Yesterday, I touched on how Howie Kendrick has been just short phenomenal this season for the Angels. Outside of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, he has been the team’s best hitter. And he’s neck and neck with Trout for having the team’s most beaming smile. But despite all of his fun-tastic qualities (and his now .336/.379/.486 slash line), Howie is still nowhere close to a starting spot on this year’s AL All-Star squad.
It’s not just that Howie’s slash line makes him deserving of an All-Star spot. It’s that he ranks at or near the top among American League (and Major League) second basemen.
Howie Kendrick’s Rankings Among Second Basemen
Hits – 87 (Tied for top spot among all second basemen)
Home Runs – 8 (3rd in AL, 5th in ML)
RBI – 35 (4th in AL, 5th in ML)
Average – .336 (ML leader among second basemen, 4th in all of baseball)
OBP – .379 (2nd in AL, 4th in ML)
SLG% – .486 (2nd in AL, 2nd in ML)
OPS – .865 (1st in AL, 2nd in ML)
OPS+ – 145 (Tops among all second basemen)
bWAR – 2.8 (2nd in AL, 3rd in ML)
All-Star votes – N/A
Why “N/A?” Because Howie isn’t even in the top five of vote getters at his position. Robinson Cano is leading the way with 2.4MM votes, followed by Dustin Pedroia with 1.635MM votes. These three players could be considered interchangeable with regards to the top spot. But I’m biased. And I’m especially biased against the Yankees and Red Sox.
Ian Kinsler is also ahead of Howie, and he just came off of the disabled list. Omar Infante (1.3 bWAR, .733 OPS) is in fourth with 872,000 votes. Jose Altuve (1.0 bWAR, .710 OPS) rounds out the top five with 734,000 votes. So, assuming Howie is sixth on the list, and right behind Altuve, he would still be no closer than 1.67MM votes away from Cano.
When it comes to All-Star games, no one gives a toss about a players defensive value. So Howie having a 0.1 dWAR doesn’t matter. What does matter, is that Howie should be near the top of the voting, but instead is behind players like Infante, Altuve and Kinsler. All three are good players, but none of them have performed like Kendrick has so far this year.
This year’s voting at secondbase should look more like a gladiator battle then an all out romp. Cano, Pedroia and Kendrick should be duking it out like a trio of welterweight boxers. Instead, it’s the same old story. A Yankee or Red Sock is leading the pack by a sizeable margin and can probably phone in the rest of the voting process. This year it’s a Yankee, a Yankee that is also the captain of the AL’s Home Run Derby squad, A Yankee who went zero-for-the-derby last year.
So go, now, and vote for Howie to get a starting spot on the squad. And then, create a new email address and vote again. Get your spouse/parents/friends/dog/cat/hamster to vote. Outside of Mike Trout, he’s the only Angel that deserves the honor. But he needs our help to get there.