Who’s an All-Star? Let the numbers decide

In its very beginning, and now, nearly 80 years later, baseball’s All-Star Game has involved the fans. Under the current system, people who follow baseball vote on line and at ballparks for their favorites, and their votes determine the starting teams for each league.

Not only performance matters in selections, we’ve learned over the years, but also popularity (it helps to be a big-market player) and reputation (it helps to be Derek Jeter). Statistics matter—but which statistics? Lifetime? Last year? This year? Potential?

Today, we look at two approaches that remove sentiment and fame—just the facts, sir. Here, Vince Caramela has used advanced metrics to assess which players, based on their 2011 play thus far, belong on the All-Star teams. In the next article, Justin Inaz has used two top projection systems, including The Hardball Times’ Oliver, to pick the year’s best players.

And the fans, who really have the vote? The latest announced ballot results in advance of Thursday’s deadline are in THT Live today. (The game is July 12 in Phoenix.)

Our rules here were that each offensive mentioned had to (a). be healthy at the time of the All-Star game and log 180 plate appearances prior to this week. Starting pitchers had to have at least 80 innings pitches, relievers 20—and be healthy for the game.

American League









































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR CS% WAR
Alex Avila 246 .918 .242 .365 .395 151 0.4 39% 2.5
Victor Martinez 252 .883 .163 .347 .382 142 -0.6 25% 1.6
Carlos Santana 300 .777 .182 .253 .342 117 -1.5 21% 1.8
Russell Martin 226 .745 .171 .242 .342 113 0.4 29% 1.8
Matt Wieters 253 .724 .146 .292 .320 98 -0.1 42% 1.8

Catcher: Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers

Avila has been solid all season and should get the starting nod based on his offensive and defensive abilities. Victor Martinez has mostly been used as the Tigers’ DH but he has logged in enough hours behind the plate to qualify.

































































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Adrian Gonzalez 344 1.020 .252 .393 .437 177 -2.9 15 4.5
Miguel Cabrera 329 1.024 .247 .338 .432 176 0.1 -6.7 3.3
Paul Konerko 323 .989 .268 .320 .420 165 -2.6 -3.9 2.4
Adam Lind 223 .934 .260 .318 .397 154 1.3 1.9 1.9
Mark Teixiera 328 .891 .284 .221 .386 144 -1.2 2.4 2.6
Justin Smoak 289 .843 .220 .289 .367 136 -1.6 2.8 1.7
Mitch Moreland 253 .822 .189 .318 .358 124 1.2 -8.5 0.9

First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox

This is very close but Gonzalez’s defense and slight lead in the wOBA and WAR department should be enough to push ahead past Miguel Cabrera. As we can see, this position is stacked and it’s too bad since Adam Lind has been blowing away all preseason projections, but the biggest travesty of all will be Mark Teixeira bumping Miggy right into a three-day vacation. According to the latest numbers, Tex is the ffth best and really has no right to be on the team.









































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Howie Kendrick 274 .851 .184 .362 .377 140 0.2 17.5 3.4
Ben Zobrist 327 .812 .206 .297 .359 129 4.0 17.4 3.5
Dustin Pedroia 344 .797 .126 .307 .365 127 2.9 19.3 3.7
Robinson Cano 313 .841 .215 .298 .367 131 1.5 -8.8 2.1
Ian Kinsler 336 .753 .160 .246 .349 117 7.4 13.9 2.9

Second base: Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels

This was very tough to score. I went with Kendrick based on wOBA and weighted runs created, but a solid case, according to these numbers, can be made for either Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia or even Robinson Cano. I will admit that I’m not too confident in my rankings for this position and seeing how these numbers could fluctuate, this will probably remain unsettled until the All-Star break.

The major question mark for Kendrick will be how long he is able to keep his BABIP up.









































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Alex Rodriguez 301 .896 .217 .337 .389 146 1.8 19.4 3.6
Kevin Youkilis 307 .890 .222 .315 .395 149 0.3 -8.2 2.8
Adrian Beltre 329 .775 .201 .249 .337 109 -0.7 19.4 2.7
Evan Longoria 200 .765 .192 .250 .337 115 -1.5 30.5 2.1
Mark Reynolds 291 .806 .226 .272 .361 126 -0.8 -27.8 0.6

