, and today marks the second check-in.

In the first update a week ago (June 11th), the Chicago Cubs lacked any player at the top of a position. Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras were all in second by various degrees of separation, while Addison Russell (3rd), Kyle Schwarber (7th), Ben Zobrist (8th), and Jason Heyward (10th) were all a fair bit further away from earning a starting job in the Mid-Summer Classic.

This time around, pretty much nothing has changed, with one interesting exception:

Rizzo still trails Freddie Freeman, Baez still trails Ozzie Albies, Bryant still trails Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras still trails Buster Posey, but suddenly Jason Heyward has jumped from 10th in the voting with 175,583 votes to 7th in the voting with 447,359 votes.

That means that in the past week alone, Heyward has gained 271K votes, which is pretty good. Now, he, Schwarber, and Zobrist rank 7th, 8th, and 9th in the outfield. Obviously, that’s not quite enough to get them into the top three (I sincerely doubt any of them will make it), but there’s still time. Also, it remains a crime that Albert Almora was not somehow included in this, but I’m trying to move on. You can always write in his name, but shrug. Good luck with that. Perhaps he’ll have a shot later on.

As for the Posey/Contreras battle, well, voters are simply getting it wrong. Contreras has Posey beat on WAR, wRC+, wOBA, and overall Def. And all Posey has on Contreras is DRS and … I don’t know, name-recognition? Don’t get me wrong, I think Posey is great, he’s just not as good as Willson Contreras has been so far this season.

By the same logic though, Nolan Arenado deserves to be leading Kris Bryant. Arenado has Bryant on WAR, wRC+, wOBA, and Def. And almost exactly like the catcher battle, Bryant has Arenado on DRS.

Bryant’s slump came at just the wrong time for All-Star voting reasons, so even as I think Bryant remains the superior overall player, that’s not how it’s played out so far this season. And that’s okay (he tells himself). The Cubs are an extremely talented and deep group. It would be fun to have one or two #1 players, but having almost all of the #2 players creates a more valuable overall squad.

Indeed, the 14.9 WAR produced by Cubs position players ranks second in MLB and first in the National League (the Braves are the next closest and they have 2.5 WAR less!).

So … I suppose we need to either be OK with the moral victory or start breaking out those fax machines and voting. The Cubs didn’t send nearly enough representatives to the All-Star game last year, and I’d rather that didn’t happen again.


Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami