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Campaign Season: Using FUBAR to Gauge MLB All-Star Shortstop Candidates

Felipe Melecio uses advacned stats to predict MLB All-Star Shortstop Candidates including Zack Cozart, Brandon Crawford and Brad Miller.

MLB

Just like politicians are currently campaigning for the 2016 Presidential race, teams are also going to social media to campaign for their players to receive votes for the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Cincinnati. We now take a look at the shortstop position. Don’t forget to check our previous reviews as well:

FUBAR

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:

  1. Offensive Production
  2. Plate Discipline
  3. Base Running
  4. Fielding

Offensive Production

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).

The answer is yes:

  1. Zack Cozart: 1060.00 points–He went from being one of the most frustrated hitters to watch in baseball to being one of the more consistent hitters so far at shortstop.
  2. Brandon Crawford: 855.00–Known more for his defense, Crawford has shown surprising pop in his bat in 2015.
  3. Brad Miller: 580.00–The forgotten Mariners’ player, Miller finds ways to remain relevant in Seattle’s lineup.
  4. Marcus Semien: 565.00–The Chicago White Sox were more than happy to part with Semien in order to get Jeff Samardzija in the offseason. It turns out, Oakland received the better player in the deal through one-quarter of the season.
  5. Jhonny Peralta: Once again, Peralta is quietly becoming one of the more consistent hitters at this position.

Plate Discipline

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.

  1. Jose Iglesias: 348.33–Currently owns the highest Contact Rate among all shortstops as he displays a great approach at the plate.
  2. Andrelton Simmons: 330.00–Simmons can also post a high Contact Rate as his ability to avoid strikeouts frustrates pitchers.
  3. Alexi Amarista: 291.67–Who? The Padres’ shortstop won’t impress anybody with any of his stats, but there’s no denying his patient approach at the plate.
  4. Elvis Andrus: 281.67–Known more for his speed, Andrus’ pitch selection is very underrated as he rarely ever swings at pitches outside the strike zone.
  5. Freddy Galvis: 280.00–More aggressive than the two previous players, Galvis quick bat makes him one of the tougher hitters to strike out.

Base Running

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.

“Work hard,” and try not to be sent down to the minors, Micah…

  1. Marcus Semien: 495.00–Though White Sox prospect Micah Johnson arguably possessed better speed than Semien, the latter has done a marvelous job on the base paths this season. The White Sox, on the other hand, have struggled mightily in the base running department.
  2. Adeiny Hechavarria: 322.50–He won’t knock you off your feet with his hitting, but once he gets on base, Hechavarria shines brightest.
  3. Elvis Andrus: 265.00–On top of having a marvelous approach at the plate, Andrus can really fly once he gets on base.
  4. Freddy Galvis: 247.50–Has yet to be caught stealing this year.
  5. Jean Segura: 232.50–Has sort of fallen off the map since his breakout 2013 season, but remains relevant here because of his speed.

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:

  1. Zack Cozart: 1135.00–An improved approach at the plate has allowed Cozart to fully utilize his hitting prowess, turning him into the best-hitting shortstop at the moment.
  2. Brandon Crawford: 1125.00–But don’t forget about Crawford either as he is having a career year this season.
  3. Marcus Semien: 1063.33–A change in scenery to Oakland has allowed Semien to flourish at the plate.
  4. Jose Iglesias: 948.33–Known more for covering all nine positions for the Detroit Tigers’ suspect defense, Iglesias has emerged as a surprisingly consistent hitter.
  5. Andrelton Simmons: 780.00–Simmons has the tools to be a high average hitter. A top five showing here might be a step in the right direction for him.

Fielding

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.

In case you didn’t know, Andrelton Simmons really sucks…ground balls like a vacuum.

Apparently, he’s known as Simba down in Braves’ country. And yes, per sabermetrics, his range is ridiculously vast.

He may not look the part, but Tampa Bay Rays’ player, Asdrubal Cabrera is the best defensive shortstop in the American League.

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:

  1. Zack Cozart: 1420.00 (NL Starter)–From liability to stud, Cozart is breaking out in a big way this season.
  2. Andrelton Simmons: 1275.00 (NL Reserve)–An elite player on defense alone, Simmons is showing baby-step improvements on offense.
  3. Brandon Crawford: 1270.00–Just missing out being a reserve on our All-Star list, Crawford definitely deserves to be named to the All-Star team as well.
  4. Jose Iglesias: 1115.83 (AL Starter)–Known more for his glove than bat, Iglesias might not have the counting stats to back him up, but his peripherals and defense should be enough to get him to the All-Star game.
  5. Marcus Semien: 1063.33 (AL Reserve)–Many will point out his struggles on the field, but owning a combination of skill and speed on offense should be enough to earn him a spot in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

Missing the Cut: Galvis, Miller, Peralta, Hechavarria, and Andrus.

Missing from our top 10 is a very familiar name. Troy Tulowitzki is ranked 19th on our shortstop list. He is definitely not having a good time in Colorado at the moment.

All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through May 16, 2015.

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