Third base: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

Evan Longoria has been making a bit of a surge after being shelved earlier this season. But A-Rod has been fairly solid and his defense was enough to push him ahead of Kevin Youkilis. Full disclosure: I am a Yankees fan but I’m going with Fangraphs’ calculation of WAR on this one. There, that settles it.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
J.J. Hardy 202 .923 .239 .329 .398 151 -1.4 -1.2 2.1
Asdrubal Cabrera 337 .831 .199 .317 .373 138 1.6 -11.9 2.7
Jhonny Peralta 270 .860 .207 .323 .369 133 -0.3 2.5 2.5
Alexei Ramirez 331 .756 .129 .311 .335 107 0.8 10.8 2.9
Yunel Escobar 320 .762 .140 .286 .338 113 1.4 -5.9 1.8
Derek Jeter 293 .649 .065 .283 .297 83 -2.4 -3.2 0.5

Shortstop: J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles

Before everyone falls out of their chairs because Jeter’s on this list, please know that I included him to merely illustrate what a terrible season he is having (like you didn’t know), but guess what? A lot of people don’t know—or don’t care—and based on current votes, Jeter has a fairly good lead over Asdrubal Cabrera.

Cabrera is having a fine season, but according to most of the advanced offensive stats, the starting nod should go to Hardy, who has been on a tear since returning from an oblique injury in April.

































































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Jose Bautista 311 1.137 .336 .322 .477 208 0.6 -10.5 4.7
Matt Joyce 258 .901 .220 .347 .385 148 -0.8 -3.9 2.4
Carlos Quentin 306 .882 .276 .240 .383 140 -0.5 3.2 2.1
Michael Cuddyear 292 .823 .171 .316 .368 134 -2.4 8.7 1.8
Brennan Boesch 295 .840 .182 .329 .364 129 -1.4 -5.8 1.9
Nelson Cruz 248 .829 .294 .261 .358 123 -2.6 -7.0 1.1
Ichiro Suzuki 341 .643 .054 .294 .290 84 8.1 -24.1 -0.4

Right field: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

This is a no-brainer; Bautista is still rolling from last season and everyone is just trying to keep up. It would be nice to see Matt Joyce get the nod as Bautista’s under-study, as we can see he certainly deserves it.

Also, the inclusion of Ichiro Suzuki is to show just how far the mighty have fallen.

































































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Curtis Granderson 331 .940 .300 .309 0.403 155 1.5 3.1 4.0
Jacoby Ellsbury 340 .831 .160 .337 .371 132 4.4 3.2 3.1
Adam Jones 309 .817 .191 .314 .358 124 3.0 -15 1.7
Denard Span 255 .746 .091 .325 .338 113 1.8 25.3 2.7
Melky Cabrera 345 .747 .156 .296 .332 107 3.6 -8.0 1.8
B.J. Upton 299 .695 .160 .271 .320 103 0.1 -8.9 1.0
Grady Sizemore 193 .744 .224 .283 .324 104 -0.8 0.6 0.8

Center field: Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees

Another easy choice and one that seems to coincide with Yankees votes without starting any controversy. After Jacoby Ellsbury, the quality does fall off a bit.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Josh Hamilton 184 .868 .222 .336 .371 132 -0.2 -15.7 1.3
Alex Gordon 340 .838 .188 .341 .365 129 1.4 9.4 2.8
Brett Gardner 254 .784 .141 .335 .345 115 3.5 39.9 2.8
Michael Brantley 308 .746 .124 .309 .331 109 -1.0 21.6 1.6
Josh Willingham 257 .718 .179 .297 .321 104 0.5 -14.3 0.3
Carl Crawford 278 .659 .141 .274 .291 77 1.9 3.8 0.1

Left field: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

As of June 25, all players eligible for this “project” had to reach a minimum of 180 plate appearances; lucky for our reigning AL MVP. Hamilton just squeezed in. This was another tough one and as much as I want to name Alex Gordon as the starter, it’s obvious that Hamilton has too much of a lead in a few important categories.



































