With 1,541,720 votes, Brandon Phillips is on pace to return to the MLB All Star Game in 2013 as the National League’s starting second baseman. In third place, with 913,778 votes is Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals. While both of these men have had great seasons, they both have approached the game in a different way and play in a unique style.
Offensively, Brandon Phillips is hitting a solid .282/.335/.458 on the year with 10 homers and 55 RBI, which is second most in the National League behind only Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to ESPN, his offense has netted the Reds 1.3 Wins Above Replacement. His competition, Matt Carpenter, has also had a nice season at the plate. Spending a majority of the time as the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter, he does not have the RBIs that Phillips does, and his power isn’t quite as prevalent, as he sports 5 homers and 25 RBIs on the season.
However, Carpenter has been a hitting machine. He’s hit an incredible .324/.408/.473 on the season with 52 runs scored. He’s only struck out 37 times, while walking 31 times. Compare this to Brandon Phillips, who has struck out 39 times while only walking 18 times. He’s netted an impressive 2.4 offensive WAR over the course of the season, nearly double that of Phillips.
Defensively, everyone in baseball knows what Brandon Phillips can do. He’s a gold glove winner, and for good reason. Some of the plays that he makes couldn’t even be attempted in most players’ wildest dreams. He is, arguably, one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball.
Overall, it’s very close. Both of these guys deserve to be on the All Star team. However, I think that Matt Carpenter has had a slightly better season overall, as his hitting has just been incredible. Can he keep it up? We’ll have to wait and see, but if he can, he very well could earn a spot on his first ever All Star team.