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Major League Baseball teams are posting campaign videos of the players they want their fans to vote for throughout social media. It’s always been said that the All-Star Game is the “fans’ game.” This year, we ask fans to vote responsibly and make informed decisions on who they vote for in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.
Consider this a guide of the players who have made the most noise and impact at the end of one quarter of the 2015 season. Be sure to check out our All-Star catchers.
Once again, we use Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (or FUBAR for short).
FUBAR is a composite score using the most popular, advanced stats available to us. We are looking for position players who have demonstrated the best of the following criteria:
- Offensive Production
- Plate Discipline
- Base Running
Each player gets awarded points for ranking in the top 15 in each statistical category being used to compute FUBAR. So for first basemen, they get awarded 530 points for finishing first in a stat, 460 for finishing second, and so on and so forth.
We use two stats to measure production: Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA–basically, not all hits are created equal) and Isolated Power (ISO–a stat that measures power).
We had mentioned how Los Angeles Dodgers’ slugger, Adrian Gonzalez was off to a roaring start to this season. Well, in a position dominated by power hitters, Gonzalez reigns supreme in this category, having already earned Player of the Month in April:
- Adrian Gonzalez: 1,060.00 points
- Paul Goldschmidt: 855.00–Our number one first baseman in fantasy baseball during spring training, Goldie has held his own this year.
- Mark Teixeira: 760.00–Between Tex and Alex Rodriguez, there’s a bit of a power renaissance for both of these Yankee bombers.
- Anthony Rizzo: 675.00–After a “slow start,” Rizzo has been on a hitting rampage of late.
- Miguel Cabrera: 670.00–Once again, the future hall-of-famer is reminding the baseball world he still belongs among the elite hitters at the premier hitting position.
FUBAR uses three stats to measure discipline at the plate: Walk Percentage (BB%), Strikeout Percentage (K%), and Walk:Strikeout (BB:K), as we attempt to reward those players who have shown the ability to take walks and limit their strikeouts.
Buster Posey has played enough games at this position where he is recognized as a first baseman by fangraphs.com. Because of this fact, Posey not only has the best plate discipline among all catchers, but also among all first basemen:
- Buster Posey: 365.00
- Anthony Rizzo: 321.67
- Carlos Santana: 308.33–The former catcher has settled in at first base, brining with him his much praised plate discipline.
- Mark Teixeira: 283.33
- Yonder Alonso: 203.33–The former Cincinnati Reds’ farmhand has always been know for his patience at the plate.
We use two stats to measure base running: Ultimate Base Running (UBR—a way to quantify the value of a player’s base running skills) and Weighted Stolen Base Runs (wSB–basically, how many runs did a player contribute by stealing runs). For a more detail look at these two stats, click here.
One does not think of Edwin Encarnacion as prolific base runner. Though he won’t attempt to steal many bases, the advanced metrics rate his as a very smart base runner. He edges out Goldschmidt who definitely has the green light to steal bases in Arizona.
- Edwin Encarnacion: 307.50
- Paul Goldschmidt: 305.00
- Anthony Rizzo: 265.00–He already has passed his career mark in steals (eight).
- Albert Pujols: 265.00–He might not turn heads with his thievery, but Pujols ranks as one of the best base running first baseman in baseball.
- Freddie Freeman: 240.00
— Arizona Sports Hub (@SportsHubAZ) May 8, 2015
Best Overall Offensive First Baseman
Combining all the offensive components, production, base running, and plate discipline, the following are the best, overall offensive first basemen according to FUBAR:
- Paul Goldschmidt: 1328.33–This is why he was our number one fantasy baseball first baseman entering this season.
- Anthony Rizzo: 1261.67
- Adrian Gonzalez: 1076.67
- Mark Teixeira: 1043.33
- Miguel Cabrera: 861.67
FUBAR uses two stats to compute for defense: Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). For further explanation on both of these stats, please read our more detailed look on defense.
All-Star First Basemen
Putting all these numbers together, we now try to figure out who deserves to be in this year’s All-Star Game as of mid-May:
- Anthony Rizzo: 1526.67 (NL Starter)–We’ve mentioned before that Rizzo was on his way to becoming the best first basemen in all of baseball (a prediction that has been made here and here). The prophecy has been fulfilled as Rizzo is indeed the best, all-around at his position.
- Paul Goldschmidt: 1368.33 (NL Reserve)
- Adrian Gonzalez: 1116.67–Compared to the first two players on the list, Gonzalez is a one-dimensional player.
- Mark Teixeira: 1083.33 (AL Starter)–Teixeira appears to finally be healthy and fully recovered from his wrist injury.
- Eric Hosmer: 908.33 (AL Reserve)–Hosmer known as a premier defensive player finally has the bat to match his glove.
- Miguel Cabrera: 901.67–A “down” year for Miggy would cost him a bid at the All-Star game, but he’s a sure bet to be voted in by the fans.
- Joey Votto: 706.67–Votto is reminding the baseball world he is still around with his ability to take walks and make plays on the field
- Lucas Duda: 702.50–As mentioned, Duda is the best glove at first, but he’s also a good base runner and provides the power to an up-and-coming New York Mets’ lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 18, 2015
All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through May 16, 2015.
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