It sounds funny, doesn’t it?
Chase Utley being challenged for the starting job at second base for the National League All Star team?
Up until this year, that was a preposterous thought…but, seemingly out of the woodwork, there has emerged a legitimate contender from the Atlanta Braves in the form of lead-off hitter Martin Prado–who is currently standing in second (though he is far from “nipping at the heels” of the leader) place in voting behind the venerable Utley.
Since Utley (for future reference, the No. 3 batter in the Phillies’ line-up) is, by far, the sexier name here, we’ll use a sort of “blind” system by which to judge the two (though, the stats will make it pretty obvious who is who).
Player A has a slash line of .333/.375/.464 (with that .333 being good enough for second in the National League behind the barely-qualified-for-consideration AndreEthier) with six home runs, 29 RBIs, 47 runs scored, and 31 multi-hit games (13 of three hits or more).
Player A has also collected 18 doubles and a single swipe (to three caught stealings) while putting up a 9.0 UZR/150 in 65 games at second base.
Player B’s slash line looks like this: .260/.376/.461.
B has also collected the third most home runs by a full-time second basemen with 10, 26 RBIs, 41 runs scored, two steals (to one caught stealing), and 12 doubles.
On the defensive side of the ball, UZR/150 gives this player a rating of 16.3 through the 61 games he has played at second base.
By throwing out on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases, we can see how these players separate themselves from one another a bit (even though RBI and RS are close, I think they are each still relevant considering where each of these guys bat in their respective line-ups) …
Player A: .333 AVG/6 HR/29 RBI/47 RS/9.0 UZR/150
Player B: .260 AVG/10 HR/26 RBI/41 RS/16.3 UZR/150
Now…make your pick (preferably, in the poll for the sake of comparison).
Now, the unveiling (though I’m sure Braves and Phillies fans have already figured out who is who).
Player A is Martin Prado.
Player B is leading vote-getter Chase Utley.
Now, my opinion lies a bit on the subjective side since I get to watch Prado play (and collect his 95 current hits) everyday…but I don’t see how Chase Utley can get the nod when name recognition (which is, almost a bit regrettably, a pretty big factor in All Star voting) is thrown out the window.
The way Prado has energized what was an anemic Braves offense before he took over the lead-off spot also throws out the “value to a team’s success” factor that cones into play in some ballots cast.
I’ll grant Utley the fact that he’s been playing hurt…but voting should be based on results (oh, and to potential results…Prado’s BABIP is .366 to Utley’s .264, so Prado has had quite a bit more luck when it comes to “hitting ’em where they ain’t”) on the field.
And, to me (and I feel the stats back me up a bit), Prado has had more of those.
So…what do you think (ignoring the fact that Utley’s more than likely getting the starting nod from the fans)?
Should Utley get the nod for his longevity as one of the premier second basemen in the game?
Or should Prado be the man for the impressive numbers he’s posted thus far in 2010.