Start with the obvious: There's nothing wrong with being a shameless homer. I like Matt Duffy better than Nolan Arenado. His cat, his attitude, his non-annoying face ... it's the complete package that puts him over the top, really. So if that makes me cast an All-Star vote for Duffy, that's my prerogative. Good for me.
Still, if you're on the fence, wanting to vote for a balanced, deserving All-Star lineup, while wanting to see eight different Giants All-Stars, this will fpanhopefully be a handy guide. Which Giants can you vote for without being a complete, unabashed homer? Let's go through the lineup.
C - Buster Posey
Posey is third in catcher WAR in the National League, behind Jonathan Lucroy (having a fantastic, resurgent season) and Chris Herrmann (not a real person). Lucroy certainly has the kind of track record that, in conjunction with his current hot streak, makes him a viable choice.
However, Posey is Posey is Posey, the once Face of MLB and perennial All-Star. If he's close to the top of a list of NL catchers, he should be the top NL catcher by default because that's his true talent level. He's still the best catcher in the National League. Don't base a decision on two good-not-great months.
Never. You'll never look at a box score from the '67 All-Star Game and say, "UGH, BUT HANK AARON HIT .250 IN THE FIRST HALF THAT YEAR." There's a reason for that. Posey's not at that level yet, but I'm comfortable giving him the superstar benefit of the doubt.
1B - Brandon Belt
It's a relatively down year for first basemen -- Belt's slugging higher than Paul Goldschmidt, for perspective -- so this is going to be the best chance he might ever have. He has one of the highest OBPs in the league, and that's coming in a pitcher's park. He's been good for years, now.
[moons haggard, disheveled Belt War rebels]
The war's over. The bums lost. Condolences.
Kind of, but not really. Rizzo or Goldschmidt are the classic candidates, the obvious stars at their position, but it's not like Belt came out of nowhere. He deserves to sneak in one of these years.
2B - Joe Panik
Love me some Joe Panik. One of my favorites. And he's hit into some poor luck this season, so I'm expecting bigger things. But he's 12th in the NL in WAR for second basemen. Behind Kelby Tomlinson.
Yeaaaaah, probably. But you do you.
SS - Brandon Crawford
Jonathan Villar is off to a fine start. Aledmys Diaz is cooling down, but he was off to a bonkers start. And yet, who is leading all NL shortstops in WAR? This guy. Brandon Crawford's defense makes him a top pick, and he's been the NL's best shortstop for over a year now. Although the NL OPS leader for shortstops is still Ehire Adrianza, so that sure is a sentence I just typed.
Nope. Look into his calm, respectful eyes. You know he deserves it.
3B - Matt Duffy
He's worth a solid win according to Baseball-Reference. That's how good his defense has been. But, uh, yeah.
Oh, baby, yes. Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant look like they're going to be the All-Stars at this position for the next dozen years. Duffy needs to hit the snot out of the ball to be considered. The ball is very, very snuffly right now.
LF - Angel Pagan
Did you know that Adam Duvall is slugging .606? He also has a completely unsustainable 48/6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but I'm happy for the guy. He's also having a better year than Pagan in left, and so is Melvin Upton, Matt Szczur, and Ryan Raburn.
That doesn't mean I'm not happy for the contributions of Pagan this year, but here, I have a comparison for you.
Player A: .275 BA, .338 OBP, .383 SLG, 2 HR, 5 2B, 13 RBI
Player B: .287 BA, .319 OBP, .398 SLG, 2HR, 6 2B, 14 RBI
Player A is Angel Pagan! Player B is Jeff Francoeur.
You betcha! Have fun.
CF - Denard Span
A solid, solid player. Now that he's not super-duper fast anymore, he's the best example of a solid player in the big leagues. Just really solid. A nice, solid player.
Denard Span is solid. What a solid addition. Solid.
Ayup. So vote early and vote often.
RF - Hunter Pence
The defensive stats hate him, but I think he's been fine. If you take park effects into account, he's been one of the best hitting outfielders in the NL. Remember how hot Bryce Harper was at the beginning of the year? His OPS+ is 151. Pence's is 141. That's how consistently excellent Pence has been.
He's also a three-time All Star, including with the Giants in the last even year. People love him. And he should be in the Home Run Derby, for the love of Bonds. Let the dingers fly, you monsters.
Nope. He's one of the better outfielders in the league, and he's having a fantastic season. I get that Stephen Piscotty is out-hitting him, but when have you ever wanted to watch Stephen Piscotty play baseball instead of Hunter Pence?
A Posey, Belt, Crawford, Pence ballot is completely defensible. I'm hoping that Posey and Crawford are voted in, at least, considering the states of their respective positions, with Belt and Pence getting strong consideration from Terry Collins.
It's possible to vote for half of the Giants' starting lineup on an All-Star ballot and make a cogent, not-homer argument why they should be there. That's probably a good hint that that the Giants are in first place, alright.