Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Crawnik All Stars!

Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are in the All Star game!  It had to take an eye popping stat or story for me to come out of blogger hibernation and here it was when I was doing some research as to how good these guys really are.  

Sure, I've been watching them, sure they're gold glove level defenders and yes they've had great offensive seasons so far this year.  BUT Bochy is manager of the NL All Stars by virtue of the Giants being defending World Series Champions.  You can't fault him for a bit of homerism and picking his own guys even if it were to snub other deserving stars.  

Here's the thing.  They don't just deserve to be there.  They deserve to start.
Looking at the guys ahead of them you can make the case that both Crawford and Panik are more deserving All Star Starters.  

At shortstop, the Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta was voted in this year.  Peralta has had a great year, and leads NL shortstops in home runs and 4th in batting average.  But in the all important WAR (wins above replacement) he trails the #1 guy in that category, Brandon Crawford.  

Crawford has had an excellent offensive season (.262 BA, 12 HR, 52 RBI) to go along with his gold glove caliber defense and is actually the league leader in WAR at 2.9 so far this season.  His 52 RBIs leads all shortstops.

But lets not forget his double play partner.  Joe Panik has not even played a full season yet.  He hasn't even played 162 games yet!  But he has a World Series ring and is now in his first All Star game.  But he can't possibly be better than Dee Gordon this year right?  

Dee Gordon has hit .338 so far this year and has an astounding 33 stolen bases.  But Dee Gordon is 4th so far this season in WAR at 2.8.  Panik is 2nd overall and 1st in the NL with 3.4.  A lot of factors can play into this like the fact that Dee Gordon plays for a losing Marlins team, but even if you think Dee Gordon is better than Panik, Gordon is hurt and isn't starting.  

DJ LeMahieu is starting in place of Gordon and he pales in comparison to Panik.  He's hitting pretty well with a .311 BA but only 4 homers to Panik's 7, lower on base percentage, higher strikeout rate, I could go on.  He has the 11th highest WAR for 2nd basemen at 1.8.  

But I think the main point I'm trying to make is not so much that these guys deserve to start in the All Star game which has little or no value.  It's that in this moment, Panik and Crawford make up the best middle infield in all of baseball and it's not even close.  

The metrics both offensively and defensively point to both of these guys as the game's best and we get to enjoy them for a long time to come.  

Oh yeah and Buster Posey and Bumgarner are good too....

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