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Why Chirinos deserves your All-Star Game Vote

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With a surprisingly good year both offensively and defensively, we take a look at Chirinos’ case for the ASG

Astros twitter

A few days ago, I wrote an article on the All-Stros game , and where I believed our guys would rank in the voting and their chances of making the All Star Game. Yesterday, the Astros tweeted out the current standings of our team:

All of these were pretty in line with where I thought they would rank, other than Yuli being a bit higher than I expected.

2019 is a little different than the past, where there are 2 rounds of voting for the All-Star game, the first round is basically who qualifies and limits the field. That’s the stage we’re currently in, and the Top 3 for each position get an opportunity at round 2 (Brantley is okay because OF has a higher number of potential players).

My main concern was that Chirinos was not going to be recognized for the amazing year he has put together, and as of right now, he won’t make the cut for the second round of voting. Here was my recap on him in the All-Stros game Thread

Catcher - Robinson Chirinos

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

When the Astros signed Robinson Chirinos, I doubt even the most optimistic of us were clamoring that he should be an easy nomination to the All-Star game. I was optimistic and in my bold predictions for the easy put in that he’d take advantage of MMP’s dimensions to the tune of .240+/.350+/.520+ for a wRC+ of 120 or better. So far this season, that’s been under rating him.

Chirinos is tied for 1st in fWAR, His 144 wRC+ is due to a .247/.383/.521 triple slash and his defense has made a marked improvement this year. Ultimately, he’s going to have a very large uphill battle with Gary Sanchez having a similar quality year and playing in pinstripes. James McCann is also deserving, and with each team needing a representative may take the spot by default as Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada would have some steep battles at 2B and SS where both seem outmatched.

Without the name recognition and the competition at Catcher, we will need a lot of support to get Chirinos into the running.

Fangraphs

At the time of writing, Chirinos was the leader in fWAR for all AL catchers. Mitch Garver has recently taken the lead, but there’s quite a few potential players here who are fair candidates for the All-Star game.

So why vote for Chirinos?

Chirinos has been one of the best Free Agent signings in all of baseball. The Astros nerd-cave struck gold again. I noted at the time of signing, that Chirinos actually had outproduced Realmuto from 2015-2018 in regards to his wRC+.

Offensively, none of this is overly surprising, although I would say it has exceeded most people’s expectations. During our Bold Predictions article, I predicted Chirinos would hit .240+/.350+/.500+ and take advantage of Minute Maid Park’s dimensions with 20+ HR. As of today he sits at .240/.375/.506 and 10 HRs.

What has been more surprising than his 40% above league average offense has been his defense. Chirinos came to the Astros with one of the worst defensive reputations in the game of baseball. We wrote an article, asking if we were duped by his reputation defensively, because all the early indications were actually well above average.

He came to the Astros and it was reported out that AJ Hinch had personally spent time coaching him on his defense, that Brent Strom had recognized a small error in his throwing, and bullpen catcher Michael Collins had given him hints on a way to shorten up and strengthen his throwing motion.

And while I’m not here advocating him as one of the top defensive catchers in baseball, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, with him improving across the board.

There is the “emotional plea” side of making a case for players as well. I’ve never been a huge advocate of this methodology, and am probably not the best person to write it, but I figured it would be amiss to leave it out completely. Chirinos is 35 years old this year. He’s never been an All-Star in his career and this will probably be his realistic last chance on the “ballot”. His level of play deserves recognition and it’d be extremely unfortunate if he doesn’t make it past the first round despite that fact.

Conclusion

Chirinos has been one of the best surprises this year with his all around play in the field. His offense has exceeded most people’s expectations, and his defense has been better than most would anticipate. As of a few days ago, he lead all AL Catchers in WAR!

With the 2 rounds of voting, Chirinos in my opinion, has played well enough that he should garner enough votes to make it to the second round. We will need as many Astros fans as possible to go out and vote for him as he doesn’t have the name recognition that will have unknowing fans vote for him, and with the MLB using batting average as one of the very few stats listed - it’s going to be tough for the uninformed to choose him despite his excellent season so far. I’m asking you guys, get out there and vote!

FILE photo of “I Voted” sticker. (Spectrum News)

Plus, we all know they’re going to have to catch like 8 Astros Pitchers who will make the All-Star game so might as well have a Catcher who knows them!