The ballots have been tallied both online and in each of the 32 stadiums hosting Major League Baseball. As expected, the voters made excellent decisions, except for when they didn’t. Over the next two days I will look at the best candidates and spend some time examining the statistical legacy each has left during the first half of the 2012 season. Today we will leave the Blog Red Machine norm and start with the American League squad. You will notice this squad is not called the Yankees American League squad or the Rangers American League squad yet you would think they were the only two teams in the league when you look over the results. Let’s take a peek at the numbers and see what we can find. The stats I will use for this comparison among position players are batting average, runs, RBI, HR, OPS, SB, and Errors.
It is fitting, with apologies to Johnny Cueto, that we start here with the most egregious mistake on the 2012 All Star Game roster. The voters loyal to the Texas Rangers selected Mike Napoli as the Catcher elected to the All Star Team. Before I write more about this mistake here are the numbers.
|A.J. Pierzynski||C||White Sox||.285||36||45||14||.849||0||2||Out|
Let me start with a rule of thumb. Star behavior does not include failing to hit the ball three quarters of the time. So when I look over this list I see Mike Napoli who was elected by the voters and Matt Wieters who was selected by the players. Looking at the stats, neither can build a compelling argument to be a part of this team. Ron Washington righted on of these wrongs by adding Joe Mauer to the team. That leaves just one deserving candidate off of the team: A.J. Pierzynski. As a side note AJ earned my vote but Mauer is also an excellent choice, Washington did a good job.
Prince Fielder won the National League 1B vote in 2011 over the reigning MVP Joey Votto and Albert Pujols while playing for the small market Milwaukee Brewers because he is a pretty good ballplayer. Now with Fielder and Pujols in the American League and Pujols only now beginning to show signs of life, this race was over before it began. In order to paint an accurate picture, here are the stats to back up the argument.
|Paul Konerko||1B||White Sox||.336||38||40||14||.969||0||1||Players|
Paul Konerko has done a good job but Fielder has more runs scored and more RBI. Looking at Abert’s numbers I would guess that if he had one more month this race would become a lot more interesting.
I have mixed feelings about this race. In truth, I can not fault the decisions of anyone involved. I voted for Jason Kipnis, and his numbers are excellent, in fact they are almost exactly the same as those of Brandon Phillips, but you can’t argue with the performance of Robinson Cano or Ian Kinsler. Here are the stats:
The biggest difference between Kipnis and Phillips is the stolen base totals. There is a little surprise from a Cleveland perspective but no verbal comment by Jason. He looks like a good player but as yet does not have the pedigree to get elected.
One of the challenges the All Star Game presents is there are certain players that have such popularity they generate votes across the country for their career body of work. In a year where his stats are better than they were last year, Derek Jeter can do no wrong. As good as his numbers are, Asdrubal Cabrera and Elvis Andrus numbers are better. Mike Aviles production numbers make him competitive as well.
|Mike Aviles||SS||Red Sox||.266||39||43||9||.705||9||7||Out|
I voted for Cabrera and I think convincing arguments can be made for both he and Andrus. In the end for me it was Cabrera’s defense that make him the best choice. I do not have a problem though with Jeter making this team.
As much as I think Fielder was a no brainer at first base, I felt Miguel Cabrera was a lock at third. Enter the Rangers bias into this election. Adrian Beltre deserves to be on the All Star team I just think the fans made an error in judgement selecting him as the starter over Cabrera.
Always the most complicated position because you are selecting 3 players the choices are quite interesting this year. I like watching home runs but in truth home runs do not make a player great. Production makes a player an All Star. Josh Hamilton
is a man on fire receiving the most votes of any player this year on the strength of his 25 home runs but more importantly, his 124 runs produced (R+RBI). He was an easy choice, after that the complications ensue.
|Jose Bautista||RF||Blue Jays||.239||56||62||26||.908||4||2||Fans|
It is hard to argue with the production numbers of either Curtis Granderson or Jose Bautista and I wouldn’t except for the stats of the competition. In the end OPS separates the contestants in my mind. Austin Jackson should be on this squad and the weak links for me are Adam Jones and Curtis Granderson. I also have to interject that the rest of the league should take note of these numbers and recognize this will be the last year, possibly in a decade, that Mike Trout is not elected to the team. His numbers are incredible given that he started the season in AAA.
