MLB released the first look at voting for this year's All-Star Game in Minneapolis, and some of the early balloting is as expected.
First, it's no surprise that Chase Utley is leading at second base, and is the NL's fourth leading votegetter overall. With 509,390 votes, Utley is behind only Troy Tulowitzki (745,823), Yadier Molina (640,464), and Charlie Blackmon (549,394).
It's also not surprising that there are no Phillies representatives at first or third base, or the outfield, or even catcher, although one could argue that Chooch should be getting support.
But the one real surprise is that Jimmy Rollins isn't among the top five vote getters at shortstop:
Tulowitzki is having a phenomenal year to date and should clearly be the NL's starting shortstop on July 15th, but Rollins is near the top in every key category:
- 2nd only to Tulo in OBP (.356)
- 2nd only to Tulo in OPS (.779), tied with Hanley Ramirez
- 2nd only to Tulo in wOBA (.346)
- 3rd in wRC+ (118), behind Tulo and HanRam (122)
- 4th in fielding (UZR)
The bottom line is that he's been the second best shortstop in the NL overall, by fangraphs WAR.
Here's hoping that voters around the league notice the kind of year he's having, and obviously that Phillies fans give him the support he deserves as well.
Which brings the topic to a local radio host, who we won't embarrass by name, but let's call him Airhead from Philly. Mr. Airhead has these pearls of wisdom as a regular part of his shtick:
1. That Ruben Amaro bid against himself in signing Rollins
2. That he overpaid in signing him
Recently he has grudgingly been adding that Rollins has been "relatively effective."
First, Amaro did not bid against himself:
The Brewers made a sincere offer, but it was going to take a boatload to sway Rollins to leave Philadelphia for Milwaukee.
Secondly, he did not overpay. The options at short were not great at the time, and that reality was driven home in the early going this year as one of those options, Freddy Galvis, struggled mightily. Rollins signed for three years, plus a fourth that will likely vest, for a total of $44 million. After 2 1/3 years, he has already been worth $38.9 million, according to fangraphs' estimates of what teams have paid on the free agent market for equivalent production.
Finally, "relatively effective"? No. Marlon Byrd has been relatively effective. Carlos Ruiz has been relatively effective.
Jimmy Rollins has been the best shortstop on the planet who is not named Tulo or having a career year in a ridiculously hitter-friendly environment.
So let's embrace the excellent year he is having, and send him to Minneapolis in July (ballot).