All-Star bleak: Our All-Chicago team among Cubs, White Sox players

A year ago, an all-Chicago team of position players would have been dominated by Cubs, augmented by the White Sox’ since-traded Adam Eaton.

But first-half struggles have left the Cubs represented only by reliever Wade Davis for Tuesday’s All-Star Game, while the White Sox have Chicago’s only non-pitching All-Star in Avisail Garcia.

So what if you had to pick an all-Chicago team, based only on first-half numbers? Let’s do it by bWAR for the positions where fans choose All-Stars.

OUTFIELD: The only two outfielders at 2.0 bWAR or better at Baseball-Reference.com are White Sox Garcias — Avisail at 2.6 and Leury at 2.0. They’re both in.

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 05: Ian Happ #8 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two run single in the 7th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Wrigley Field on July 5, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 700011514

The third outfield spot is more of a problem. The best offensive player has been Cubs rookie Ian Happ, with 13 home runs and an .870 OPS that outweighs 10 homers and .748 OPS by the Sox’ Melky Cabrera despite Cabrera’s .287-.257 batting average edge.

The Cubs’ Jason Heyward lags behind with six home runs and .698 OPS, but Heyward is a plus defender with 12 runs saved to -5 for Cabrera and 1 for Happ, including -1 in the outfield.

The bottom line is 1.5 bWAR for Heyward, 1.2 for Happ and 0.2 for Cabrera.

FIRST BASE: This is a strong position with the Sox’ Jose Abreu hitting .299 with a .871 OPS and 16 homers. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo has a lower BA at .259, but with 54 walks to Abreu’s 22, Rizzo has a .386-.349 on-base percentage lead. Rizzo also heads with 20 homers and a .894 OPS.

Rizzo takes the position with a 2.9 bWAR to Abreu’s 2.0.

SECOND BASE: The Sox’ Yolmer Sanchez has been about an average hitter with a .265 BA and .726. The Cubs’ Javier Baez, with a .257 BA, has a higher OPS at .745, but league and park adjustments leave him with a 93 OPS+, slightly lower than Sanchez’s 96.

Sanchez takes the spot with a 1.5-1.0 bWAR edge.

SHORTSTOP: The Cubs’ Addison Russell has had a disappointing half with a .226 BA and .678 OPS, but the Sox’ Tim Anderson has an even lower .632 OPS with a .240 BA.

Russell leads MLB shortstops with 13 runs saved and that boosts him to a 1.8 bWAR to Anderson’s 0.

THIRD BASE: The Cubs’ Kris Bryant ranks 23rd in MLB with a .928 OPS to go with 20 homers. Matt Davidson leads the Sox with 18 homers, but his OPS is lower at .799.

Bryant’s overall offensive game gives him a big bWAR lead, 3.0-0.1.

CATCHER: The Cubs’ Willson Contreras (.782 OPS, 11 home runs, 0.9 defensive WAR) has been a much bigger contributor than the Sox’ Omar Narvaez (.624, 0, 0.4) and Kevan Smith (.681, 1, 0.2)

That makes Contreras the easy winner with 2.1 bWAR to 0.4 for Narvaez and -0.1 for Smith.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Let’s use Abreu here as the best hitter on either team not to start in the field.

That’s five Cubs, four White Sox, and a big change in one year.

Follow me on Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

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