Overall, 2013 was an extremely successful year for the Cards. Aside from their World Series appearance and having the most wins in baseball, the Cardinals had a spirit that drove their success on both sides of the ball. Beltran and Yadi produced great numbers and led the NL All Star voting last year. Assuming no major shifts in player ability, the Cardinals could face an uphill battle to maintain a strong offensive presence in the All Star Game.
Of course, there are some nearly automatic winners. Early projections from ESPN last night have Yadi far ahead of Buster Posey of the Giants who was in second both years. Our catcher’s lead has extended from about 400,000 votes July 2, 2013 to almost 600,000 votes counted yesterday. Yadi should walk into the All Star Game without much of a fight from Giants fans.
The rest of the team might struggle.
One blaring issue comes in the outfield. Last year, Holliday was in 5th and lost his starting position by less than 200,000 votes. Carlos Beltran won easily but is a non-factor this year since he was picked up by the New York Yankees. Holliday leads the Redbirds’ outfield in All Star Voting but sits at 11th with only 683,919 votes. For some comparison, Giancarlo Stanton (the red hot slugger on the Marlins) has the final spot with 1,659,430 votes. Stanton also has more home runs than the entire Cardinals outfield… including the backups. The Cards’ sputtering offense, especially from the outfield, could be to blame for the lackluster vote-share.
The only other player in the top five for the Cardinals, in any other position, is Matt Carpenter. Last year, as a second-baseman, Carpenter narrowly lost to Brandon Phillips of the Reds. Though it was a tough pill for Cardinal fans to swallow, Phillips was a formidable opponent and the contest between the two was fun to watch. Carpenter’s loss should have motivated fans to propel him to the All Star Game at third. But, again, it looks like Carpenter will probably miss the All Star Game this year as well. He sits in fifth place among third basemen with only 692,745 votes. He trails some players that he should be beating. Aramis Ramirez, Nolan Arenado, Pablo Sandoval, and David Wright all lead Carpenter. Voting at third base is unenthusiastic at best. If voting stopped yesterday, David Wright would be at the All Star Game with the fewest votes of any other starter. Contrast that to his campaign last year when he beat every single other starter except, of course, Yadi.
With Adams back, there is some optimism that he could make a real push into the top five at first base. The three homeruns over the past three games should help him make a final push with only one month until the All Star Game. Adams’ recovery is impressive and should cause an interesting vote surge against first base leader Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks if the slugger continues his impressive run.