In the first National League All-Star Game ballot update released on Wednesday, the closest race is at shortstop. In the lead is Addison Russell, the shortstop for the juggernaut Cubs. Less than 10,000 votes behind him, though, is Trevor Story, the Rockies' rookie sensation.
But which young gun should get the edge, the 22-year-old Russell or the 23-year-old Story? MLB.com breaks it down, comparing Russell and Story's seasons so far, with the categories based on baseball's five tools, to try to determine who is more deserving of a starting spot in the Midsummer Classic.
Story is batting .260 in 2016, with 56 hits in 215 at-bats, including 12 doubles, four triples and 38 RBIs. He also, however, leads the Major Leagues with 77 strikeouts.
Even with all of Story's strikeouts, he's still batting 19 points higher than Russell, who has a .241 average this season without the benefit of playing his home games at hitter-friendly Coors Field. But even so, Story's offensive production has been better. His 116 wRC+ is 30 points ahead of Russell's mark.
Story's power numbers are what really set him apart here. He burst onto the scene with a Major League-record seven home runs in his first six career big league games, and two months into the season his 15 homers are six more than any other NL shortstop.
Russell, who hit 13 home runs a year ago in his rookie season, has power potential but more modest production than Story in terms of hitting the ball out of the yard. Mostly hitting in the lower-third of the Cubs' order, he has four homers so far this season.
Russell hasn't been much of a basestealer -- he's swiped just two bags so far in 2016. But he has been a solid baserunner, one of the best at his position going by FanGraphs' all-encompassing baserunning metric. Russell's baserunning value to the Cubs has been 1.7 runs above average, second to only Jordy Mercer among qualified NL shortstops.
Story has stolen three bases this season compared to Russell's two, but he's also been caught three times. As far as baserunning goes, Story measures at right around league average, with a 0.2 baserunning value, and comes in ninth for NL shortstops.
Russell and Story have both made five errors at shortstop in 2016, producing nearly identical fielding percentages. Each has a solid arm, though neither has one of the strongest in the league. As far as accuracy goes, four of Russell's five errors have come on throws, as have three of Story's five. But beyond that, their performance starts to separate.
Russell has been an above-average defender at short, in terms of fielding and range. He has six Defensive Runs Saved, which ranks fourth among NL shortstops. Story has been a net positive for the Rockies in terms of Defensive Runs Saved with two, but he is clearly behind Russell in that regard.
It all depends on what you value. Story's offensive production has been generally superior to Russell's this season, but Russell's defensive metrics give him the edge over Story in the field. In fact, both Russell and Story entered play Friday with exactly 1.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. So who more merits an All-Star nod? It's up to the fans to make the pick.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 times.
Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.
Following the announcement of the 2016 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.
The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.