Your All-Star First Baseman Vote Should Be Luis Arraez
The likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ty France, and Anthony Rizzo are the leaders in AL First Basemen All-Star voting. However, Twins utility player Luis Arraez deserves a lot more consideration.
It’s MLB All-Star voting season which means there’s more player vs player discourse, irrational fans stuffing the ballot, and people like me who act like they are above it all! Opinions about the voting process aside, we need to talk about a player who is about to get snubbed.
Luis Arraez is having a career year this season and as of the MLBs last voting total update, he is in 4th place for AL First Basemen.
As I make my case I must say that I come to you with a defeatist attitude. I know it is probably far too late for Arraez to get in at this point. As of the 21st of June, Luis is 138,241 votes behind 3rd place (Rizzo).
As we get to the end of phase 1 voting the top three of Guerrero, France, and Rizzo seem set. As a final gasp of Arraez’s campaign amongst the fans, I present a comparison between him and the top of the field.
Arraez vs Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is at the top of fan voting for AL First Base, amassing nearly one million votes. Blue Jays fans are getting after it this year, nearly fully locking in their 2021 AL MVP runner up for Los Angeles.
There would be no issue if this was the voting party for his season last year, but his follow up this year has not been deserving of this many votes. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be getting any votes, but a landslide for 1st is not justifiable.
In terms of looking at some basic statistics, Guerrero only has Arraez beat in slugging percentage. Not that slugging isn’t important, but Luis has a better batting average and on base percentage.
I will say batting average is not a great stat, but on the MLB’s website the two stats they show for voting are batting average and on base + slugging. Arraez has the better number in both. How about the most popular sabermetric, OPS+? Luis has got a better mark in that as well, boasting a 154 OPS+ to Vladdy’s 139.
It’s not that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doesn’t deserve an all star nod at all. He’s one of the most recognizable names and a top 10 home run hitter in baseball this season.
With the massive gap in votes between first and fourth, maybe the third place vote getter is a better debate to be had on who should advance to phase 2.
Arraez vs Rizzo
Yankees First Basemen Anthony Rizzo is in third place for American League voting at his position. Yankees fans are much larger than Twins fans, so it’s not surprising to see the bigger name on one of the most iconic franchises in professional sports getting more votes.
Yankees fans are allowed to vote for their guy, but if we’re comparing numbers like we did with Vladdy, Arraez is also more deserving.
Luis Arraez has Rizzo beat in many categories, including on base percentage, hits, and OPS+. He also has more wins above replacement and offensive runs above replacement level, if you’re into to those stats. Obviously the main case for Rizzo are stats like RBIs and home runs.
He’s a big bat so it’s a fair case, he’s T-6th in home runs and 9th in RBIs. With Luis not hitting as many home runs as guys like Rizzo there’s a trade off. Arraez’s game is more at the plate, with substantially less strikeouts than Rizzo (20 vs 50) and both players are very close in walks (28 vs 31).
It’s not just all about comparison between the top all-star vote getters, it’s also imperative to make a case for Arraez on the merit of his own game. So here’s an argument for his talents to go to LA and who should join him from the AL.
Luis Arraez is having his best season and his name is becoming more known in baseball circles. He is toward the top of MLB Leaderboards in many major statistics. Those stats would include singles, on base percentage, and OPS+.
Even some other fun stats like at bats per strikeout and offensive winning percentage. He’s having a magical season and a better overall one than Guerrero and Rizzo and he’s almost certain to miss out on the all-star game.
Who should the other all-star player be though? Well that’s easy, it should be Ty France. I could’ve wrote a completely different article on why he should be the first place vote getter for First Basemen in the AL. He’s toward the top of the league in offensive wins above replacement, on base percentage, hits, and many more.
So why not write about Ty? France is most likely going to make the all-star game, he is very comfortable to move onto phase 2 of voting. The reason to campaign for Arraez is strategic voting, he needs a final push. There’s only a handful of days left in all star voting, so please get Luis past phase 1.
It wouldn’t be right to have a spectacular season not be celebrated at the best all star game of the 4 major sports.
(All statistics provided by Baseball Reference).