Rosters for the 85th MLB All-Star Game were announced on Sunday, and two Colorado Rockies were named to the NL team. Congrats to Troy Tulowitzki and Charlie Blackmon, but one of their fellow teammates was left off the roster… For now. Justin Morneau has been one of the best players in the league in the first half, not just best first baseman. But it's OK that he was left off, because he is part of the Final Vote and can be the last man on the team. But only if you vote for Morneau many, many times. Here's why you should.
The Numbers — Justin Morneau, in his first half-season with the Rockies, has certainly put up All-Star numbers. He has a slash line of .316/.346/.518, 13 home runs and 59 runs batted in. The average and slugging are both good for sixth best in the National League, the HR tied for sixteenth and the RBI have him in second place behind only Giancarlo Stanton. Maybe most impressively is his number of strikeouts. He's been fanned only 37 times, which is third fewest for batters who have at least 300 at bats.
Don't think he's only effective with the bat, though, he's also a terrific defensive first baseman. Besides the magnificent picks he routinely makes to save other guys from committing errors, he only has three errors on the season himself. Morneau also posesses the highest range factor among National League first baseman — meaning he has more opportunities per game to make an error — and again, only three. Baseball-Reference has a fielding statistic that measures how many runs above average a fielder is, and Morneau is worth eight, tied with Gold Glove winner Adrian Gonzalez for best among first basemen. Morneau's got the goods with the lumber AND the leather.
The Story — The story might be just as a compelling piece of evidence to Justin Morneau's All-Star worthiness as his stats. After spending the better part of 11 years in Minnesota, it would be an emotional scene to see him return to Target Field for the All-Star Game. It might not matter on the field, but sending him back as a conquering hero in a Colorado Rockies jersey instead of the Twins jersey he wore for so long would be a validation of his decision to sign with the Rox and their decision to bring him on.
Whether you vote for him because of the numbers or the story, make sure you do indeed vote. The lack of national coverage of the Rockies will hurt his case, as will the poor record, but a more deserving player isn't in the Final Vote. Vote Morneau.
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