The 2012 all-stats All-Stars

The official Major League Baseball All-Star rosters have been unveiled, and there obviously are plenty of reasons to be intrigued. Numerous fantastically skilled players will be on hand for the event after a record number of votes were cast, the Final Vote nominees are awaiting your selection, and countless articles wil be published arguing about who was snubbed and who doesn’t belong.

I’m not here to dispute the status any of this year’s All-Stars, but I am interested in finding out which players most deserve to make the team based on one overarching criterion—this season’s numbers, particularly The Hardball Times’ WAR statistic, an attempt to boil down a player’s performance to a single number. No, it’s not perfect—no single stat is—but it does a terrific job of distinguishing excellence from reputation, hollow batting average marks and win and save totals.

While performing this analysis, let’s also see how the potential starting lineups of the American and National Leagues compare to one another. Sure, the starters won’t stay in the game long, but a comparison might give an indication of which league should have the edge the night of July 10.

(Stats through Saturday, June 30. A minimum of 200 plate apperances is required for batters, 75 innings for starting pitchers, and 25 innings for relievers. Also, only reasonable contenders are listed below. My apologies to Brennan Boesch, Nick Hundley, Cameron Maybin, Justin Smoak, etc.)

Catcher

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Mauer, Joe	MIN	293	0.325	0.416	0.448	0.864	0.387	2.2
Wieters, Matt	BAL	290	0.249	0.331	0.440	0.771	0.337	1.7
Pierzyn., A.J.	CHA	263	0.285	0.332	0.517	0.849	0.359	1.5
Salty, Jarrod	BOS	217	0.255	0.304	0.545	0.849	0.354	1.5
Napoli, Mike	TEX	260	0.238	0.338	0.444	0.782	0.342	1.0
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Ruiz, Carlos	PHI	260	0.358	0.423	0.585	1.008	0.432	3.2
Molina, Yadier	STL	281	0.311	0.362	0.510	0.872	0.373	2.4
Montero, Miguel	ARI	264	0.279	0.375	0.434	0.809	0.359	2.1
Ellis, A.J.	LAN	244	0.286	0.413	0.422	0.835	0.376	2.0
Posey, Buster	SFN	284	0.296	0.363	0.472	0.835	0.362	1.4

In the AL, Joe Mauer has once again ascended to the top of the mountain. His 28-homer power of his MVP-winning campaign of 2009 was a fluke, but his batting stroke and keen eye are about as good as ever. Yes, discussions will be never-ending about when and where he should be relocated defensively to keep him healthy and his bat in the lineup often, but for now fans should be content watching the best catcher in the junior circuit ply his trade.

Carlos Ruiz just keeps hitting—shocking just about everyone with his production, which easily is outpacing Mauer. Okay, so “Chooch” did something vaguely similar at the dish two years ago, giving a hint of what a perfect season would look like, but this is still ridonkulous.

Advantage: Here’s where some subjectivity comes into play. While Ruiz is strutting his stuff this year, I’m going with Mauer as the more likely player to make an impact in the All-Star Game. (Which probably means Ruiz will hit a game-winning, extra-inning homer.)

First base

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Konerko, Paul	CHA	293	0.336	0.413	0.556	0.969	0.419	2.2
Fielder, Prince	DET	337	0.294	0.371	0.485	0.856	0.371	1.2
Pujols, Albert	ANA	336	0.269	0.330	0.462	0.792	0.341	0.8
Davis, Chris	BAL	262	0.276	0.321	0.481	0.802	0.344	0.6
Teixeira, Mark	NYA	315	0.244	0.321	0.451	0.772	0.332	0.4
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Votto, Joey	CIN	331	0.350	0.471	0.632	1.103	0.468	4.3
Golds., Paul	ARI	255	0.293	0.369	0.542	0.911	0.388	1.4
LaRoche, Adam	WAS	296	0.251	0.338	0.506	0.844	0.358	1.0
LaHair, Bryan	CHN	239	0.280	0.360	0.521	0.881	0.378	0.9
Belt, Brandon	SFN	206	0.257	0.369	0.433	0.802	0.354	0.7

Despite the influx of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the AL field of first basemen is surprisingly weak. Old man Paul Konerko has built up a full 1.0-WAR lead over his competition, this in his age-36 season. Konerko is aging like a fine wine, and at about half the cost of his new league-mates at first base.