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR WAR
David Ortiz 306 .970 .270 .305 .419 164 -3.0 2.5
Billy Butler 321 .845 .136 .332 .370 132 -0.3 1.6
Michael Young 330 .830 .151 .359 .361 125 0.6 1.6
Bobby Abreu 321 .783 .097 .352 .359 128 0.8 1.2
Jason Kubel 217 .820 .155 .373 .360 128 -0.3 1.1

Designated hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

Another slam dunk. Ortiz is having a career revival and is showing no signs of slowing down…. maybe Miguel Cabrera or Paul Konerko can be talked into pulling DH duty since the quality of this group does fall a bit after Papi’s name.


















































































































































































































GS QS IP K/BB BABIP SIERA FIP xFIP
Justin Verlander 17 16 128.7 4.59 .216 2.97 2.83 2.94
David Price 16 9 110.3 4.95 .285 3.12 2.86 2.99
James Shields 16 14 121.7 4.18 .250 3.07 3.1 2.89
Dan Haren 16 13 109.3 5.41 .281 3.35 2.74 3.05
Michael Pineda 15 12 95.7 3.48 .249 3.25 2.91 3.42
Felix Hernandez 17 12 121.3 3.03 .288 3.36 2.84 3.09
Jerad Weaver 17 15 123.3 3.79 .244 3.48 2.46 3.47
Erik Bedard 14 8 83 3.20 .275 3.39 3.37 3.16
CC Sabathia 17 9 122 3.10 .299 3.83 2.82 3.38
Scott Baker 15 8 98.3 3.29 .295 3.49 3.64 3.49
Jon Lester 16 11 103.3 2.70 .298 3.55 4.14 3.46
Josh Beckett 14 11 92 2.63 .217 3.71 2.97 3.69
Ricky Romero 16 13 111.7 2.53 .265 3.64 3.67 3.38
Justin Masterson 16 12 105.7 2.14 .312 3.93 3.06 3.58
Gio Gonzalez 15 10 94 2.09 .289 3.86 3.43 3.62
C.J. Wilson 16 10 110.7 2.69 .295 3.69 3.28 3.41
Alexi Ogando 15 10 91 3.25 .245 4.05 3.49 3.79
Max Scherzer 16 7 95.7 2.44 .318 4.03 4.17 3.96

Probable starting pitcher: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

According to the rules, each league will be expected to roster eight starting pitchers. Verlander seems like the clear choice, but David Price isn’t too far behind.

















































































































IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 LevHI SV% IR IRS% SwStrk% FIP xFIP
Jonathan Papelbon 30 12.0 1.80 0.60 14 93 4 25 17.3 1.95 2.34
Kyle Farnsworth 31.2 5.97 0.57 0.28 15 94 18 33 9.5 2.32 2.77
Mariano Rivera 30.1 7.71 1.19 0.30 22 87 11 36 8.1 2.06 2.99
Jordan Walden 33.2 10.16 4.54 0 23 77 4 25 13.5 2.21 3.29
Brandon League 32.2 5.79 1.38 0.28 17 88 7 57 10.7 2.70 3.29
Sergio Santos 37 11.43 4.86 0.49 16 88 9 0 13.3 2.90 3.24
Jose Valverde 32.1 8.91 4.73 0.84 11 100 4 0 10.9 3.94 3.79

Probable closer: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

Judging relievers can be a headache, especially when looking over a small sample between 20 to 35 innings. I know it seems that every season Mariano Rivera has this job locked up, but Papelbon is making a very strong case as the new go-to guy.

National League





























































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR CS% WAR
Brian McCann 285 .891 .212 .312 .381 143 -2.1 21% 2.8
Chris Iannetta 220 .840 .216 .273 .372 127 -0.7 24% 2.2
Miguel Montero 262 .823 .201 .296 .358 121 0.2 28% 2.3
Yadier Molina 259 .768 .132 .317 .328 108 -2.6 27% 1.5

Catcher: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

McCann is the obvious choice but it is nice to see Chris Iannetta and Miguel Montero make their case after showing so much promise in previous years.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Prince Fielder 332 1.044 .310 .295 .442 184 -1.9 1.0 3.9
Joey Votto 347 .951 .190 .374 .414 161 -0.2 6.2 3.5
Michael Morse 246 .907 .250 .348 .387 145 1.1 4.1 1.7
Gaby Sanchez 334 .869 .195 .316 .377 138 -0.9 5.3 2.6
Todd Helton 256 .874 .183 .326 .377 130 -0.2 10.4 2.1
Ryan Howard 337 .838 .233 .303 .360 126 -0.7 -3.6 1.3

First base: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

Albert Pujols‘ injury forced me to leave him off this list, but even if he were healthy I don’t see anyone moving Fielder out of this spot based on advanced stats. Michael Morse can also qualify as an outfielder (based on the handful of games he played in left field) which would better suit him since the top two names on this list aren’t going anywhere.









































