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

Felipe Melecio uses advanced stats to predict that players who should be in the 2015 MLB All Star Game.

Josh Donaldson, MLB


Major League Baseball has released their first round of voting for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game which will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. The results are sort of mixed as the fans and the stats are not synchronized at the moment. You can check out the National League results here; American League results are here. For the rest of our overviews of each position, check out the following:

Today, we will use Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (or FUBAR for short) to rank the best third basemen in baseball.

FUBAR

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).

As it turns out, you really can’t go wrong with either one:

T-1. Todd Frazier: 990.00 points–Frazier broke out last season and he’s continuing his hitting prowess into 2015.

T-1. Matt Carpenter: 990.00–Carpenter has a whopping eight home runs to go along with 17 doubles as he’s been showing off the power stroke this season for the Cards.

Josh Donaldson represents the American League in this category, meanwhile the rest of the top five is rounded out by Nolan Arenado and rookie phenom, Kris Bryant.

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. Daniel Murphy: 380.00–One of the most underrated and versatile players in all of baseball, Murphy is proving he has the skills at the plate to be relevant at two positions.
  2. Evan Longoria: 310.00–Having a bounce-back season of sorts, Longo’s plate discipline is always an integral part of his game.
  3. Yunel Escobar: 273.33–The veteran infielder has always had an impressive batting eye.
  4. Todd Frazier: 235.00–For those needing a tie-breaker between Frazier and Carpenter, the fact that Frazier’s improved discipline without sacrificing the power might be the deciding factor.
  5. Trevor Plouffe: 225.00–An important reason the Twins have rebounded well after a terrible start to their season.

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.

In order to be a good base runner, you have to get on base, right?

  1. Josh Donaldson: 432.50–As it turns out, Donaldson is pretty good around the base paths as well as coming up with clutch home runs in the ninth inning.
  2. Kris Bryant: 427.50–As it turns out, Bryant not only can hit the ball really far, but he’s also a pretty good base runner.
  3. Manny Machado: 265.00–Good to see Machado up-and-running despite multiple knee surgeries.
  4. Todd Frazier: 247.50–Yet another category where Frazier is in the top five.
  5. Lonnie Chisenhall: 230.00–The former highly-touted prospect can at least run the bases.

All-Offensive

Combining all the offensive components, production, base running, and plate discipline, the following are the best, overall offensive third basemen according to FUBAR:

  1. Todd Frazier: 1472.50
  2. Josh Donaldson: 1319.17
  3. Matt Carpenter: 1305.83
  4. Kris Bryant: 1120.83
  5. Noland Arenado: 722.50

If “feet ball traveled to hit scoreboard” was a stat, Kris Bryant would easily take this category.

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.

Mike Moustakas beats out Adrian Beltre in the American League, but the real treat at the hot corner is Nolan Arenado who seems to have no regard for his body:

Absolutely no regard whatsoever.

All-Star Third Basemen

Putting all these numbers together, we now try to figure out who deserves to be in this year’s All-Star Game:

  1. Todd Frazier: 1705.00 (NL Starter)–The continuing improvements to Frazier’s game is undeniable. He is the closest thing to being the total package at third base this season.
  2. Josh Donaldson: 1506.67 (AL Starter)–Donaldson is proving his breakout seasons in Oakland is no fluke and is one of the more consistent players at this position.
  3. Matt Carpenter: 1305.83 (NL Reserve)–As long as his bat is in the lineup, constantly adjusting his game to match the team’s needs, the Cardinals will always be a contending team.
  4. Nolan Arenado: 1217.50–The Rockies’ third baseman continues to work on his game, but there is no questioning his glove.
  5. Kris Bryant: 1125.83–Only a rookie, but he has the demeanor of a 10-year veteran and his plate appearances are must-see events.
  6. Manny Machado: 899.17 (AL Reserve)–Good to see Machado have a shot at the All-Star game, although it will be an awkward situation when he is coupled with Donaldson.
  7. Mike Moustakas: 882.50–“Moose” is keeping it close for AL Reserve and it’s worth mentioning his changing approach at the plate.

All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through May 26, 2015.

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