Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game will be played on July 9th in Cleveland, and voting to determine the rosters begins soon. With just over one-quarter of the 2019 season in the books, MLB.com writer Will Leitch last week offered his starting lineups for the game. Gary Sanchez was the only Yankee on his lineup card.
I thought it would be fun to research which Yankees have performed among the best in the league at their respective positions, without focusing on whether or not they deserved starting nods. There are 34 roster spots available, so there will be a minimum of two players at each position ultimately named to the team. Based on the stats, six Yankees have great cases if the voting were held today.
Gary Sanchez, C
The Kraken has shaken off any signs of last season’s dreadful slump, and he has done it in a big way. Sanchez leads all MLB catchers with 13 home runs.
In the American League, his .987 OPS leads all catchers who have at least 100 plate appearances. The Kraken’s 26 runs batted in rank second behind Josh Phegley (27), while his 1.3 WAR trails only Mitch Garver (1.6).
Luke Voit, 1B
Among AL first basemen, Voit’s 11 home runs trails only Edwin Encarnacion (13), C.J. Cron (12), and Mitch Moreland (12). His 34 RBI trails only Jose Abreu (38), while his 30 runs scored trails only Encarnacion (35).
Voit also distinguished himself among all MLB hitters — regardless of position — with his 31-game on-base streak to start the 2019 campaign (42 games total dating back to last September). Both were the longest active on-base streaks in the majors when they ended.
Voit’s prowess at the plate remains one of baseball’s top stories this season. If the season ended today, Voit would undoubtedly receive MVP Award consideration.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B
LeMahieu’s 1.3 WAR trails only Brandon Lowe (1.8) and Tommy La Stella (1.4) among AL second basemen. His 51 hits trails only Whit Merrifield (56), his 27 runs scored trails only Merrifield (36), and his 23 RBI trails only Lowe (27), Asdrúbal Cabrera (25), and Jonathan Schoop (25).
After getting off to a hot start at the plate, LeMahieu remains among the league’s batting title contenders. For those who poo-poo this stat, bear in mind that Jose Altuve beat out Aaron Judge in the MVP voting two years ago after leading the league in nothing but batting average.
Gio Urshela, 3B
Urshela is arguably the MVP of the Yankees so far this season. Although he’s about 30 plate appearances shy of officially qualifying for the batting title, his .343 average and .395 on-base percentage lead all AL third basemen. His batting average leads all AL position players among those who have at least 115 plate appearances.
Domingo German, SP
At 8-1, German leads the majors in wins and is second in the AL in winning percentage (.889) among qualifiers behind Charlie Morton (1.000). He’s fifth with a 2.50 ERA behind Spencer Turnbull (2.40), Justin Verlander (2.38), Jake Odorizzi (2.38) and Tyler Glasnow (1.86). German’s 0.95 WHIP trails only Verlander (0.79) and Glasnow (0.91), while his .533 OPS against ranks second in the league behind only Glasnow (.518).
Aroldis Chapman, RP
Chapman’s 12 saves trails only Shane Greene (15) in the AL. His 1.37 FIP ranks third among AL relievers with at least 18 innings pitched behind Ken Giles (1.36) and Ryan Pressly (0.99). Only Matt Barnes (48.6%) has a higher strikeout rate than Chappy’s 40.0%.
Don’t forget, All-Star voting is changing beginning this year. The traditional process whereby fans choose from a ballot of club-nominated players at each position is now considered a “Primary Round.” The top-three vote-getters at each position from that round (top nine for outfielders) will then advance to a special election to determine All-Star Game starters. That baseball-style “Election Day” will take place in late June or early July.
Which Yankees do you think deserve All-Star nods so far? Let us know in the comments section below.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.