The early returns for All-Star voting are in and, as you might expect, they're a mixed bag.
We could get into the full ballot--madness like having Derek Jeter fifth without having played a game, Elvis Andrus atop the likes of Jhonny Peralta, or Torii Hunter finding his way into the top-3 in the outfield. But that would take a lot longer, so let's stick to the relevant Red Sox.
It's easy to cross some names off the list. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross have been a surprisingly good duo, and that's reflected some with Salty coming in fifth, but they don't really belong in that conversation. Mike Napoli's situation at first is not all that different, coming in third in a race which rightfully belongs to Chris Davis at the moment. Meanwhile, Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Will Middlebrooks haven't done enough to earn consideration, and Daniel Nava was of course left off the ballot entirely by a Red Sox team that perhaps expected Jonny Gomes to be the primary left fielder.
That leaves just two players.
David Ortiz is, unsurprisingly, well ahead in the DH race. The only players who can really compete with his production, after all, already top the list at first and third base. Can't complain about that.
Dustin Pedroia, however, is where we find our annual reason for complaint. So far, at least, Pedroia trails not only Robinson Cano, but Ian Kinsler in the rankings. It's not at all difficult to qualify why he should start over either player, at least at the moment.
We can pretty much factor the bat out of the equation. While this is the area where you'd expect Cano to have the advantage, all three players are actually incredibly close in terms of overall production. Even under the magnifying glass, though, Pedroia actually leads the trio with a 133 wRC+ compared to Kinsler's 132 and Cano's 129. While both Cano and Kinsler have shown more power, neither one comes close to touching Pedroia's ridiculous .415 OBP, which makes all the difference.
So what does that leave? For Cano, the difference is the glove. Even ignoring the numbers put out by the various metrics (UZR has Pedroia up by a couple runs, DRS by nine), there's really not much question that Pedroia is the better defender. If Cano has improved over the years, he's still just not on Pedroia's level.
As for Kinsler, an easier argument can be made: he's played only 40 games, and will likely remain out for at least a few weeks more.
To be fair to the fans, these votes were not all cast in the last couple of weeks. Back in April, Cano did hold a sizeable advantage over Pedroia at the plate. Time remains to get it right--whether that's by virtue of the fans voting for Pedroia, or the players playing up to/down to their spot in the voting. As of right now, though, it's looking like Cano is going to be the starter over a superior Dustin Pedroia.
Read more Red Sox:
- Daniel Nava: All-Star candidate?
- MLB Draft 2013: Who could the Red Sox pick at #7?
- Red Sox' Dustin Pedroia has full UCL tear
- Is John Lackey really back?
- Two Red Sox prospects in Keith Law’s updated top 25