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Rickie Weeks 352 .867 .211 .338 .379 142 3.7 2.8 3.5
Danny Espinosa 314 .777 .215 .272 .345 117 3.7 11.7 2.8
Brandon Phillips 334 .735 .106 .305 .327 102 3.3 10.7 2.2
Jamey Carroll 284 .735 .067 .344 .334 111 1.4 -26.6 1.3
Neil Walker 318 .716 .138 .294 .317 98 2.5 -3.9 1.1

Second base: Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers

Weeks is solid but the rest of this list is dreadful, although I am pleasantly surprised by the season Danny Espinosa is having.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Ty Wigginton 218 .857 .255 .287 .376 130 -0.6 -9.9 1.4
Chase Headley 299 .793 .105 .376 .358 134 0.4 -5.8 2.1
Ryan Roberts 273 .790 .190 .282 .348 114 3.1 2.7 2.0
Placido Polanco 324 .703 .076 .296 .317 97 -0.2 6.8 1.8
Scott Rolen 207 .737 .167 .281 .323 99 -0.5 11.3 1.3
Chipper Jones 286 .791 .173 .289 .339 115 -5.2 -12.9 0.9

Third base: Ty Wigginton, Colorado Rockies

Ryan Zimmerman has returned, but his injury has knocked him out of consideration. This is just sad… never in my life did I see the day coming where I would be adding the name Ty Wigginton as a starter in a major league All-Star Game; yet here he is!





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Jose Reyes 354 .883 .169 .355 .391 151 -2.8 2.9 4.3
Troy Tulowitzki 322 .833 .218 .266 .360 119 -0.8 15.1 3.1
Starlin Castro 333 .802 .117 .359 .359 121 0.9 -11.4 2.0
Stephen Drew 288 .761 .143 .338 .336 106 2.4 4.3 2.1
Jimmy Rollins 336 .691 .117 .260 .319 98 1.4 -1.2 1.7
Hanley Ramirez 246 .620 .093 .256 .286 75 -3.6 -11.5 0.2

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, New York Mets

Reyes is looking to cash in big after this season and, so far, he is the best among all qualifying starters. Time seems to be running out for Hanley Ramirez to salvage his nightmare season.













































































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Lance Berkman 274 .988 .285 .294 .414 167 -0.5 -23.3 2.5
Justin Upton 336 .906 .215 .347 .397 147 -0.8 5.4 3.3
Seth Smith 240 .919 .237 .361 .396 143 2.0 12 2.4
Carlos Beltran 312 .855 .204 .302 .375 140 -0.6 -0.7 2.4
Hunter Pence 318 .850 .175 .378 .375 139 1.4 -6.9 2.0
Andre Ethier 317 .845 .143 .368 .367 134 -1.5 6.6 2.3
Mike Stanton 285 .864 .279 .296 .371 134 -0.6 -2.8 1.6
Jay Bruce 322 .853 .233 .312 .367 129 0.4 -8.9 1.7

Right field: Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals

According to the stats, Berkman is the logical choice, but since the DH will be used by the National League team, a case can be made that Berkman should be placed in that role to allow Justin Upton the deserved start on his home field.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Matt Kemp 325 1.043 .296 .366 .453 193 3.7 -18.7 4.3
Shane Victorino 273 .863 .210 .307 .386 144 3.0 28.6 3.8
Andrew McCutchen 328 .855 .181 .325 .384 145 0.7 13.4 4.0
Michael Bourn 338 .746 .109 .351 .352 123 1.3 -2.0 2.7
Chris Young 341 .807 .228 .271 .344 111 2.8 6.0 2.4
Drew Stubbs 348 .733 .153 .347 .340 111 5.5 4.0 2.5

Center field: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers

Easy choice here. Kemp has been near Bautistian all season and should be seen as one of the best players on the NL squad.





















































































PA OPS ISO BABIP wOBA wRC+ BRR UZR/150 WAR
Matt Holliday 218 .998 .227 .376 .431 178 -0.7 12.3 3.1
Ryan Braun 327 .939 .239 .327 .417 165 -0.9 -9.2 3.4
Logan Morrison 242 .813 .195 .288 .356 123 -2.1 -8.1 1.1
Carlos Gonzalez 319 .799 .173 .326 .351 113 -1.7 0 1.6
Alfonso Soriano 222 .821 .243 .307 .355 119 1.3 6.9 1.1
Laynce Nix 190 .847 .249 .328 .363 129 -2.9 -19.5 0.8

Left field: Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals

This was another tough choice as both Holliday and Ryan Braun seem to be neck and neck. The favorite to start will be Braun, but a solid case can be made that Holliday should get the nod.


















































































































































































































