In the National League, candidates for the Final Vote include San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt, Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb, Pittsburgh outfielder Starling Marte, and Colorado shortstop Trevor Story.
Unlike the American League, the choice in the NL is much more clear: Lamb, in a landslide.
All five finalists have above-average batting averages on balls in play, so it is nearly impossible to discount any performance over the others, however, Lamb stands above the rest in every category that should matter when selecting an all-star, and that includes conventional and advanced stats.
Lamb is batting .292 with a .985 OPS, significantly higher than any of the other eligible players on the final vote ballot.
Lamb’s also the best power hitter, and that stands even with Story in the mix. For example, Lamb’s 19 home runs are tied with Story for most among the quintet, but after you adjust for league and park effects, Lamb creates runs at a rate that is 53 percent higher than the league average (153 wRC+) while Story is barely above average (108 wRC+). In fact, Lamb’s ability to create runs ranks him fifth in the National League behind current all-star nominees Matt Carpenter, Yoenis Cespedes, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rizzo.
According to context-neutral wins (WP/LI), which measures a player’s contributions to his team’s win expectancy, while neutralizing for leverage index so that players don’t get a large bonus by being in high leverage situations more often, Lamb (3.1 WPA/LI) is much more valuable than Belt (1.9 WPA/LI), who ranks second among the five, and the second-most valuable player behind Carpenter (3.3 WPA/LI) in the National League.
If we instead use wins above replacement as a barometer of value, Lamb is tied for fourth among NL hitters. Eight out of the top 10 have already been selected to the represent the NL in the All-Star Game which includes two of the three players behind him on the leader board, Marcell Ozuna (3.3 fWAR) and Bryce Harper (2.9).
“There’s some really good third basemen around the league,” Lamb told FOX sports Arizona. “It’s just cool to be on that list.”