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Ryan Zimmerman's all-star chances

Morning roundup

Ryan Zimmerman deserves to be an all-star, and it would definitely be good for baseball if he plays in Anaheim, Calif. next week. One of the arguments for Stephen Strasburg's inclusion was the benefit of showcasing him. Well, Zimmerman is 25, the reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at third base and the best player a team the commissioner has said he cares deeply about taking root. Casual fans outside Washington still may not realize he is one of the sport's brightest young stars.

Zimmerman might still make the team on the final fan vote, but those chances seem grim. His problem is that the National League left Joey Votto off the initial roster, and Votto deserves to be on the team more than Zimmerman or basically anyone else, including pretty much every player on the all-star team.

It doesn't matter how you evaluate baseball player. Votto is a no-brainer National League all-star. He ranks in the top five in the NL in batting average, home runs, on-base percentage* and slugging percentage. His .984 OPS leads the National League. His 4.0 WAR, the most complete of the advanced stats, is second.

*Josh Willingham, by the way, leads the league with a .413 OBP.

Votto's case has been argued over and over already, and it doesn't need to be anymore. The point is, Votto should already be on the team, but since he is not, he stands in Zimmerman's way.

Votto "narrowly" led Zimmerman in the voting last night at 9, according to MLB.com. So if Votto had been named to the original team - as he so obviously should have been - Zimmerman would presumably be in position to make the team.

David Wright and Scott Rolen both made the team over Zimmerman at third base, and it's hard to argue either choice. Wright is a potential MVP and Rolen is having an incredible offensive season for a contending team. The most complete of the advanced stats says Zimmerman is second only to Wright among NL third baseman - Zimmerman's 3.2 WAR ties him for being the fifth-most valuable player in the entire league.* His breathtaking defense accounts for much of that value.

*Josh Willingham, by the way, has a 3.1 WAR. That's second among outfielders.

Yes, the NL already has two deserving third basemen. This would have been good a year for three third baseman and zero Omar Infantes. Zimmerman will have to overtake Votto to make the team. He shouldn't do that, but he shouldn't have to.

FROM THE POST

Stephen Strasburg is better off not being an all-star, Boz writes.

Roger Bernadina is finding a home in the Nationals outfield, Jorge Castillo says.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 8, Buffalo 6: Seth Bynum, back from a 50-game PED suspension, went 2 for 2 with a home run. Jason Botts went 4 for 5 with a home run. Botts has a 1.341 OPS since June 26. Chase Lambin went 2 for 5 with a home run.

Richmond 5, Harrisburg 1: John Lannan allowed four runs in seven innings on nine hits and a walk. He struck out four and gave up one home run. His ERA in three minor league starts in 4.95.

Potomac 5, Wilmington 0: Brad Peacock pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out four. After the fifth inning, Peacock faced the minimum. He leads the Carolina League with 107 strikeouts.

Hagerstown 9, West Virginia 7: Jeff Koberuns went 2 for 5 with two doubles. J.P. Ramirez went 2 for 4 with a double.

Williamsport 4, Vermont 3: Mark Herrera allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. David Freitas went 2 for 4 with a double.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Stephen Strasburg has been darn good even when not his best, Mark Zuckerman writes.

Capitol Punishment compares Matt Capps and Stephen Strasburg and asks who should be the all-star.

The Nationals Enquirer wants you to Vote Zimmerman.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 6, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
 
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Next: Today's lineup

Comments

"Well, Zimmerman is 25, the reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at third base and the best player a team the commissioner has said he cares deeply about taking root."

"David Wright and Scott Rolen both made the team over Zimmerman at third base, and it's hard to argue either choice. It's also hard to argue either choice."

It may not be so easy a caveman could do it, but if someone's job is basically to inform people I can't believe it would be that hard for him to write sentences that actually make sense to his readers and convey some logical thought. That's incredibly disappointing.

I'm going to get a smoothie.

Posted by: nunof1 | July 6, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Votto and Zimmerman are better than many players on the team already -- Omar Infante, Jose Reyes, to name two -- and neither one should be subjected to this 'final spot' vote. This is ridiculous.

Posted by: raymitten | July 6, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The fans should not be able to vote. And apparently the manager of the team should not be able to vote either - the selection of Infante is just plain stupid and for me, it relegates this game to almost the equivalent of the ridiculousness of the Pro Bowl. Zimmerman and Votto should have been two of the first picks to make the All Star team. This would be like Brooks Robinson not making the team because Al Weiss had a good week in June.