GS QS IP K/BB BABIP SIERA FIP xFIP
Roy Halladay 17 14 127.3 7.69 .303 2.68 2.16 2.40
Cole Hamels 16 14 112 5.14 .268 2.76 2.36 2.58
Cliff Lee 16 12 113 4.56 .304 2.97 2.57 2.69
Clayton Kershaw 17 12 116.7 4.00 .276 2.81 2.50 2.73
Anibal Sanchez 16 11 105.3 3.69 .294 3.12 2.85 2.93
Tim Lincecum 16 10 105.3 2.97 .294 3.15 2.84 2.88
Tim Stauffer 16 11 99 3.57 .307 3.31 3.09 2.97
Tommy Hanson 14 8 83.3 2.97 .240 3.20 2.94 3.06
Jaime Garcia 16 9 100 3.38 .304 3.33 2.65 3.00
Tim Hudson 16 10 100 2.92 .264 3.57 3.20 3.29
Daniel Hudson 16 12 108 3.48 .306 3.73 2.75 3.47
Ian Kennedy 16 11 108.7 3.07 .261 3.76 3.38 3.52
Bud Norris 16 9 99 2.63 .290 3.51 3.42 3.32
Matt Cain 16 12 106.3 3.18 .269 3.75 3.06 3.57
Jordan Zimmermann 15 12 94.7 3.53 .282 3.96 2.75 3.66
Jhoulys Chacin 15 11 99.7 2.20 .218 3.52 3.85 3.24
Madison Bumgarner 16 11 91.3 3.08 .337 3.70 2.69 3.28
Jair Jurrjens 14 12 95.7 2.50 .271 4.48 3.23 3.80

Probable starting pitcher: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

Could the AL team see three Philly starters in a row? According to these stats, it should happen, but rules mandating that no starter is eligible to appear in the All-Star Game if he has pitched the prior Sunday probably makes this unlikely. Regardless, Halladay has been incredible and should get the start.

















































































































IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 LevHI SV% IR IRS% SwStrk% FIP xFIP
Craig Kimbrel 38 13.74 4.26 0.24 20 80 3 0 14.5 1.74 2.33
John Axford 35.1 11.72 4.08 0.25 17 91 0 0 10 2.07 2.61
Joel Hanrahan 36.1 7.68 1.98 0.25 14 100 8 0 10.6 2.26 2.72
Carlos Marmol 34.1 11.8 4.46 0.26 13 80 8 0 11.4 2.45 3.14
J.J. Putz 33 8.45 2.18 0.55 22 88 0 0 11.1 2.68 3.21
Fernando Salas 34.1 8.91 2.36 0.79 18 86 17 18 11.6 3.07 3.50
Heath Bell 31 6.97 3.19 0 22 95 2 50 9.1 2.47 3.65

Probable closer: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

As I mentioned in the AL closer section, this is a crapshoot and the best thing to do is try to gather the absolute best and hope their good fortune continues. Based on the stats I compiled, I like the ninth inning job going to Kimbrel. His solid peripherals in high leverage situations look promising. I also like his high swing strike stat, which is always good for a few cheers at the end.

References & Resources
Most of the stats used were provided by Baseball Info Solutions and Fangraphs. Other stats used to look at reliever leverage and inherited runners were provided by Baseball-Reference.com. The stats Baserunning runs (BRR) and SIERA were provided by Baseball Prospectus.

Some of the less familiar stats:

LevHI: simply the number of high leverage situations for a reliever

IR: Inherited runners.

IRS%: The percentage of inherited runners that scored on the reliever’s watch. There are problems with this stat since it presumes all situations are created equal (doesn’t account for errors or passed balls, etc.) but it’s handy and the best thing I could come up with.

SwStrk%: Swing strike percentage.

SIERA: Skill Interactive Earned Run Average. This is a stat used at Baseball Prospectus and it measures a pitcher’s ability close to what tERA and FIP do in terms of taking out luck in a situation.

BRR: Baserunning runs, another BPro stat that measures a players baserunning ability and doesn’t just focus on how well he steals bases; instead it measures a players baserunning smarts.

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Comments

  1. Michael said...

    It seems you are undervaluing defense and overvaluing offense in these rankings. Berkman over Upton? – No way if you factor in defense. Same for Wiggington over Roberts or Polanco, Hamilton over Gordon or Gardner, and Hardy over Ramirez.
    Other than that, a solid list. I would like to see it done with a full calendar year (post-2010 ASG). Results would be different, and I think more instructive – they would not adversely punish slow starters and benefit fast starters.

