The game begins roughly at 7 pm CT on FOX. Johnny Cueto is starting for the National League. Chris Sale is starting for the American League. I broke down the talent level for each squad over at FanGraphs. Aledmys Diaz should destroy the American League
A few things about Diaz:
- Diaz has a wRC+ of 141 which ranks second among all shortstops to Manny Machado and first among MLB rookies.
- In the last 25 years, the only rookies to post a wRC+ over 141 over a full season are Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Tim Salmon, Mike Piazza and 27-year-old Jose Abreu.
- Going back 40 years only adds Mitchell Page, David Justice, and Mark McGwire.
- Over the last 100 years, the only rookie shortstops with a wRC+ over 120 are Nomar Garciaparra (122 in 1997), Charlie Hollocher (134 in 1918), Billy Graberkewitz (135 in 1970), and Bobby Grich (135 in 1972).
- Lou Klein holds the Cardinals shortstop rookie record for wRC+ (114) and WAR (6.1), set back in 1943.
- Aledmys Diaz’s 13 homers are already better than the next two rookie shortstops combined in Lou Klein (7) and Tripp Cromer (5 in 1995).
- Diaz’s 22 double are 7 short of the Cardinals shortstop rookie record of 29, set by Charlie Gelbert in 1929.
- Diaz won’t get to Albert Pujols’ Cardinals rookie record of 37 homers, but with 10 more homers, he would surpass Chris Duncan for second on that list.
- Aledmys Diaz might not have made the majors at 21 like Corey Seager or been tearing up the minors like Trevor Story at that age, but Diaz still had a pretty impressive age-21 season by escaping communist Cuba.
Matt Carpenter was originally named an All-Star, but due to an injured oblique, he has to sit this one out. Terry Collins, who was not obligated to do so, picked Aledmys Diaz as his replacement. This is apparently why:
Asked why he picked Aledmys Diaz over Brandon Crawford, Terry Collins told SF Chronicle: "I just wanted to. The guy deserves it." #STLCards— Cardinals Magazine (@CardsMagazine) July 11, 2016
This same strategy led to Bartolo Colon over more deserving players like Carlos Martinez, and the entire process left off Seung Hwan Oh, who is having a great season, but all in all, not too much to complain about. Yadier Molina could not quite muster the fan support necessary to beat out Buster Posey, although Molina’s jersey sales are still through the roof, if that sort of thing interests you.
In any event, enjoy the game and talk about it in the comments.