Posted by: AsstGM | July 6, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Wright won the fan vote, it's going to be hard for a long time for a DC player to win the fan voting for his position.

Then players / coaches pick one player for each position, and they chose Rolen. Paraphrasing Adam Kilgore, it's hard to argue this choice. It's also hard to argue this choice.

Here's what did in Zimmerman.
The players vote includes 8 position players, 3 RP's and 5 SP's.
The RP's they picked were Broxton (LAD), Wilson (SFG) and Capps.

Had they not voted in Capps, then Charlie Manuel would have had to name a National. He already had 3 first basemen, so it wouldn't be Dunn. It certainly could have been Zimmerman.

In one weird way, I'd like Zimmerman to beat out Votto, and have Votto stay home.
Because this would be embarrassing to MLB, and would highlight the silly way All Star teams are selected.

And anything that embarrasses Bud Selig and MLB is alright by me.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Amen to taking the All-Star game out of the fans' hands. Go back to the old system--players chosen by the MLB insiders on the basis of merit. There will, no doubt, be problems with that, too. No system is perfect. But the method we're using now is broken (per raymitten and AsstGM's well-made points).

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 6, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey AsstGM, you're kinda way off base with the Al Weiss analogy.

Among NL 3rd basemen:
Wright compared to Zimmerman
Wright has:
higher batting avergage
higher OBP
higher SLG
higher OPS
more runs, more hits, more extra base hiots, more RBI, more SB's.

Rolen compared to Zimmerman
Rolen has:
higher batting average
lowwer OBP
higher SLG
higher OPS
fewer runs
more hits
more extra base hits
more HR's
more RBI

But there are clearly two NL third baseman who had a better first half than he had.

The fans voted Wright, how can you see anything wrong with that? He's had a much better first half than Zim?

Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Wright won the fan vote, it's going to be hard for a long time for a DC player to win the fan voting for his position.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 10:21 AM

Yep - long way to go. I bet Zim finished fourth or fifth in the last player fan voting, just because fans really don't know that much about him and just consider everything related to the Nats (other than Stras) to be garbage.

Oh and Votto hits a lot of home runs at home. I'm just saying is all...

Posted by: Kev29 | July 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I bet Zim finished fourth or fifth in the last player fan voting

Posted by: Kev29 | July 6, 2010 10:39 AM

Edit: "finishes"

Posted by: Kev29 | July 6, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Steven at FJB makes a good point in asking why the second half of the season never seems to count in AS voting. It's arguably the more important half of the year. Sort of like movies getting released in January--by the time they vote on Oscars, no one remembers seeing them.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 6, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Better stir in some bran while you're at it.
********
I'm going to get a smoothie.
Posted by: nunof1 | July 6, 2010 9:53 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 6, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Another unimpressive outing by Lannan. Until he posts some better numbers I don't see him returning anytime soon unless they need a spot starter. Hope the poor results are from trying different things on the way to getting the problem fixed.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 6, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, we're in July--where's the "cavalry" that old snake-oil saleman Stan was telling us about? Detwiler and Lannan seem to be treading water in AA; and mystery surrounds Wang and Marquis. JZimm seems to be recovering nicely, but management, rightly, is not rushing him. It's gonna have to be up to Scottie Olsen to break up the triumvirate of Martin-Atilano-Stammen, which otherwise looks to be pitching us into September (and maybe oblivion too).

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 6, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Sec3mysofa: hee, hee, hee!

Posted by: NatsFly | July 6, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Sunderland's analysis. Zimmerman just hasn't done enough to be worthy of All-Star consideration. Truth is, unless he starts to consistently put up numbers comparable to what Wright has done throughout his career, Zimmerman is going to constantly be in this same situation year after year. And I don't think it's just the New York vs. Washington thing. I'd argue that if everything else was the same but that Wright was doing it for the Nationals and Zimmerman was playing for the Mets, Wright would still be the perennial All-Star as voted on by the fans. Of course Zimmerman didn't help his national exposure any in the two recent FOX Network games - 0 for 8 with 4 strikeouts (all in one game). If he wants to get people around the country talking about him, he needs to take advantage of those network games. He should get more of those opportunities thanks to the Strasburg mania.

Posted by: willypops | July 6, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

You could argue Zimmerman v. Wright all day. Watching them both play on the same field this weekend, to me the choice was obvious -- Wright doesn't have the range or baseball instincts that Zimmerman has. If gets a few more bloop hits than Zimmerman, it doesn't make him a better player. Of course, this comes from watching the game, not just comparing numbers. Brooks Robinson's offensive numbers for any given first half weren't as good as Wright's either -- is Wright a better 3b than the Hall of Famer?

