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For whatever reason, it seems that baseball's All-Star game seems the most engaging of all the major All-Star games. Probably because home-field advantage relies on the outcome, which in itself is the most ridiculous thing that something so big hinges on the play of a bunch of guys on different teams.
But there is something beautiful about the baseball All-Star game. The gang all gets together and visibly has fun, but then actual baseball is played. It isn't like the Pro-Bowl, which has been designated to being shown on CSPAN and is more a destination for Hawaii-minded vacationers than actual NFL players. It also isn't like the NBA All-Star game, which is an exercise in watching 48 minutes of 1 on 5 with a rotating cast of characters.
No, the baseball All-Star game is the most pure. Or, at least, was the most pure. Advanced metrics allows us to put players value and worth under even greater scrutiny now. At the end of the day, the MLB All-Star game, like all All-Star games, is a popularity contest. So, despite the fact Derek Jeter no longer plays, it doesn't seem *too* crazy that he will win the shortstop ballot just because people want to see Derek Jeter play.
In fact, if the voting ended today, five of the nine positions would be helmed by Kansas City Royals players. I don't even need to pull up Fangraphs to know that that doesn't reflect how the players are actually performing at their position. So, in a world (or game) where WAR doesn't mean anything, the starting third basemen for the American League in the 2015 All-Star Game should be Kyle Seager.
I know, but the stats say Seager shouldn't start the game. He is currently the third-most valuable third baseman in the American League. But again, this is a world where WAR holds the value of the Zimbabwean dollar in 2007. Over the past five years, the average WAR rank of each position at mid-season of the American League All-Stars is 3.26 (thanks Jeter for your years of service at bringing that number down).
3.26 is greater than three, where Seager sits now. And if anything, he eventually deserves an actual All-Star nod, instead of his pity replacement nod he got last season when he replaced the injured Edwin Encarnacion. For the record, last season, at midseason, Seager was the best third basemen in the AL.
Since 2012, Seager has been the third-best third baseman in the American League according to WAR (sorry Miguel Cabrera, but you're at first-base now so you don't count). Seager has hit the third-most home runs in since 2012, and sits just one behind second place Josh Donaldson. He has played the most games and stolen the most bases. When the conversation of best third-basemen in the AL comes up, Seager is never at the forefront of the conversation. He is always lurking in the background.
His offensive production is even more impressive when you consider his supporting cast. In 2013, the second best hitter on the team was a half-season of Brad Miller, and in 2012 it was John Jaso.
Adrian Beltre's lineup protection in 2013? Just some home-run mashing shcmuck named Nelson Cruz, and in 2012 it was Josh Hamilton's career year. Josh Donaldson, who has been the best third-baseman over the past three years, has Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes chilling with him in the lineup.
Realistically, Seager probably won't make the All-Star game this season. Mike Moustakas is running away with the vote because Kansas City has been amazing at stuffing the ballot (sure thing, Salvador Perez is the best catcher this year). Josh Donaldson, who by all rights deserves the starting nod, is second in votes. Then Pablo Sandoval (!!!), then Manny Machado and finally Adrian Beltre. There is your top five. Seager is at least one million votes behind in second place.
Seager doesn't deserve to be one million votes behind second place. Seager deserves to be an All-Star, but just happens to unfortunately play a position that also has other very deserving All-Stars. The All-Star game doesn't care about legitimacy, however. It cares about the emotional attachment and story the player provides. For the Mariners, there isn't a player that resonates more positively that doesn't have the last name of Hernandez. In a decade of depression that is now punctuated by the graves of failed can't-miss prospects, No. 82 of the 2009 draft is one of the most dependable players on the Mariners. He is a rare success story on a team that hasn't had many in recent years.
Oh yeah, and if all that isn't enough. Kyle Seager saves babies lives (or at least the lives of babies unfortunately born to Yankee parents).