Is Howie Kendrick An All-Star Game Starter?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim second baseman, Howie Kendrick, is on pace to have the best season of his eight year career. Now, anyone would be happy with the season Kendrick is having when you look at his stats, which we will save for later in the article.

A follower of mine on Twitter today noted that they believed Kendrick should be a starter for the upcoming All-Star game. The follower responded to my tweet about Kendrick being second in batting average in the American League, and fourth in Major League Baseball. Here is the response:

“Yes, and if the All-Star selections weren’t a popularity contest… he should be starting 2B.”

Now, although the follower may have some biased as an Angels fan (noted in their Profile Info), it sparked my curiosity as to if Kendrick truly did have starting All-Star numbers.

Here is what I was able to conclude;

Without looking at the vote count leaders that Major League Baseball seems to love putting out for all of us to see, with no All-Star surprises, I looked at potential All-Stars based strictly on statistics in the American League Division, and found six potential All-Stars at the second base position.

Now, not all six had numbers to be starters, so I had to cut it down to three, and eliminated Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers, Omar Infante of the Detroit Tigers, and Houston Astros second baseman, Jose Altuve. That left me with the three I saw as possible starters, The New York Yankees star and ESPN‘s favorite player, Robinson Cano, Howie Kendrick of the Angels (obviously), and the Boston Red Sox four position man, Dustin Pedroia.

Now I had to break down the statistics, obvious and not so obvious, to see who truly was the best statistical American League second baseman, and the one who truly deserved to be the starter at this year’s All-Star game (all statistics accurate as of 12:00 AM, Sunday, June 16th)

Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

  • .336 batting average
  • 28 runs
  • 35 runs batted in
  • 8 home runs
  • .340 walk-to-strikeout percentage
  • .865 OPS
  • 24.1% of hits going for extra base
  • reaching base 37.7% of plate appearances
  • strikes out every 5.51 at bats

Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox:

  • .319 batting average
  • 46 runs
  • 39 runs batted in
  • 4 home runs
  • 1.02 walk-to-strikeout percentage
  • .837 OPS
  • 27.5% of hits going for extra base
  • reaching base 40.1% of plate appearances
  • strikes out every 7.37 at bats

Robinson Cano, New York Yankees:

  • .278 batting average
  • 35 runs
  • 42 runs batted in
  • 16 home runs
  • .613 walk-to-strikeout percentage
  • .863 OPS
  • 40.5% of hits going for extra base
  • reaching base 35.1% of plate appearances
  • strikes out every 6.04 at bats

Now looking at those, I’ll let you have your opinion as to who the best hitter of the group is yourself. But, I’ll give you these notes as well:

For those qualified, Dustin Pedroia leads or has a tie for the lead in seven of the major statistics, when it comes to American League second basemen (runs, 46 / hits, 87 / doubles, 20 / base on balls, 38 / strikeouts, 37 / stolen bases 10 / on-base percentage, .401). With that said, Robinson Cano only leads four (home runs, 16 / runs batted in, 42 / total bases, 136 / extra base hits, 30), as well as Kendrick only leading four categories (hits, 87 / triples, 2 / batting average, .336 / OPS, .865).

How about the most under looked statistic in all of baseball? Defense! Kendrick is actually dead last in defensive percentage when it comes to qualified American League second basemen at .975%, Cano is third at .993%, and do you want to take a wild guess as to who has the best defensive percentage at second base? Yep, it’s Dustin Pedroia, with a .997%.

So after all is said and done, it seems as if there is an obvious pick as to who should be the American League starting All-Star second baseman. But, that’s always up in the air for argument, so I won’t voice my opinion.

A young professional sports analyst in the Southern California region, Nolan Sieger (@KaoticNolan) had this to say of the All-Star voting:

“The problem with fan voting is the fascination with traditional stats like HR, RBI, and the fact that Cano is a Yankee.”

Here is one thing we all know. There are fifteen names on the All-Star ballot for the American League, and it could easily be any of those players that are the starter in this year’s All-Star game, but to answer the question I brought up in the title of this article… Yes! Howie Kendrick is a strong possibility to be a starter in this year’s All-Star game.

Now it’s your job and mine, as fans, to vote for our favorite players, and the ones we feel deserve to be voted to the All-Star Roster most. I hope this article gave you some insight as to who you feel most deserves YOUR vote.

The 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is exactly one month away. The game will be held at Citi Field in Flushing, New York, home of the New York Mets, on July 16th, 2013.

 

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