Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler: Choosing Second Basemen to Start the 2014 All-Star Game

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please.  Starting at second base for the National League All-Star Team this year, number 26, CHAAAAAAA-ssssssseeeee UTTTTT-leeeeeeyyyyyyy!

And at second, for the American League All Stars, number three, EEEEEE-iiiinnnnn KENNNNNSSSSSS-luhhhrrrrrrr!

All joking aside, Chase Utley and Ian Kinsler should represent their leagues as the starting second basemen in this season's MLB All-Star Game because of their superior statistics.

Utley is as close to a no-brainer as you can get as the choice for starting N.L. second baseman.  He leads qualifying major league second basemen in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, and OPS+.  He's also tied for the lead among qualifying MLB second-sackers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), with Kinsler.  

His one weak point might be defense, where he is just sixth among N.L. second baseman in baseball-reference's defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR), but still has a positive dWAR of 0.1.  

The race for starting all-star second baseman in the A.L., on the other hand, is a much closer affair.  

Kinsler is tops among qualifying major league second basemen in dWAR at 0.9, but Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners beats all American League qualifiers in on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging, and OPS+.

To me, though, Kinsler deserves the spot as starting A.L. second baseman because his WAR (again, tied for first among MLB qualifying second baseman) is double that of Cano (2.2 to 1.1).  If Cano had a higher WAR, and even if his WAR were a few points below Kinsler's, I would say that he should start for the A.L. in this year's All-Star Game.

Nonetheless, Utley and Kinsler have the best numbers of second basemen in MLB, and deserve to start the MLB All-Star Game in 2014.

**Note-I got all stats for this post from either or  I made as much effort as I could to ensure the accuracy of the second baseman whose stats I reviewed, but I think those of some players were updated on with Sunday, June 1, stats, while others were not.  Baseball-reference is also not likely to be updated yet.  Nonetheless, given their stats, I don't think a few small changes in statistics of some of the second basemen will make any difference regarding the All-Star Game worthiness of Utley and Kinsler as starters at second base over all other candidates because I don't think the "leader board" for stats among second basemen will be affected significantly due to these changes.

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