With Houston’s Jose Altuve no longer slated to play in next week’s All-Star Game, Cleveland Guardians second baseman Andrés Giménez is now the American League’s starter.
Altuve is being replaced in the lineup after being hit on the knee by a pitch Thursday night, paving the way for Giménez, who is making the first All-Star appearance of his career.
Giménez, 23, has certainly earned the nod, as he’s now hitting .296/.357/.478 with ten home runs, 12 doubles, seven stolen bases and a 139 OPS+. Combined with the stellar season current shortstop Amed Rosario is having, these two are helping Guardians fans forget whoever it was that was manning shortstop before they came over from the Mets.
Among regular second basemen in baseball, Gimenez’s wRC+ of 138 ranks behind only Altuve (158), Minnesota’s Luis Arraez (151), and Miami’s Jazz Chisholm Jr. (140). Gimenez also sports the fifth-best fWAR among second basemen in baseball at 2.5.
In other words, the kid has earned the nod, especially when one considers just how far he’s had to come to make it to this point. This time last year, Giménez was down in Triple-A Columbus trying to figure out his swing after a disappointing start to the season, when he was named the Opening Day shortstop and would end up hitting just .218 in 210 plate appearances.