The 2018 MLB All-Star game is just over a few weeks away and the position players are beginning to solidify their spots as the top vote-getters. On a yearly basis, the fans seems to get it right; even the players from small market teams that are deserving of starting spots over household names tend to find their way into the starting lineup. But this year, there are a couple of glaring holes in the voter’s tallies, none more than the unspeakable lies being forecasted in the American League outfield column. Sure, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout have earned their all-but-solidified nods to start the game. But from there, the current tally becomes a bit convoluted. Enter the Andrew Benintendi conversation.
Benintendi At Six – Are You Kidding Me?
Rounding out the top six vote-getters after Mookie Betts and Mike Trout are Aaron Judge, George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Andrew Benintendi. Yes, you read that correctly.
We have to stop this nonsense and ask ourselves, “What world do we live in where Andrew Benintendi is behind the likes of Michael Brantley and George Springer for a starting spot on this all-star team?”
Let’s take a peek at the stats to try and make sense of this tomfoolery.
Benintendi vs Brantley
As of today, Benny sits 9,105 votes behind Brantley. That measly difference should undoubtedly be eclipsed after comparing these bats studs side-by-side. Benny sports a .290/.374/.519/.892 slash line, coupled with a 2.0 WAR, 13 home runs, 51 runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases. While Brantley has admittedly enjoyed a bit of a renaissance season, he slashes .312/.361/.504/.865, has a 0.7 WAR, 11 home runs, 44 runs batted in, and only 5 thefts.
The batting average favors Brantley, but that’s about it.
There’s plenty of other arguments to be made on behalf of Benintendi against this guy, but I’ll let the stats speak for themselves.
Benintendi vs Springer
The argument in favor of George Springer over Benintendi is also a flawed one. Aside from his stats being less impressive than Benintendi’s numbers almost across the board (.260/.341/.455/.795 slash line, 42 runs batted in, 5 stolen bases), the real secret hides in the at-bats column.
Springer has 319 at-bats, compared with Benintendi’s 297. To put this in context, Benny has ripped 9 more RBIs, nabbed 8 more bases, and batted 30 points higher than Springer in only 19 more at-bats.
You can come at me with Springer’s impressive home run total (15) as evidence for being more deserving of a starting spot nod, but I’m not buying it. When you look at the entire body of work this season thus far, Benintendi takes the cake.
Benintendi vs Judge
Here we go again. It’s the old “Who is better – Andrew Benintendi or Aaron Judge” argument coming to the forefront yet again. Red Sox fans will forever argue that Benintendi should have edged Judge for Rookie of the Year in 2017 because Judge had an abysmal stretch of whiffing at every and any pitch he saw. But Judge won out, partly because of the glamour numbers and partly because he plays in New York.
This time, voters of the baseball world, let’s get it right.
The numbers do slightly favor Judge at this point in the season (.277/.397/.553/.950 slash line, 4.0 WAR, 20 home runs, 52 runs batted in, 4 stolen bases), but Benny should still beat him out for this reason: strikeouts.
I would hope by now that the average baseball fan is aware of Judge’s unbreakable habit of making outs on strikes. But if not, let me enlighten you. The Yankees’ right fielder has struck out 105 time in 282 at-bats this season, a whopping 37% of the time. In comparison, Benny has struck out only 55 times in 297 at-bats, which amounts to 18.5% of the time. In other words, the Boston leftfielder has exactly half the odds of striking out in a given at-bat compared to Judge, with only 15 more at-bats this season.
Let’s Get Real
So you tell me – who is helping their team more? Is it the guy who consistently makes solid contact with the ball and has virtually the same number of runs batted in? Or is it the guy who is a walking strikeout waiting to happen?
The “entire body of work” argument seems to favor Judge in this comparison, but strikeouts per at-bat should hold more weight than any other stat. After all, nothing about a strikeout helps the team in any way.
Voters, it’s time to step up your game. Let’s vote the right guy into the starting spot!