April’s Advanced Stat All-Stars

National League

First baseAnthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

Rizzo didn’t have a high batting average in April, but when he did get hits they were productive. He still led all first basemen with a 149 wRC+, narrowly usurping Brandon Belt (146) and Paul Goldschmidt (141). Rizzo also played an above average defense at first base (2 DRS). His ISO of .359 exemplifies the month he has had – when he has hit the ball, he has hit it hard and far.

Second baseDaniel Murphy, Washington Nationals

This battle came down between Murphy and his replacement on the New York Mets, Neil Walker. I value defense and baserunning at the second base position. Murphy, well known for his defensive gaffes in the playoffs last season, has defended well this season. His baserunning has been better than Walker’s (0.6 vs -0.9) which may give him the slightest of an edge. Despite Walker’s nine home runs, Murphy still leads him in OPS (1.013 vs .962).

Third baseNolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

I am not sure if there’s a bigger runaway than Arenado at third. Martin Prado has put together a nice month but with his zero home runs (compared to Arenado’s 10), I can’t have that at my third base position. Plus, Arenado has played amazing defense (7 DRS). Arenado’s numbers jump off the page including a .374 ISO and a 1.036 OPS.

ShortstopAledmys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals

Diaz just made it over the minimum plate appearances to become qualified which puts him over Opening Week darling, Trevor Story. Diaz has the highest wRC+ (213) of anyone in baseball. Although I want defense out of my shortstop position, the offense is impossible to ignore. Diaz hasn’t played horrible defense. Zach Cozart has been exceptional at both the plate and in the field, but I’m still going to give the surprising Diaz the nod. Hopefully Arenado can cover some of Diaz’s ground on the left side of the infield.

CatcherWelington Castillo, Arizona Diamondbacks

This is one of the toughest decisions in all I made. It’s a three horse catcher race in the NL between Yadier Molina, Francisco Cervelli, and Castillo. I ended up choosing Castillo due to his success rate of throwing out baserunners (4 of 13), lack of passed balls (1), and the highest OPS of the three (.899).

Left fieldMichael Conforto, New York Mets

Left field in the National League hasn’t been a great source of power as Conforto’s .676 SLG is the highest by nearly 100 points. This isn’t as quite of a landslide as third base, as Christian Yelich at least throws his hat into the ring with a .471 OBP, but it’s not a particularly close battle.

Center fieldDexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs

Fowler joins his teammate Rizzo on this squad with fantastic numbers of his own. He has been great at the plate (1.087 OPS, 186 wRC+), wonderful in the field (2 DRS), and outstanding on the base paths (1.7 BsR). Yoenis Cespedes’ power (.382) puts him in the race but fielding is so important for a center fielder. Odubel Herrera has been better in the field and his OBP is great (.462)…until you compare it to Fowler’s (.474).

Right fieldBryce Harper, Washington Nationals

If not for Diaz’s ridiculous start, and a bit of a slow finish for Harper, he’d have the highest SLG in the majors. His .714 SLG is still nothing to ignore. Harper has also played a great right field (3 DRS). In other years, Giancarlo Stanton and Gregory Polanco’s numbers would be worthy of an All-Star level but not against the reigning NL MVP.


Lineup

1 – Dexter Fowler (S) – My lineup doesn’t have much speed outside Fowler but that along with his great OBP make him a fantastic leadoff man, just as he has provided for the Cubs this season.

2 – Michael Conforto (L) – Conforto has been moving up the Mets lineup throughout the season as Manager Terry Collins becomes more comfortable with him playing against all pitching. I am going to immediately put Conforto in my most important position. Diaz has the best wRC+ on the club but excuse me if I’m going to go with the proven prospect over the latest find from the Cardinals.

3 – Anthony Rizzo (L) – Rizzo has been an RBI machine and despite a lower OBP than some of the other players on the team, I’d like to get him as many at-bats as possible.

4 – Bryce Harper (L) – I dislike hitting three lefties in a row but my NL lineup is very left-handed heavy. Besides, putting these three in consecutive order is going to wreak havoc no matter who the pitcher is.

5 – Nolan Arenado (R) – Arenado has one of the lowest OBPs on the team but his SLG is too high to put him far down the lineup.

6 – Daniel Murphy (L) – I’ll do some alternating handedness further down the order and hope that Murphy’s .433 OBP is ready to start up the bottom half of the lineup.

7 – Aledmys Diaz (R) – This is basically me admitting I’m not fully believing Diaz, but if his 1.185 OPS can continue, I’ll have a pretty amazing number seven hitter.

8 – Wellington Castillo (R) – Castillo has had a very solid offensive season, but he is here for defense and it’s hard to compare his numbers to the rest of the lineup. He’ll hit eighth and hopefully be able to clean up the bases before the pitcher position.

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