The argument does exist that Harper deserves to play in the All-Star Game more than Chipper Jones, but the real argument is that neither of them deserve to play in the game over Bourn or Hill, but that isn’t what people are voting on. This has become a two person race and a decision based on the future vs. the past.
Both Michael Bourn and Aaron Hill were more deserving to be on the NL All-Star team than players that did make it. The argument could be made that Aaron Hill deserves to be the starting NL 2B over Dan Uggla. Hill has a .371 wOBA compared to .334 for Dan Uggla. It isn’t even close except that the fans voted Uggla into the game and at times it is hard to remember Aaron Hill exists, but the stats don’t lie and Hill deserves to be an All-Star much more than Dan Uggla.
Then there is Michael Bourn who currently is second in WAR for NL outfielder to Ryan Braun. Again because of the fan voting there is an outfield spot in the All-Star Game that belongs to a player who has played only 36 games and got voted in based on a good April. There is no reason for Matt Kemp to be in the All-Star game other than the fans voted for him because he was so impressive in April.
The two most deserving players on the final five voting should already be a part of the All-Star game and very well could be as injuries are announced and players pull out for personal reasons. As far as fans are concerned the this isn’t a final five voting, but a final two. It has come down to Bryce Harper vs. Chipper Jones.
If we base this purely on stats like it should be then Chipper comes out a bit ahead in rate stats as his .361 wOBA is higher than Harper’s .356, but that is only one stat. There really is no stat to measure the havoc that Harper can cause on the base paths, but he has stolen home and turned a number of singles into doubles with his aggressiveness on the bases. He has also created scoring opportunities where none should have existed. There is also the fact that Harper has played in 12 additional games and has more than 100 additional plate appearances.
The arguments that people are making though have nothing to do with stats or who deserves it based on merit. If the merit argument is made then no good baseball fan could in good judgment vote for Harper or Chipper over Michael Bourn or Aaron Hill, but that isn’t the way this has gone. It has become a vote of Chipper fading out of baseball and passing the torch to Harper. It is a debate on if the All-Star game should be used to highlight the past or welcome the future.
The argument about highlighting baseball’s past is disingenuous. There wasn’t this type of movement last season to get Pudge into one last All-Star game, and no one is arguing that Jim Thome or Vlad Guerrero should be included in the game. If the argument is that Chipper deserves it based on his career numbers and the fact that he is a future Hall of Famer then don’t both Thome and Guerrero deserve to go. For his career Chipper is hitting .304/.402/.531 compared to .318/.379/.553 for Guerrero and .277/.402/.556 for Thome.
If the All-Star Game is about career averages and historically great players then it shouldn’t be played every season. It should be a once a decade thing with the best players of that past decade coming out and playing.
The All-Star game also isn’t about the future. They have the futures game during All-Star week and last year Harper played in that along with Matt Moore and Jason Kipnis. It would be fun to see Harper in the All-Star Game, but he doesn’t deserve it based on merit, but the All-Star game isn’t based on merit. If it were Mike Napoli, Dan Uggla, and Matt Kemp wouldn’t even be going. As long as fans are voting and they decide they want to see a player because they want to see him then it is up to each individual to decide why they are voting.
The argument does exist that Harper deserves to play in the All-Star Game more than Chipper Jones, but the real argument is that neither of them deserve to play in the game over Bourn or Hill, but that isn’t what people are voting on. If you want to celebrate the future of the game then vote for Harper, but if you want to honor its past then vote for Chipper. Like any vote out there Harper will deserve to be in the All-Star game if the people decide he does.