Joey Votto is clearly the class of the NL at first, tripling the WAR production of Paul Goldschmidt. Votto essentially forgot how to make an out in June, and that followed a merely mortal excellent May. His contract looks like the best of the trio of $200 million deals signed over the winter, but keep in mind that Votto’s new pact doesn’t even kick in until 2014.

Advantage: Good grief, it has to be Votto. If he wasn’t going to the All-Star Game, he’d be leaning against the front railing of the Titanic and wooing Rose.

Second base

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Cano, Robinson	NYA	330	0.304	0.367	0.575	0.942	0.399	3.2
Kipnis, Jason	CLE	339	0.275	0.335	0.426	0.761	0.332	2.0
Johnson, Kelly	TOR	319	0.245	0.333	0.383	0.716	0.319	1.4
Pedroia, Dustin	BOS	320	0.264	0.326	0.396	0.722	0.318	1.2
Kinsler, Ian	TEX	366	0.276	0.336	0.450	0.786	0.342	1.1
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Hill, Aaron	ARI	307	0.301	0.362	0.516	0.878	0.377	2.5
Uggla, Dan	ATL	325	0.235	0.363	0.414	0.777	0.348	2.1
Altuve, Jose	HOU	306	0.309	0.351	0.453	0.804	0.350	1.9
Phillips, B.    CIN	293	0.288	0.330	0.446	0.776	0.335	1.8
Infante, Omar	FLO	277	0.289	0.313	0.460	0.773	0.329	1.8
Scutaro, Marco	COL	322	0.284	0.339	0.390	0.729	0.321	1.2
Espinosa, Danny	WAS	314	0.226	0.304	0.362	0.666	0.296	1.0

“One of these days, Robinson Cano is going to win an MVP.” I know I’ve heard that said more than once about the Yankees second sacker. And this year certainly could be the one if Cano continues his first-half performance and the Yankees keep surging in the AL East.

Aaron Hill? Yep, Aaron Hill, the first player ever to hit for two cycles in two weeks. The guy with a slugging percentage 100 points higher than known bopper Dan Uggla. Sure the Arizona heat helps his stats somewhat, but when the roof is closed, the A/C keeps the Phoenix furnace at bay.

Advantage: Hill has been a great story the last couple of weeks, but the track records give the edge to Cano.

Shortstop

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Andrus, Elvis	TEX	350	0.305	0.381	0.411	0.792	0.346	2.6
Cabrera, A.	CLE	309	0.294	0.375	0.485	0.860	0.376	2.5
Escobar, Yunel	TOR	330	0.255	0.304	0.341	0.645	0.285	1.5
Jeter, Derek	NYA	352	0.300	0.351	0.406	0.757	0.335	1.4
Aviles, Mike	BOS	317	0.263	0.283	0.420	0.703	0.298	1.4
Escobar, A.	KCA	287	0.313	0.352	0.422	0.774	0.339	1.4
Hardy, J.J.	BAL	340	0.236	0.271	0.407	0.678	0.291	1.1
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Lowrie, Jed	HOU	288	0.261	0.347	0.486	0.833	0.360	2.4
Desmond, Ian	WAS	334	0.273	0.302	0.480	0.782	0.333	2.2
Castro, Starlin	CHN	332	0.298	0.319	0.432	0.751	0.324	2.0
Reyes, Jose	FLO	346	0.271	0.346	0.386	0.732	0.325	1.8
Rollins, Jimmy	PHI	349	0.263	0.317	0.409	0.726	0.317	1.2
Tulowitzki, T.	COL	203	0.287	0.360	0.486	0.846	0.367	1.1
Furcal, Rafael	STL	337	0.280	0.346	0.377	0.723	0.322	0.9
Cozart, Zack	CIN	317	0.249	0.294	0.407	0.701	0.304	0.9

Hmmm, we essentially have a toss-up here, Elvis Andrus vs. Asdrubal Cabrera. If we were going by creative first names, we’d still get nowhere, and the Escobars—Yunel and Alcides—would want in on the discussion, too. I’m going to go with Cabrera’s higher rate of WAR per at-bat, but feel free to flog me in the comments if you disagree.

It’s tight in the senior circuit, too, with Jed Lowrie pushing into the lead with a strong recent surge. Like Cabrera, Lowrie has reached his WAR total in less playing time than his competition, so he gets the nod.