Jose Reyes made the team without a 'fan vote' choice by essentially having a decent four weeks wrapped around periods of complete ineffectiveness and injury. Jose Reyes is the media darling of NYC -- I've never seen a player do so little and get so much positive press. Omar Infante doesn't even start on his own team.

It doesn't have to come down to fan vote, or Zimmerman v. Wright. Infante and Reyes should not be on the team -- Zimmerman and Votto should be. If Guzman could play 3b in the '08 ASG, Zimmerman (or Wright) could fill in at SS.

What's the justification for "Dr. Strange Glove" Ryan Howard over Joey Votto? Ryan Howard does more Subway ads?

Posted by: raymitten | July 6, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Manuel was open and up front that he picked his guy, Ryan Howard, because he could. He also claims the Infante pick was forced on him by MLB, who told him to pick a utility player in case the re-entry rule needed to be invoked.

Basically, the whole All Star selection process is a joke, and the game has become one too. So any so-called Nats fan who is paying attention to the ASG at all needs to just vote Zimmerman and dispense with any of this "impartial analysis" that says he's not better than Wright or Votto or anyone else. The All Star game is nothing but a popularity contest, so treat it as such and vote for your team's guys. You can bet that all the other teams' fans are doing just that.

Posted by: nunof1 | July 6, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

raymitten:

The justification for Ryan Howard over Joey Votto is simnple. Ryan Howard's manager got to add a bunch of players to the roster, and Ryan Howard was one of them. So he can't also pick Votto and have 4 first basemen.
The fans picked Pujols.
The players picked Adrian Gonzalez.
And Manuel picked Howard.

If there's a bone to pick in here, it's the players picking Gonzalez over Votto.
Cause the fans picking Pujols is hard to argue with, and Manuel is certainly picking his own boy (and has earned that right by playing baseball into late October last year).

As for Reyes, it's hard, on one hand, to argue that he is an all star. But on the other hand, who's going to play shortstop for the NL? Tulowitzki is out. Hanley Ramirez is in. Who's the next best shortstop in the NL?

There kinda isn't one. So Manuel picked Reyes. NY bias? From the Phillies manager? I don't think so.

One interesting thing Manuel did was to add speed to the NL roster, Reyes and Bourne.

Did adding Reyes slight any other NL shortstop? Eckstein, Keppinger, Theriot, Drew, Desmond, Cabrera? Nope, no one there was slighted.

So the Reyes selection actually makes sense.

The Omar Infante selection?
Weird. Did this hurt Zimmerman? Maybe.

But when you are the 3rd best 3rd baseman in the NL (statiscally), there's not much room to argue.

You can clamor about fielding, the gold glove, the silver slugger.
In 2007 and 2008 David Wright won both of those awards too.

So you can say there's a NY bias, that Wright's fielding is vastly inferior to Zimmerman's, but that don't make it so.
By the way, Wright has been part of 21 double plays, Zimmerman, with all the Nats groundball pitchers, been part of 11.


Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

nunof1

The most sensible posting of the day, by far.

*****************
Basically, the whole All Star selection process is a joke, and the game has become one too. So any so-called Nats fan who is paying attention to the ASG at all needs to just vote Zimmerman and dispense with any of this "impartial analysis" that says he's not better than Wright or Votto or anyone else. The All Star game is nothing but a popularity contest, so treat it as such and vote for your team's guys. You can bet that all the other teams' fans are doing just that.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Sunderland.

(But what do you whippersnappers have against bran, anyway? :-))

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 6, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Great post Adam. Very though provoking. I'm still voting for Zim though.

Does anyone have a link to an article that gives a comprehensive run down on who was voted in by the fans, who was voted in by the players, who was picked by Manuel (or Girardi) and what positions were dictated by MLB (utility man)? Thanks.

Posted by: Section222 | July 6, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

222, here's the best I got.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/2010-All-Star-rosters-070410

Keep in mind:
1 - Fans vote 8 position players.
2 - Players / coaches vote 8 subs, plus 3 RP's and 5 SP's
3 - Manager and League Office then pick 9 more, where they must make sure they have someone from every team.
4 - Final ballot, online, picks one more player.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 6, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If the All-Star vote were based on skills and range, it would be Zimm hands-down every year. But it isn't based on that with the fan vote, so it's a joke. And so is the selection by Mr. Manuel of Infante to the team.

Posted by: samantha7 | July 6, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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