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2017 MLB All-Star Campaign Season: Second Base and Shortstop

Time is running out on the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game fan vote. We are here to help you decide (assuming you are indeed undecided) which players to vote for. We focused on middle infield today.

TERMS TO KNOW

We will be using Felipe’s Ultimate Baseball Advanced Rankings (or FUBAR for short–a ranking system that utilizes advanced stats almost exclusively).

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  1. First and Third Base
  2. Catchers and Center Fielders
  3. Starting and Relief Pitchers

A lot of stats were used for this exercise. For a more detailed explanation on the methodology for this project, please refer back to our most recently released rankings.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the main categories used in this exercise:

  • Pu-94: This is our fielding metric
  • Hit: Our hitting metric
  • PD: Plate Discipline (rewarding players who draw lots of walks and limit strikeouts)
  • BsR: Our base running metric. Not the same as Fangraphs’ ‘BsR’ metric.
  • Ra-88: The sum of all these parts is labeled here as we add up the fielding, hitting, base running, and plate discipline metrics.Now that you know how this works, let’s take a look at the rankings:

SECOND BASE

2017 MLB All Stars

No surprise whatsoever as to who should start in the American League as Jose Altuve is once again dominating the position. What Altuve lacks in size more than makes up for it in skill as he does a bit of everything to garner points in all of the categories.

As far as a backup to Altuve goes, that race is a bit tighter between Jonathan Schoop and Jed Lowrie. Schoop appears to have benefitted from participating in this year’s World Baseball Classic while Lowrie has once again found the fountain of youth in Oakland. Lowrie is currently hurt, so a slight edge goes to Schoop here.

Over in the National League, Daniel Murphy is once again out-slugging the competition as he continues to produce big numbers for the Washington Nationals.

Backing up Murphy should be Chris Taylor who has come out of nowhere to provide offense for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

DJ LeMahieu rated as the best defensive fielder. Dustin Pedroia rated as the best in the plate discipline department. And Dee Gordon still has the speed to be the best base runner at the position.

SHORTSTOP

2017 MLB All Stars

Any other year, the Dodgers Corey Seager would be a no-brainer here. He has the pedigree, the numbers, and the skill to be the best shortstop in all of baseball. But 2017 has just been a weird season with lots of surprises. One of them being that Seager should probably be a backup for the National League squad this year.

Zack Cozart appears to be fully healthy and has noticeably increased his Swing Percentage numbers and Walk Rate. It has resulted in Cozart being rated as our best hitter. Plus he is once again flashing an elite glove at the position and does enough on the base paths to be noticed in these rankings.

Plus the best part? Cozart will get a donkey if he is voted by the fans to start the game at short. You can’t go wrong if you vote for Cozart!

The American League is loaded at the position. Five players are roughly within six points of each other.

Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros gets the slight edge here as his offense puts him over the top. Plus it doesn’t hurt that he plays on the best team in the AL.

Andrelton Simmons deserves a lot of kudos for improving his overall game. We all know the elite glove, but has held his own offensively, is a very good base runner, and owns the best plate discipline at the position.

Xander Bogaerts is the position’s best base runner. Jose Iglesias tells both Cozart and Simmons that the latter two might get the All-Star recognition, but the gold glove is his to lose.

Data extracted from fangraphs.com on June 27, 2017

Photo Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr C.C. 2.0

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