Advantage: Sorry, but this is too close to call. Push.

Third base

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Cabrera, Miguel	DET	346	0.312	0.373	0.538	0.911	0.391	2.6
Beltre, Adrian	TEX	314	0.331	0.363	0.538	0.901	0.383	2.1
Moustakas, Mike	KCA	296	0.264	0.331	0.472	0.803	0.348	1.8
Lawrie, Brett	TOR	320	0.290	0.338	0.434	0.772	0.338	1.7
Rodriguez, Alex	NYA	321	0.265	0.355	0.437	0.792	0.350	1.3
Seager, Kyle	SEA	295	0.253	0.310	0.446	0.756	0.324	1.0
Plouffe, Trevor	MIN	221	0.245	0.326	0.541	0.867	0.365	0.7
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Wright, David	NYN	325	0.355	0.449	0.564	1.013	0.438	3.7
Headley, Chase	SDN	333	0.271	0.369	0.415	0.784	0.350	2.0
Freese, David	STL	290	0.280	0.331	0.481	0.812	0.350	1.5
Ramirez, Aramis	MIL	300	0.262	0.337	0.464	0.801	0.347	1.4
Ramirez, Hanley	FLO	333	0.259	0.333	0.441	0.774	0.338	1.0
Johnson, Chris	HOU	287	0.280	0.324	0.414	0.738	0.324	0.6
Alvarez, Pedro	PIT	263	0.226	0.297	0.477	0.774	0.328	0.6

If this were a battle of hot corner thumpers of the last six weeks, it might be Trevor Plouffe and Pedro Alvarez facing off next Tuesday night. But the rest of the season counts, too, so no dice. Miguel Cabrera‘s stick apparently has been sufficient to overcome his questionable glovework. However, would anyone be shocked if Cabrera reprised Dan Uggla’s defensive fiasco of four seasons ago?

They brought in the fences and resurrected David Wright‘s career. Okay, it’s not that simple, but Wright clearly is back. His .400 average is long gone, but an OPS over 1000 is quite impressive. Patience, power, some speed, and defensive prowess add up to the total package. Wright’s future with the Mets will be an interesting story this winter and beyond.

Advantage: Oh, geez. Both Cabrera and Wright can hit with anyone, but Wright can actually field his position with some elan, so the National League claims this position.

Outfield

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Hamilton, Josh	TEX	314	0.319	0.385	0.652	1.037	0.430	3.7
Jones, Adam	BAL	329	0.300	0.343	0.554	0.897	0.380	3.2
Bautista, Jose	TOR	343	0.239	0.359	0.549	0.908	0.384	2.9
Willingham, J.	MIN	315	0.264	0.378	0.528	0.906	0.390	2.9
Trout, Mike	ANA	258	0.336	0.391	0.526	0.917	0.395	2.6
Jackson, Austin	DET	252	0.326	0.408	0.537	0.945	0.405	2.6
Rios, Alex	CHA	310	0.306	0.342	0.491	0.833	0.358	2.5
Trumbo, Mark	ANA	281	0.313	0.363	0.614	0.977	0.410	2.3
De Aza, A.	CHA	338	0.298	0.366	0.421	0.787	0.348	1.8
Granderson, C.	NYA	350	0.245	0.347	0.510	0.857	0.367	1.6
Choo, Shin-Soo	CLE	319	0.291	0.382	0.471	0.853	0.376	1.5
Reddick, Josh	OAK	326	0.260	0.342	0.517	0.859	0.365	1.4
Gordon, Alex	KCA	343	0.273	0.364	0.417	0.781	0.349	1.3
Murphy, David	TEX	224	0.288	0.379	0.497	0.876	0.380	1.3
Zobrist, Ben	TBA	317	0.252	0.375	0.458	0.833	0.367	1.2
Rasmus, Colby	TOR	318	0.257	0.312	0.476	0.788	0.336	0.9
Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
McCutchen, A.	PIT	312	0.346	0.401	0.593	0.994	0.421	4.0
Braun, Ryan	MIL	315	0.313	0.394	0.611	1.005	0.424	3.3
Bourn, Michael	ATL	355	0.307	0.355	0.442	0.797	0.349	3.2
Prado, Martin	ATL	330	0.323	0.387	0.467	0.854	0.372	2.7
Cabrera, Melky	SFN	336	0.350	0.393	0.514	0.907	0.393	2.6
Stanton, G.	FLO	311	0.279	0.360	0.543	0.903	0.386	2.3
Beltran, Carlos	STL	313	0.310	0.396	0.576	0.972	0.414	2.2
Heyward, Jason	ATL	291	0.272	0.344	0.502	0.846	0.363	2.1
Holliday, Matt	STL	334	0.307	0.389	0.500	0.889	0.386	1.9
Gonzalez, C.	COL	317	0.337	0.394	0.604	0.998	0.423	1.8
Fowler, Dexter	COL	264	0.286	0.381	0.536	0.917	0.386	1.8
Bruce, Jay	CIN	306	0.257	0.327	0.526	0.853	0.358	1.7
Pagan, Angel	SFN	320	0.293	0.340	0.415	0.755	0.330	1.6
Harper, Bryce	WAS	245	0.274	0.347	0.475	0.822	0.356	1.5
Pence, Hunter	PHI	350	0.286	0.351	0.498	0.849	0.366	1.4
Ethier, Andre	LAN	303	0.288	0.353	0.483	0.836	0.361	1.2
Soriano, A.	CHN	293	0.273	0.331	0.494	0.825	0.354	1.2

