There’s a (sadly non-binding) fan poll for the Home Run Derby

20 Comments

I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there is a fan poll in which people can vote for who they’d like to see in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.  You can vote here.

Major League Baseball just announced who was leading the voting thus far: In the NL it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard.  In the AL it’s Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and David Ortiz.  Unlike any other sort of All-Star voting, I can’t find any fault whatsoever in that voting.  Those are probably the six guys who, if I cared all that much about the Home Run Derby, I’d want to see in it.  Adam Dunn, Justin Upton and Mike Stanton can be alternates.

The sad thing, of course, is that this voting is non-binding. Indeed, the voting page itself says “If you could choose, who would you like to participate,” underscoring the fact that we cannot choose.  Not all players want to do this thing. Despite the evidence on it not being terribly conclusive, a lot of them think that swinging in the Derby messes them up in the second half of the season.  It almost certainly tires them out on a day they’d be resting anyway.

Personally, I’d like to see a skills exhibition with players doing Tom Emansky-style drills, but I’d guess that’s a pipe dream.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.