I generally advocate for a mediocre team’s perceived star to be their All-Star representative. The game is a marketing spectacle, and the league should take advantage of the opportunity to showcase an under-recognized star.
In the case of the San Diego Padres, however, they have an electrifying player that should be their representative instead.
Many believe that Chase Headley is far and away the Padres best player. Coming off a seven-plus WAR season in 2012, he is off to a strong start in 2013. Though it is unlikely he will ever replicate those MVP-caliber numbers, he is surely a superstar and should be regarded accordingly. However, Headley has only played in 46 games thus far, and he has had most of his value come with a small sample of defensive metrics.
The Padres’ All-Star representative should be Everth Cabrera. Cabrera has 26 steals, which is five more than Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate McLouth and 10 more than fourth place. His electrifying speed is game-changing, and he is emerging as a potential star in the league. Cabrera also has rated highly on defensive metrics, albeit in a small sample, and has a very strong wRC+ of 125.
He is one of just a few players on his team with a walk rate above 10 percent, which has given him even more opportunities to steal bases.
The stolen base numbers in baseball are staggering. Through 61 games in 2013, there have been 964 stolen bases in baseball. Through 61 games in 2012, there were 1,189 stolen bases. Cabrera, individually, has more steals than ten different teams. Playing in a sub-optimal run-scoring environment, a stolen base is an exciting play that is all-too-rare in this era.
Cabrera should be placed on the All-Star team to showcase his elite speed and knack for stealing bases.
Gabe Isaacson is a RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.