Like the All-Star ballot, I’m combining all three outfield positions together. Fortunately, the AL’s top three pasture patrollers can be aligned defensively without any issues. Josh Hamilton, despite playing a good amount of center field this season, will man left, Adam Jones has center completely covered, and Jose Bautista…well, he plays right.

Josh Willingham is right there with Bautista—and in fewer at-bats—but I’m going with Joey Bats’ thump. Also, with Mike Trout taking the world by storm, expect to see him in the game early, maybe making another spectacular play like this one.

Oh, the difficulty of where to put two genuine center fielders. Actually, it might be a good idea to put Andrew McCutchen in one corner and Michael Bourn in the other so they can flank—and cover for—Ryan Braun. Crazier thing have been done right? Um, well, maybe.

Advantage: Bourn’s comparatively weak bat give the AL the power advantage, but the NL has the defensive edge. I’m deferring to the numbers and the National League’s narrow, 10.5-9.8 lead.

Designated hitter

Name	        Org	PA	BA	OBP	SLG	OPS	wOBA	WAR
Ortiz, David	BOS	321	0.307	0.396	0.621	1.017	0.427	2.9
Encarnacion, E.	TOR	323	0.289	0.365	0.570	0.935	0.396	2.2
Butler, Billy	KCA	310	0.297	0.365	0.516	0.881	0.380	1.6
Dunn, Adam	CHA	339	0.213	0.363	0.515	0.878	0.376	1.4

Like Jason Voorhees, David Ortiz keeps coming back. He’s been written off a couple of times in the last few years, but he’s putting up stellar numbers in 2012. Ortiz literally has no competition in the NL, so there’s no advantage to analyze, at least not until Tony LaRussa names a DH for his squad.

