We are now less than a month away from the 85th Major League Baseball All-Star game, to be held at Target Field in Minneapolis on July 15th. But by doing a quick review of the balloting progress, I’m wondering just how many Tomahawk jerseys will be in attendance. Let’s review by position – today we’ll start with CATCHERS.
Evan Gattis Should Make the Cut
I personally believe that Evan Gattis has earned his All-Star ticket (yes, this will be an shameless sales piece for the White Bear). After a decent start (.270) and slow May (hitting .231), he has now busted out in a big way: .420 average for June – while raising his overall batting average to nearly .300 for the year. He is destroying left-handed pitching (1.205 OPS) and not exactly slouching (.870) vs. RHP, either.
Gattis not only leads the majors in homers (15) among catchers, nobody else is close: Miguel Montero has 10. Evan is second in the majors in WAR (2.4) and first in OPS (.932) at his position… and he doesn’t even have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title! [ By the way: Brian McCann? 0.6 WAR, .634 OPS, and just 7 dingers thus far. ]But the voting isn’t going the Bear’s way right now.
Yadier Molina is running laps over the field, with 2 million votes. Buster Posey is a distant second with 1.4 million. Neither of these players is having a “typical” year by their own standards: Molina 5th in WAR, 9th in OPS; Posey 8th and 7th, respectively. Gattis, to repeat, is 2nd and 1st in those categories.
Molina will certainly get in; Posey will be hard to ignore, given his vote count… despite his relatively poor year.
However: Gattis is currently a distant fourth in the balloting: 774,409 votes.
Gattis Needs You
Could Evan be named as a reserve? Yes – and since the team should carry 3 catchers, that’s entirely possible. But his case would be bolstered if Braves’ fans would push to get him into third place, ahead of Jonathan Lucroy.
That could be a tall order, given that Lucroy has a lead of over 360,000 votes. Additionally, of all the other catchers in the majors, Lucroy is having the best overall year – at least if you believe the WAR numbers: he’s first with 3.1 on the strength of 3 steals, a .397 OBP, and .335 batting average. But Gattis beats him in several offensive categories, including the Runs Created stat: wRC+ is in his favor, 156 to 153.
Hopefully, Gattis will get the nod – he’s the logical choice for a big – huge, even – bench bat late in that game. But All-Star manager Mike Matheny has seen Lucroy a lot. Here’s a time in which Fredi Gonzalez‘ presence on Matheny’s All-Star staff has a chance to influence this selection. We’ll see.
In the meantime: vote for Gattis! Here’s the link to do so. If you choose to do so, then please max out the votes (up to 35).