Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt are both having All-Star-caliber seasons at first base this season, but with voting for the Midsummer Classic ending on July 4, soon only one will be chosen to start the game for the National League.
Votto currently leads Goldschmidt by nearly 600,000 votes. Barring a late push by the Diamondbacks slugger, Votto looks like he'll be starting the game.
This doesn't mean that the fans have been making the right choice, though.
Votto was last year's starter at first base for the National League in what was his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance.
Goldschmidt, on the other hand, would be making his first start and appearance in the game.
I'd hoped that a comparison of their numbers, courtesy of FanGraphs, would show one to be clearly superior, but I found no such luck.
Goldschmidt leads Votto in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases and slugging percentage.
Votto has the edge in runs scored, average and on-base percentage.
Both candidates have strong numbers across the board and it's difficult to find a weakness in either player's game.
Votto has benefited from luck more than Goldschmidt, as his batting average on balls in play is almost 5 percent higher than that of the Diamondbacks' first baseman.
Still, this doesn't make Votto's .325 batting average any less impressive.
If you're someone hoping for excitement in the form of long home runs in the All-Star Game, then Goldschmidt is the choice for you. According to ESPN Home Run Tracker, he has 12 home runs on the season that have traveled over 400 feet. Votto has just six.
The home run below traveled 447 feet and was his longest big fly on the season.
Votto has Goldschimdt beat when it comes to getting on base, however.
The footage below is from a game in which he reached base all six times he came to bat, including a home run in his final plate appearance.
If you factor how each of their teams are doing into the equation, Votto's Reds come out on top with a 48-36 record, but Goldschmidt is no slouch in this department, as he has his Diamondbacks in first place in the NL West.
As I said previously, both players have made a strong case to start the game on July 16, but Goldschmidt seems to be just a bit more deserving given his stronger power numbers in addition to a still-great batting average and on-base percentage.
Goldschmidt is not as well-known a player as Votto, since he's having his first monster season in the big leagues, and starting the game would help him gain the recognition he deserves.
Unfortunately for him, Votto's superior pedigree is likely what has him out in front in the vote thus far.
No matter who starts at first base for the NL, both players will likely play in the game. With the way they've performed to date, I can't wait to see how they play on the big stage.
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