FanPost

Which Cubs deserve to be All Stars

The popular assumption headed into this season was that the Cubs would send one lone All Star rep to Minneapolis in July, and that player probably wouldn't even really deserve the honor. Instead, despite the teams' poor win-loss record, the Cubs have multiple players that are worthy of consideration, even if someone of them will inevitably be snubbed (or, if you prefer, passed over for better players).

Let's start with the three position players that have cases to make:

Anthony Rizzo: Unless he slumps hard over the next few weeks, Rizzo will go into the break as the most deserving position player, and the most likely position player to make the team. It's not a tremendously strong year for first basemen in the NL. Paul Goldschmidt deserves to start, but Rizzo should make the team as a backup. Rizzo is second to Goldschmidt in WAR at the position, and finds himself in the top ten for several other stats. If anyone blocks Rizzo from the team, it will be Adam LaRoche, who is also having an excellent season for Washington.

Luis Valbuena: The Cubs most under-appreciated player sports an excellent OPS+ of 132, with a pretty slash line of .288/.394/.456. He's not hitting homeruns, but his 16 doubles are one behind Nolan Arenado for the most among third basemen (if you consider him a third baseman). And that's in a scant 160 at bats because he's sharing time with Mike Olt and Darwin Barney. Valbuena won't make the team as a third baseman, though his numbers are good enough to be a backup at second base. I remarked earlier this year that having Olt or Valbuena on the All Star ballot was moot because neither would deserve to go. Valbuena, it turns out, is at least moderately deserving.

Starlin Castro: He looked for awhile like he was having a bounce back season. Apparently he bounced too high and hit his head. He's not worthy this year.

As for pitchers, Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija are both top 10 in WAR among pitchers. Samardzija is sixth in ERA; Hammel is eleventh. Both are deserving, but there are a lot of pitchers having similar years. My guess is that Samardzija makes it while Hammel doesn't.

If the Cubs were winning more games and Hector Rondon were racking up more saves, he might need a ticket to Minnesota. But Neil Ramirez has actually been more dominant (in a small sample). I love what they're doing, but they'll have to wait until some future year to be All Stars.

So to review: I would vote for Valbuena to be a second base reserve, and I think Hammel is worthy if unlikely to be picked. I predict Rizzo and Samardzija will be the Cubs' representatives at the game.

Who would you choose?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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