Starting pitcher

Name	        Org	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	WAR
Verlander, J.	DET	123.7	2.69	0.98	8.80	2.11	0.73	3.8
Peavy, Jake	CHA	112.7	2.96	0.98	8.07	1.92	0.88	3.1
Wilson, C.J.	ANA	92.3	2.44	1.15	7.70	3.80	0.39	3.1
Sale, Chris	CHA	88.3	2.24	0.96	9.07	2.34	0.41	3.1
Hernandez, F.	SEA	110.7	3.09	1.22	9.27	2.60	0.73	2.9
Price, David	TBA	104.7	2.92	1.22	8.34	3.01	0.77	2.9
Hammel, Jason	BAL	89.7	2.61	1.11	8.73	2.91	0.70	2.8
Harrison, Matt	TEX	105.3	3.16	1.23	5.56	2.14	0.60	2.6
Kuroda, Hiroki	NYA	102.3	3.17	1.22	7.04	2.73	1.06	2.6
Morrow, Brandon	TOR	77.7	2.43	0.99	7.76	2.78	0.81	2.6
McCarthy, B.	OAK	78.0	2.54	1.21	6.00	2.19	0.58	2.5
Weaver, Jered	ANA	75.0	2.40	0.91	7.20	2.04	0.60	2.5
Name	        Org	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	WAR
Dickey, R.A.	NYN	113.0	2.15	0.89	9.24	1.99	0.72	4.1
Cueto, Johnny	CIN	107.7	2.26	1.14	6.60	2.09	0.42	3.8
Cain, Matt	SFN	113.7	2.53	0.95	9.02	1.82	0.79	3.7
Bumgarner, M.	SFN	110.7	2.85	1.06	7.48	1.79	0.81	3.2
McDonald, James	PIT	90.3	2.19	0.95	8.27	2.39	0.40	3.2
Kershaw, C.	LAN	102.3	2.73	1.01	8.36	2.20	0.88	3.1
Beachy, Brandon	ATL	81.0	2.00	0.96	7.56	3.22	0.67	3.1
Capuano, Chris	LAN	100.3	2.69	1.10	7.99	2.78	0.99	3.0
Vogelsong, Ryan	SFN	89.7	2.41	1.15	6.42	3.21	0.60	3.0
Dempster, Ryan	CHN	81.0	2.11	1.01	7.33	2.44	0.67	3.0
Hamels, Cole	PHI	111.0	3.08	1.10	9.00	2.27	0.97	2.9
Santana, Johan	NYN	98.0	2.76	1.09	8.54	3.03	0.83	2.9
Greinke, Zack	MIL	96.0	2.81	1.18	9.28	1.97	0.28	2.8
Lohse, Kyle	STL	94.7	2.85	1.11	5.13	1.43	0.76	2.7
Miley, Wade	ARI	94.0	2.87	1.06	6.32	1.82	0.67	2.7
Strasburg, S.	WAS	93.0	2.81	1.08	11.81	2.61	0.58	2.7
Gonzalez, Gio	WAS	84.7	2.55	1.05	10.73	3.61	0.11	2.7
Zimmermann, J.	WAS	90.3	2.89	1.12	6.38	1.69	1.10	2.5

The AL has a number of strong candidates, but how can you deny the repeated stellar performance of Justin Verlander? He’s doing his best to keep the Tigers in the AL Central race, and he’s the American League’s best bet to keep the National League off the board early.

I have no idea where R.A. Dickey‘s performance has come from—okay, the fastest knuckleball in history plays a big part—but the fact is that Dickey has the best numbers of any starter in baseball this season. And as a 37-year-old knuckleballer, he may be able to keep it up for several more seasons.

Advantage: A starter going two innings can have only so much impact, but the NL has 10 pitchers at 3.0 WAR or better to the AL’s four. Every hitter would dread facing such an entourage inning after inning, but the AL batters would appear to have a bit more of an uphill battle.

Closer

Name	        Org	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	WAR
Rodney, F.	TBA	34.7	1.04	0.72	9.08	1.30	0.26	1.7
Strop, Pedro	BAL	36.0	1.25	1.11	7.75	4.75	0.25	1.7
Johnson, Jim	BAL	34.7	1.30	0.78	5.71	2.33	0.78	1.6
Downs, Scott	ANA	26.0	0.35	1.04	6.23	2.08	0.00	1.5
Cook, Ryan	OAK	33.0	1.64	1.00	9.82	5.73	0.00	1.4
Nathan, Joe	TEX	31.7	1.99	0.95	10.79	1.14	0.57	1.2
Soriano, Rafael	NYA	28.0	1.61	1.36	8.04	3.21	0.00	1.2
Broxton, J.	KCA	29.7	2.12	1.35	6.67	3.33	0.30	1.1
Wilhelmsen, Tom	SEA	38.0	2.84	1.11	11.13	2.61	0.71	1.1
Janssen, Casey	TOR	30.7	2.64	0.91	9.09	1.47	1.17	1.0
Perez, Chris	CLE	29.3	2.77	1.02	9.22	2.15	0.31	0.9
Name	        Org	IP	ERA	WHIP	K/9	BB/9	HR/9	WAR
Hughes, Jared	PIT	38.7	2.09	1.14	4.65	3.02	0.70	1.4
Kimbrel, Craig	ATL	29.0	1.55	0.79	14.59	3.10	0.31	1.3
Clippard, Tyler	WAS	33.3	1.89	0.93	10.54	4.05	0.00	1.3
Chapman, A.	CIN	35.3	2.04	0.76	15.55	2.80	0.76	1.3
Jansen, Kenley	LAN	34.3	2.36	0.85	14.17	3.15	1.05	1.2
Burnett, Sean	WAS	28.7	1.57	0.94	8.78	2.20	0.63	1.2
Hanrahan, Joel	PIT	29.0	2.17	1.07	10.86	4.34	1.24	1.1
Hernandez, D.	ARI	32.0	2.53	1.13	13.50	3.94	0.56	1.0
Casilla, S.	SFN	29.0	2.79	1.21	8.38	2.79	1.55	0.9
Shaw, Bryan	ARI	31.0	2.90	1.26	6.97	2.90	0.87	0.9
Papelbon, J.	PHI	28.7	2.82	1.08	10.98	2.20	0.94	0.8
Marshall, Sean	CIN	28.7	2.82	1.18	11.29	1.88	0.63	0.8
Cruz, Juan	PIT	25.3	2.49	1.62	9.60	4.27	0.71	0.8
Motte, Jason	STL	33.7	3.47	1.04	9.08	3.20	1.34	0.7
Betancourt, R.	COL	28.7	3.14	1.08	9.41	2.20	0.94	0.7

