2017 MLB National League Starting First Baseman Review

(Rob Carr / Getty Images North America)

No, no, it’s not Paul Goldschmidt or Joey Votto, the starting first baseman for the National League in this coming 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Miami, Florida at Marlins Park, but it is the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman has been voted to his second ASG.

Along with teammates second baseman Daniel Murphy and left fielder Bryce Harper, Zimmerman will be in the starting lineup against the American League out down south in Miami. His stats have rightly landed him a spot on the NL team, but should he really be starting?

Sure, he’s first among first basemen in batting average, second in all of baseball, at .335, but he’s tied for 8th among his fellow first basemen, 16th in baseball, in homers at a mere 19, and second in first basemen in RBIs behind Arizona Diamondbacks’ 1B Goldschmidt. Zimmerman and Goldy are tied in homers, but Goldy’s had a larger impact because he’s driving in more runs. Goldschmidt’s .436 On-Base Percentage trounces Zimmerman’s .375, too.

Goldschmidt has been better defensively, too! Wins Above Replacement, otherwise known as WAR, is a basic measurement of how important a player is to their team’s success, and it mainly centers around defensive playing. Goldschmidt is fourth in baseball at 4.16, while Zimmerman is so low that he’s not even listed in the top 50, which ends with the Pittsburgh Pirates Josh Harrison at 2.52, with a WAR of only a mere 2.3!

Obviously, it is a real pity that Goldschmidt, who is clearly a far better athlete, is not starting above Zimmerman. They are somewhat evenly matched offensively, you know, at the bat, but there is absolutely no question when it comes to defense. Goldschmidt is much, much more deserving of a starting role in this coming All-Star Game.

In baseball, fans vote on the starting lineups of both the AL and NL rosters, so stats aren’t the only factor is deciding who starts; it’s more the fans’ hearts and allegiances. We all remember Cincinnati’s 2015 ASG when the starting lineup was dominated by overall mediocre Kansas City Royals. What about last year in San Diego, when Red Sox and Cubs dominated their respective leagues’ starting lineups.

Zimmerman’s offensive stats are no small task, that is important to remember, but it is also important to remember how evenly matched he and Goldschmidt were, again, just on offense. The upper hand clearly belongs to Goldschmidt on defense, but nevertheless, congratulations are in order. Congrats, Ryan, on your second all-star appearance!

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