San Diego Padres’ second baseman Jake Cronenworth surely has the statistics to be the starter for the N.L. in this season’s All-Star game.
On Sunday, the top three position players, in terms of fan votes, advanced to the next round of the MLB All-Star Game (ASG) voting.
Due to the fact that there is a large number of fans who purely vote for the players on their team, the larger fan bases always see more players making the ASG. Jake Cronenworth finished fourth among NL’s second baseman, while Ozzie Albies, Adam Frazier, and Gavin Lux all received more votes than him.
Cronenworth is at 3.4 WAR, which is the best among all NL second basemen. Albies and Lux are both 1.5 WAR behind Cronenworth, while Frazier is having a career-best season, and he’s the only NL second baseman on the same offensive level as Cronenworth.
On pure face value, Cronenworth is having a great season at the plate. He’s slashing .287/.358/.474, he’s gone deep 12 times, and he’s a high contact player, striking out nine percent less than the average player. This is made more impressive by the fact that he’s still hitting more home runs than the average player, something that usually leads to higher strikeout rates.
Cronenworth has earned a 137 OPS+, which is a park-adjusted stat in which the league average is 100. Frazier is the only NL second baseman with a better OPS+ than Cronenworth. At the same time, Albies finds himself just above league average at 113, and Lux is a below-average hitter with just an 89 OPS+.
Jake Cronenworth’s offensive WAR is higher than any other NL second baseman, mainly due to the fact he’s hit 12 home runs to Frazier’s four. On Monday, Cronenworth became the NL player of the week after hitting .391 with four home runs in just six games. The offensive explosion highlighted what’s been a stellar first half from the Padres second baseman.
Defensively, Cronenworth is one of the NL’s top second baseman. The leading case for the Dodgers’ Gavin Lux is that he’s sporting a 0.9 defensive WAR this season, good enough for tenth in the MLB. However, Cronenworth is not much farther behind, at a very impressive 0.7 defensive WAR. The only other NL second baseman who’s better defensively is Ryan McMahon, who’s struggled offensively this season. Both Albies and Frazier are at or below league average defensively. Cronenworth showed his versatility by playing at first base and shortstop this season.
On the other hand, Albies is yet to play a game not at second base, while Frazier appeared in just five games in left field. Lux actually played the majority of his games at shortstop, which is part of why he has a higher defensive WAR than Cronenworth. Shortstop is a more difficult position defensively, so Lux is given more credit for his performances at his position.
The good news for Cronenworth is that there’s still the opportunity to make the ASG as a reserve. It’s been a stellar season for him, one that absolutely deserves an ASG appearance and probably a start. However, he didn’t. He has 82 games to show America how wrong they were.