  2. Paul Francis Sullivan said...

    PRetty damn close to MY ballot.

    AL
    First Base
    ADRIAN GONZALEZ, Red Sox

    Second Base
    ROBINSON CANO, Yankees

    Shortstop
    ELVIS ANDRUS, Rangers

    Third Base
    ALEX RODRIGUEZ, Yankees

    Catcher
    ALEX AVILA, Tigers

    Designated Hitter
    DAVID ORTIZ, Red Sox

    Outfield
    CURTIS GRANDERSON, Yankees
    JOSE BAUTISTA, Blue Jays
    ADAM JONES, Orioles

    NL
    First Base
    PRINCE FIELDER, Brewers

    Second Base
    RICKIE WEEKS, Brewers

    Shortstop
    JOSE REYES, Mets

    Third Base
    PLACIDO POLANCO, Phillies

    Catcher
    BRIAN McCANN, Braves

    Outfield
    MATT KEMP, Dodgers
    RYAN BRAUN, Brewers
    JAY BRUCE, Reds

  3. Vince Caramela said...

    @drakos: like I said, it pains me to add Wigginton to this list.  I leaned more towards power in terms of Wigginton over Headley (and his recent shoulder injury) but that list is pretty embarrassing.

    When I was putting together this list last weekend, I really pushed to have Ryan Roberts as the starter – but the numbers just wouldn’t comply.

    @Michael: you’re probably right and that is a major reason why I think Berkman should be named as the NL DH. I’m sure you’ve read Justin Inaz’s article and his piece really takes the whole small sample size thing to task which is why he decided on rest of the season projections.  In terms of offense I can see the starters named above as being solid the rest of the way (Wigginton will probably regress in terms of power and Kendrick and Weeks are health issues) but the major changes will probably come from pitching since so much can change in the next 80 to 100 innings.

    @Sully: no Pedroia over Cano? As a Yankee fan, I am both touched and impressed.

  4. Harveywall said...

    I can’t help but wonder how/when did the All-Star game become the “first-half-so-the-season star” game?  To me, these are not the same thing.  Torii Hunter is an “All Star”, Adam Jones is not….

  5. Paul Francis Sullivan said...

    George, it goes back to why I think the All Star Game should start the season.

    The MVP of the league from the previous year should be an All Star. Full Stop.

    But if the MVP of the league is having a bad first half or is injured, should a player who is having a good first half negate that?

    Put the game at the beginning of the year, have the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of te year, batting champ, Home Run king and stolen base champ all in the game.

    And oh yeah. Derek Jeter. Because he will be an All Star no matter where his numbers fall to

  6. Vince Caramela said...

    @Sully: please don’t apologize.  In fact I had your piece in mind when I was writing this since I believe your point about playing the all-star game at the beginning is valid. If anything it would save us the headache of trying to over-analyze players based on only 30-45% of playing time.

    My advice to my loudest critics: don’t take this personally.  To me this was a fun exercise to see who was playing best a fews weeks before the big TV extravaganza on July 12.  Do I think Ryan Zimmerman deserves the start over Wigginton or Polanco if he’s healthy? Sure.  But don’t you dare toss around the name Torii Hunter as an all-star in 2011 over the Grandyman and Sir Bautista… unless you are looking to fist-fight!!!!

  7. Josh said...

    Very good with a few exceptions…

    Wiggington is a bit of a stretch at third. Roberts and Headley are probably a little more deserving.

    Upton should probably be in right field, though Berkman is a solid choice.

    And I can’t really see how you would put Paplebon ahead of Rivera. Yes Paps has a good FIP, but his ERA is over twice that of Rivera’s who may not strike out a ton of people but still gets the job done (yes I am a Yankee fan). Also consider that the Yankees have won 2/3 games that Rivera has blown (I can’t speak for how the red sox have done in games that Paps has blown). I know it may seem like fan bias but I don’t think Paplebon really even deserves to be an all star, I think Bard would actually be a better choice.

  8. Vince Caramela said...

    When the all-stars are tallied up, ERA and wins/losses along with BA and RBIs will become major factors but the point of this exercise was to ignore those stats and look at each player through advanced metrics only.

    You have a point above Daniel Bard receiving consideration.  I decided to keep the list to involve closers only but he and Robertson along with Clippard in the NL (among others) are deserving.

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