Per Fangraphs' wins above replacement metric, Jake Peavy has been the second most valuable baseball player in Chicago this season, trailing only teammate Chris Sale.
By the same measure, Bryan LaHair has been the 15th most valuable baseball player in Chicago. Fifteenth!!! He has only the fourth-highest WAR among Cubs position players, and ranks seventh on the team overall. That's right, he is the seventh-best player on a 29-49 team, and the fourth-best position player on a team with the second-lowest number of runs scored in baseball.
My normal reaction to All-Star game voting — and to the game itself, quite honestly — is near total indifference. But this is just stupid.
Sure, LaHair's a cute story. A career minor leaguer finally getting his chance at the age of 29, and making the All-Star team in his first full season, is the stuff of a Disney film. But LaHair isn't having an All-Star season. After his hot start, LaHair currently sports a good-but-not-great .284/.364/.526 slash line. It would be a lot worse if not for an unsustainably high .376 BABIP. It would also be worse if LaHair had to play against left-handed starting pitchers, which he doesn't, because he is a platoon partner with Jeff freaking Baker. How many All-Stars in baseball history would share at-bats with Jeff Baker? How many of the guys on that list, if you could put any names on that list, really deserved to be there?
There is one thing LaHair has in his favor. He's a first baseman, or at least he was before Anthony Rizzo got called up, and the National League is ridiculously weak at first base. Beyond the great Joey Votto, the next most valuable first baseman in the NL is Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, who has a WAR of 2.0. Godschmidt's .292/.367/.540 slash line is only slightly better than LaHair's, and he's hit just 11 home runs to LaHair's 13. Goldschmidt is more deserving than LaHair, as are the Cardinals' Allen Craig and the Nationals' Adam LaRoche, but it's not some huge travesty that LaHair is going instead.
What is — well, I wouldn't call it a travesty, but it's at least a bit unfair — is that LaHair is an All-Star, but guys like Bryce Harper and Aaron Hill are not. We couldn't have tossed Harper a first baseman's glove and hoped he'd catch most of what was thrown at him so one of the most exciting young stars in years could be included?
I think Harper should be an All-Star, but he's only got 1.4 WAR in his abbreviated rookie season, so it's not like he's a real snub. Peavy, who is the eighth most valuable pitcher in all of baseball this season, per Fangraphs WAR, is probably the biggest snub of anyone. Forget his 6-5 record. Please. Per nine innings, he's striking out 8.07 batters, walking 1.92 batters and giving up 0.88 home runs. Those are fantastic numbers. Peavy should definitely be there.