The season just started. The first round of All-Star voting results are coming out. I will never get used to that.
I'm anticipating that this is going to be one of the weirdest All-Star votes in modern Giants history. Because two things are true:
- The Giants have the best record in baseball
- The Giants do not have an obvious All-Star
Madison Bumgarner comes close for the pitchers, but when it comes to the players you can actually vote for right now, there isn't a player who would stand out to the average NL fan as a gotta-vote-for-him-20-times All-Star. Here's a CBS Sports article on a possible ballot. Nary a Giant. Some intrepid and silly soul is updating the current teams as decided by two months of WAR. The Giants get a lone, token representative, Hunter Pence.
Consider that there are three ways to decide All-Stars:
Actually looking for the star players
As in, Buster Posey makes the team over, say, Jonathan Lucroy because Posey is a more recognizable name with a stronger career to this point, even if Lucroy is a huge part over what the Brewers are doing right. This assumes Yadier Molina makes the team as a starter again because Cardinals fans are better than you and you should feel bad.
Except, Posey doesn't feel like an All-Star right now. That ignores his strong start, which isn't fair or logical, but he's in the middle of a nasty, nasty slump. A vote for Posey is a vote for 2010, 2012, and the first half of 2013. Which I'm more than okay with. I prefer looking at a career instead of the first two months when picking an All-Star. If Mike Matheny agrees, Posey is the clear choice for the Giants.
Sometimes, though, managers can't get over the first two months of the season. And if Posey keeps slumping ...
Looking at the first two months of a season
This is a horrible way to live life, son, and it's how you get things like All-Star Kevin Correia. But people do it, so it makes sense to look at it. Here's where the Giants player ranks for each position on the All-Star ballot, according to Baseball-Reference.com's WAR:
C - Buster Posey, 4th
1B - Brandon Belt, 10th
2B - Marco Scutaro, :(
SS - Brandon Crawford, 4th
3B - Pablo Sandoval - 8th
LF - Michael Morse - 8th
CF - Angel Pagan - 7th
RF - Hunter Pence - 4th
Now, most of the voters (and Matheny) don't give a rip about WAR, but the only real divide between WAR and the shiny counting stats might come with Michael Morse. He has a shot at a reserve spot, certainly, but the Giants don't have a pure first-half fluke going right now. It's a very balanced group, which is good for winning. Not so good for All-Star sexy time.
Brandon Hicks's WAR would be good for fourth among second basemen, in case you were wondering.
A mix of the first two methods
This is where Hunter Pence could sneak in for Matheny. He's a familiar name, and he's doing well by traditional and fancy metrics. But he's clearly no better than the third-best right fielder in the league right now, behind Giancarlo Stanton and Yasiel Puig. Even with the expanded All-Star rosters, there are only so many outfield spots, and there are a lot of outfielders having flashier years.
On the pitching side, I'm not sure that Tim Hudson will sneak past anyone now that he's missed time. The competition is always ridiculous for All-Star starting pitchers, and while Hudson would almost certainly be an All-Star with Bochy managing the team, the Giants did not ... lemme check ... no, they did not win the pennant last year.
So here's my early guess as to the 2014 Giants All-Stars:
Neither of them voted in. And there will be much gnashing of teeth, assuming the Giants are still one of the better teams in the NL. And that's if Posey stops slumping and if Bumgarner doesn't have a couple dud starts before Selection Sunday. Because if those don't happen, I'll tell you what you're looking at: Sergio Romo, court-ordered Giants representative. (He has a lot of saves.) I'm still a big Romo fan, but that would be odd.
The good news? This crap doesn't really matter. The Giants are well-balanced and doing well, even with a quarter of their expected lineup on the DL. But it doesn't matter if you use the career-based selection method or the let's-look-at-two-months-hurrr selection method, this isn't a year where the Giants are going to have a lot of All-Stars.
Yet they're in the middle of one of their best starts in decades. Weird.