How I hate the designated hitter, let me count the ways…well, I won’t bore you with that here. Instead we should examine the numbers.
|David Ortiz||DH||Red Sox||.305||57||53||21||1.006||0||Fans|
|Adam Dunn||DH||White Sox||.213||44||58||24||.878||0||Players|
|Edwin Encarnacion||DH||Blue Jays||.289||50||55||22||.936||8||Out|
So the fans got it right, Ortiz is head and shoulders above the rest. After that I am lost. Adam Dunn is one of my favorite former Reds players, I am thrilled he has become productive again. But an All Star? With a .213 batting average and 126 strikeouts? This strikeout total makes the number Drew Stubbs posted last season seem insignificant. If this number is projected through the season he will break the record for most strikeouts in a season by 50! There is no excuse Edwin Encarnacion did not make the cut. His numbers are better than either Butler or Dunn so both the players and Ron Washington made a mistake in my opinion.
This creates new questions. First, why are fans entrusted with selecting the starting lineup but not any pitching? Why are the final vote competitors in the AL all pitchers? We will never know. Here are the numbers.
|Chris Sale||SP||White Sox||2.27||0.97||9||2||.198||94||24||Players|
|Jake Peavy||SP||White Sox||2.96||0.99||6||5||.215||101||24||Final|
|Brandon Morrow||SP||Blue Jays||3.01||1.00||7||4||.194||67||24||Out|
My complaints here revolve around a number of players on and one off the roster. CC Sabathia has a wonderful track record but his WHIP, his ERA and the batting average against him are both elevated more than they should be, he wins because of the Yankees offence. The same can be said for the Rangers Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison. I give a pass to Felix Hernandez of the Mariners as he had to be selected as the lone representative of his team. That brings me to the one off the roster, the Blue Jays Brandon Morrow. Morrow has a slightly elevated ERA, but the rest of his numbers are outstanding. Only Jered Weaver has a lower opponent batting average and he is one of 5 on the list with a WHIP of one or less. Morrow should be on this team.
Yarvish, Peavy and Hammel are part of the final selection group. Peavy is the best of this group but ultimately I would not pick any of them, for the we must take a look at the relievers.
This is the hardest decision of all. In this category we are forced to compare apples occasionaly to oranges. Here are the numbers.
Let’s return to the AL Final Vote, in addition to the 3 starters Jonathan Broxton and Ernesto Frieri are tossed into the mix. Peavy would be my choice among the starters but Frieri’s ERA, WHIP, and opponent average are exceptional and worth of his choice. That leaves one odd man out, Frieri’s teammate Scott Downs. Downs numbers demand more attention but that is the problem with set up men. It is very difficult to get them invited to the show. He deserves better.
Tomorrow I will review the National League choices and see if National League fans and players do a better job than their American League counterparts. Finally I will go where you knew I would and discuss the involvement of retired manager and MLB employee Tony LaRussa. Stay tuned!
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Topics: 2012 All Star Game, A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, Adam Jones, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Asdrubal Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Brandon Morrow, Brandon Phillips, CC Sabathia, Chris Perez, Chris Sale, CJ Wilson, Curtis Granderson, David Ortiz, David Price, Derek Jeter, Drew Stubbs, Edwin Encarnacion, Elvis Andrus, Ernesto Frieri, Felix Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Ian Kinsler, Jake Peavy, Jason Hammel, Jason Kipnis, Jered Weaver, Jim Johnson, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Joey Votto, Jonathan Broxton, Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Josh Willingham, Justin Verlander, Mark Trumbo, Matt Harrison, Matt Wieters, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Aviles, Mike Napoli, Mike Trout, Paul Konerko, Prince Fielder, Robinson Cano, Ron Washington, Ryan Cook, Scott Downs, Vinnie Pestano, Yu Darvish