COMMENTARY | Forget Yasiel Puig (not really), Hanley Ramirez should be at the center of this All-Star debate. There's a huge debate in the baseball world (well, at least among national writers) whether Puig should be an All-Star, but the more apt question is whether Ramirez should be an All-Star. The numbers say, emphatically, "yes!"
While Puig's arrival coincides with the Los Angeles Dodgers' hot streak, so does Ramirez's return. He's on fire (almost literally) and should join Puig (along with Clayton Kershaw) in New York in 11 days.
Ramirez is hitting like the Ramirez who won the National League batting championship in 2009 as a 25-year-old. His triple slash of .404/.443/.730 is obviously unsustainable, but he's better than the .271/.324/.450 guy he was last season after coming over from the Miami Marlins for right-handed pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
In just 29 games, Ramirez is fourth on the team in wins above replacement at 1.8. The Dodgers are led by a trio of players -- Carl Crawford, A.J. Ellis and Puig -- all of whom have a 1.9 WAR. As a cumulative statistic, that's quite impressive.
Ramirez has more extra base hits (15) than he does strikeouts (12). That's hard to do in the minor leagues, let alone at the highest level of baseball in the world. While Ramirez's defense isn't great, he's been far from a liability at shortstop this season.
But for Ramirez to make the All-Star team now (before replacements are needed), that means one player who has played the entire season would get the shaft.
Colorado Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki owns a more than 1.3 million vote lead over San Francisco Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford (which is laughable in its own right), so he'll be the starter for the NL -- if he's healthy.
Ramirez's WAR ranks him fifth in the NL behind the aforementioned quartet, and he's done it in half the games played.
If the object of the game is to win, because it "counts," then putting the best players -- regardless of time played (within reason, of course). Ramirez and Puig have been two of the best players in the league (and certainly on the Dodgers). Both deserve to represent the league in New York, if the NL wants to win.
Desmond has 39 extra base hits, good for fourth-best in the NL. He also owns an .829 on-base plus slugging percentage, which is impressive for any player, let alone a shortstop.
Segura is fourth in the NL in batting average at .323. He's second in the league in stolen bases at 26 and has shown surprising pop with a .174 isolated power. Oh, and he's a rookie (the Brewers acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Zack Greinke deal last year).
Of the two, I'd go with Segura over Desmond. Segura is the better defender and base runner -- neither of which is particularly important in this game. Also at this rate, Segura might be the lone Brewer representative in New York. There's a case to be made for Carlos Gomez, but the NL outfield is going to be stacked.
The Nationals will have Jordan Zimmerman representing them at the game. Bryce Harper could also get voted in as he's roughly 15,000 votes behind the undeserving Justin Upton of the Atlanta Braves.
The same scenario could play out for Cabrera, who is 13th in baseball in WAR. If Tulowitzki can't go or the Rockies don't want him to play so soon after injury, that should pave the way for Segura, Ramirez and Cabrera as the NL All-Stars at shortstop.
Sorry, Mr. Desmond. No hard feelings. Ramirez, hitting the way he is, should be an All-Star if the true object of the game is to win.
Last year, there were 84 All-Stars in baseball. The initial rosters were set at 68, so there's ample opportunity for players who aren't selected on July 7.
Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Dodger blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.
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