The MLB All-Star Game starters have been announced. It is always exciting to see who has made the team as a starter since the fans vote in the starters for the All-Star Game. The only problem with the format is that everyone knows the voting for the starters is a popularity contest, and not based on merit for their current season. Why else would Derek Jeter be starting?
That is why Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is starting at second base for the AL. If the starters were based on who has been better with their on-field play, Cano wouldn’t be starting — Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve would.
The All-Star game is always based off of offensive numbers, and Altuve’s are better than Cano’s. Altuve leads Cano and MLB in hits with 121. Cano has just 104. Altuve’s .338 batting average bests Cano’s .323. Cano leads Altuve in home runs and RBIs, but Altuve is crushing Cano in steals, 37-6.
The most decisive of stats, since its rise to popularity, has been the infamous WAR. This stat is the most telling in how valuable a player is to their team based on how many wins they are worth to their team if they had to be replaced by an injury. Altuve has a better WAR rating than Cano, coming in at 2.9 vs the All-Star starter’s at 2.6.
Altuve has hit all over the lineup for the Astros while playing in seven more games and about 50 more innings than Cano to this point in the season. Defensively, it is virtually a tie. Both players have the same number of errors, with Altuve holding a slightly higher fielding percentage. There are no other statistical categories that would put up much of a defense for Cano starting in the All-Star Game.
This is proof that while getting voted in as a starter is great and means the fans love you, it doesn’t mean that it is deserved. The second base position for the AL is a prime example of that.