Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has made the 2014 All-Star Game and will play the designated hitter for the National League, but he is the only Marlins player on the roster as of right now. But that does not mean that he will be the only player representing the Fish. Marlins fans have one more chance to get a player in the game, and that is through the Final Vote ballot. Five players were selected as the final potential representative to the All-Star Game, and one of them was Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee.
But four other players are also on the ballot, and we need to examine what are the odds that McGehee is the man for the job. How good are his chances?
The Traditional View
Here is a comparison of the traditional stats of the five players involved.
The argument for McGehee early on was that, in comparison to other third basemen, he had a number of viable statistics worth noting. In particular, the RBI and batting average arguments were critical to his candidacy. Now that he moves to the world of the Final Vote ballot, his traditional numbers look exceedingly ordinary as compared with everyone else. He still leads the five hitters in batting average, but he slips to second in RBIs behind Morneau, and his home run total looks silly compared to everyone else's. This is especially true for a guy who does not contribute offensively in any other fashion.
Rizzo and Upton are your home run leaders, Morneau holds the batting average competition with McGehee and the RBI crown in this comparison. That means Rendon is the lone man out without a traditional Triple Crown category title.
The Advanced Stats
This picture drastically changes the complexion of the race. Rendon here looks like the best player, mostly becaue he has a comparable batting line with the others and plays a premium defensive position and does so well. The two first basemen come off worse, but Morneau's line looks even more questionable because Wins Above Replacement corrects for Coors Field and other park effects.
However, even after correcting for park, McGehee's batting line still comes out as the worst of the group, clocking in at 21 percent better than league average. This is a fantastic number still, but compared to RIzzo's 40 percent or Upton's 36 percent, McGehee rightfully looks a lot worse. Still, thanks to decent third base play, McGehee is within striking distance in terms of WAR, so his candidacy is not out of the ordinary.
It is worth noting here that, in both the traditional and advanced stats, the concept of "rankings" can skew the information provided. McGehee led all of the candidates in batting average and OBP, but his actual numerical advantage is pretty slim in those categories. Listing him as ranked first without that context is misleading, especially when the home run and slugging arguments are then used. He is last in homers and slugging, but that understates how far behind he is in those categories compared to other hitters.
This is better reflected when you use a complete hitting metric like wOBA, but rankings still under- and overstate the standing without the context of the actual difference. Rizzo and Upton are head above the other three candidates (when you consider park effects) in hitting, so the difference between first and second and second and third is huge.
Positional Team Need
If the fans were not voting, perhaps a positional team need perspective would also help guide the decision process. Rendon is the only player capable of playing multiple non-first base positions, as he can play second and third base and has done so this year. If the fans wanted flexibility for the National League team, they could look to him.
The next most flexible player would presumably be Upton, who can play any area of the outfield but is better in the corners. McGehee can play first base, though he has not been asked to do so this season. The first basemen are trapped in their spot.
Based on this information and trying to be as objective as possible, I came up with these likely rankings for the players involved.
1. Anthony Rizzo
2. Anthony Rendon
3. Justin Morneau
4. Casey McGehee
5. Justin Upton
I think fans will see the appeal of batting average prop up McGehee and Morneau, but that Rizzo's home run count and power might steal it. Rendon may get support, but I imagine it would be tough for him to win in a sea of power-hitting first basemen.
Here is where my objective rankings would place them, if I had to vote.
1. Anthony Rendon
2. Anthony Rizzo
3. Justin Upton
4. Casey McGehee
5. Justin Morneau
Morneau is easily the least deserving candidate. Rendon has the best overall performance, but his numbers are low key compared to everyone else. Upton is firmly in the middle for me.
Vote for #HitsMcGehee right now and get our man into the All-Star Game! Even if he is not the best choice, let's mobilize the vote for one of our favorites and get him in the game! Vote for your Final Ballot here!