Posted by Steve
Seems I ruffled a few feathers with my Braun All-Star post. Believe it or not though, I don’t actually hate the players on the team I root for. To prove that point, I’m proposing we start a campaign for Prince Fielder to the team. After a great homestand, Prince is in pretty good position and is at least as deserving as Braun—more deserving, in my opinion.
Braun is outslugging Fielder by 35 points, but that doesn’t come close to making up for the 57 points of OBP he’s giving up to Prince. Now they shouldn’t be compared in a vacuum, as first base has the highest offensive expectations of any position, so let’s see how they rank at their position. These are how they rank among players with at least 200 at-bats.
Prince’s ranks among NL first basemen:
Batting Average: 8th (two points away from fifth)
Home Runs: 5th
On-Base Percentage: 5th
Slugging Percentage: 5th (I know I said it’s redundant to use slugging and home runs, but I’m just listing it to list it)
Prince is fourth in the NL in OPS, and one of the guys ahead of him is Albert Pujols. Depending on his health, there’s a chance he’ll either be hurt for the game or choose to pass on the invitation and take the weekend off.
Meanwhile, here’s Braun.
Batting Average: 14th
Home Runs: 1st
On-Base Percentage: 30th
Slugging Percentage: 3rd
Another thing to keep in mind: Last year the NL took four first basemen and seven outfielders. Those are the ranks you want to be in if you want to make the team, and in reality it’s often even lower as players who don’t deserve spots are voted in as starters (see Griffy, Fukudome and Soriano this year for prime examples of that). Prince’s numbers have him solidly in the top five; I’d argue he’s number four right now (again, the injured Pujols is one of the guys ahead of him). It’s impossible for me to say Braun ranks higher than eighth among outfielders, and that’s being generous. I’ve been over my reasons already, so I’ll leave it at that. Given that the game is in Yankee Stadium and will therefore incorporate a DH, that probably makes Fielder even more likely.
So on purely offensive numbers, Fielder is more deserving that Ryan Braun. The reason I’d say Braun could be close is defense. Braun is serviceable in left while Fielder is the worst defensive first baseman in the league.
So let’s just say for the sake of argument that they’re equally deserving. Braun is getting all the hype for the ASG, but have you heard anything about getting Prince in the game? I haven’t. I understand that’s because he’s only come on recently, but that shouldn’t matter, so let’s get going. Mobilize the Prince Parade today! Vote Prince Fielder to the 2008 MLB All-Star game!
Photo from deadspin.com