Pedro Strop and Jared Hughes are on these lists to show just how fickle half-seasons by relievers can be, and that no-names can be world-beaters for a given stretch.

Sticking with the saves generators, Fernando Rodney and Jim Johnson could serve as co-stoppers on this squad. Each has more than 20 saves, an ERA a touch above 1.00 and a WHIP under 0.80, but Rodney’s killer K-rate (9.1) , K:BB ratio (7.0:1) and HR/9 rate (0.26) earn him ninth-inning duties.

Craig Kimbrel is striking out 14.6 batter per nine innings, an astronomical number that rings in as only second-best in this group. Aroldis Chapman tops him by nearly a batter per innings. Amazingly, these two former wild men have kept their proclivities to issue free passes in check this year, further enhancing their contributions. Based on experience, I’ll let Chapman do the setup work in the eighth inning and Kimbrel slam the door in the ninth.

Advantage: Rodney and Johnson have performed better so far in 2012, but their underlying stats are less sustainable, so I’m going with the top-notch flame-throwers in the NL to seal a victory.

The final tally

The top American Leaguers at each position, including DH, combine for 30.9 WAR, while the National League gets 32.1 WAR without the aid of a ninth hitter in the lineup. Add Martin Prado, Melky Cabrera or Giancarlo Stanton to the mix, and that advatage just grows.

It’s one game, so anything can happen—well, except this, supposedly—so it’s probably best to just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

References & Resources
WAR values come from THT’s Forecasts, created by the unstoppable, inimitable Brian Cartwright.

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Comments

  1. Greg Simons said...

    Ben, thanks for pointing this out.  The headers for the pitcher stat columns were shifted to the left one column, but it’s fixed now.

  2. Jonathan said...

    No, Middlebrooks on the 3B list? Higher WAR than Plouffe, third best wOBA of that bunch.

    Likewise for Daniel Nava, he’s got 1.9 WAR (Good for right smack in the middle of that list with a .385 wOBA.

    I know neither started the season with the team, but both lead the Red Sox in starts at their respective positions on the year.

    Middlebrooks is hurt right now, though not on the DL. I could maybe see that hurting him, but I think he’s worthy of mention considering his performance. Nava, meanwhile, definitely bears mention. He’s been a long time AAAA retread, but he’s been performing to a high level for almost two months now and if guys like Murphy can rate the list, I don’t see any reason to keep Nava off of it.

  3. Greg Simons said...

    Jonathan,

    Middlebrooks is someone I figured would be brought up.  He’s 20 PA shy of qualifying, and his 1.1 WAR (THT’s version) would be well short of M. Cabrera’s mark.

    Nava’s been even better at 1.4 WAR, but he’s 29 PA below my cutoff.

    Both have been very good players and worthy of the attention they’re getting.

  4. Paul E said...

    Hey, am I bending the rules here?:

    Beltran   RF
    Braun     DH
    McCutcheon CF
    Cargo     LF

    Maybe Bourn isn’t needed in CF with McCutcheon possibly battling Votto for M V P….

  5. Greg Simons said...

    Paul E – subjectively, I wouldn’t object to that setup at all.  And the variability of defensive evaluations indicates Bourn’s 1.0-WAR advantage over Beltran might not be quite that large.  (And Beltran’s nearly 200-point edge in OPS is rather massive.)  That’s a pretty intimidating four hitters for any pitcher to face.

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