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Screwing Up The All-Star Rosters
2007-07-02 21:42
by Mike Carminati

[With nods to my friend Chris, "The Baseball Procrastinator", for the title]

Mike Bauman at MLB.COM opines that "[t]he voting for the 2007 All-Star Game indicates, more than anything else, that the fans have been paying attention." I beg to differ with the estimable Mr. Bauman—truthfully, I don't know if writing for MLB requires more than a head for the byline picture—, but the fans' vote was as unfathomable as ever to me.

I mean, there were a few favorable signs: Russell Martin, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, all are young players that are the best at their respective positions that were tabbed to start the All-Star Game by the fans. But really Martin and Utley had no real competition and these plusses in no way outweigh the minuses at other positions.

Selecting Ivan Rodriguez was particularly indefensible given that he is not even in the top five catchers in the AL this year. Pudge is not in Jorge Posada's or Victor Martinez's league, so to speak. Placido Polanco is having a nice season as usual, but Brian Roberts should have been the starting second baseman. Cabrera was a better choice than David Wright at third. Carlos Beltran may have been a worse choice than Pudge Rodriguez—there were nine outfielders that were arguably better than him but did not get chosen.

Actually, Bauman chides the fans for picking Barry Bonds was a "sentimental vote" that it indicates that the " the Giants' 'Vote Bonds' campaign was a big success" and that "voters were willing to overlook the steroid allegations, and give a nod to the weight of Bonds' career". This is completely ludicrous. Bonds is not only arguably still the best outfielder in baseball, he is among the top handful of players in the National League at the age of 42. Bonds is one that the fans got right.

As for the players and managers, they had more than their fair share of bad picks. J.J. Hardy was tabbed as the backup at short for the NL, but Edgar Renteria was a better pick. They also picked Alfonso Soriano, the eighth best NL outfielder, and Carlos Lee, the 15th. In the AL, the players took Justin Morneau, largely because he is the reigning league MVP. He is having a fine season, but at first, he might be the sixth best candidate. They also picked Manny Being Manny Ramirez, the 13th best OF candidate.

By the way, I have to mention that Morneau got tabbed largely because he is the current AL MVP, but the reigning NL MVP got no respect, not even in his hometown. Ryan Howard was the 24th best position player in the NL (by my method below) while Morneau was 23rd, and Howard's been even better since he returned from early season injuries. But Howard is batting in the .250s, so the NL pollsters completely overlook him. What is worse is that in Philly the talk is all about Jimmy Rollins getting snubbed, even though there are two clearly better shortstops who aren't going either. In my opinion, none of these three players should go to the ASG, but it's curious that Morneau can be tabbed to be the only true first baseman on the AL roster.

Tony LaRussa made maybe the worst selection, Freddy Sanchez, arguably the 55th best position player in the NL, as a reserve at second. He overlooked Edgar Renteria, perhaps the best SS candidate. In the AL, Jim Leyland made some very fine selections in Victor Martinez and Brian Roberts, arguably the best players at their respective positions in the league. However, Leyland also picked seventh-best shortstop, Michael Young, and the fourteenth best outfielder, Carl Crawford, and before you say that he had to take Crawford as the obligatory D-Ray, I would argue that Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton were both better selections (even Brendan Harris was). In fact, they were in the top two at their respective positions in the league. With DH David Ortiz as the starting first baseman, Leyland had cause to pick another first baseman—there are four in the NL.

And top-ten players Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, Eric Byrnes, and Edgar Renteria were the big snubs.

As far as the method I used, I ranked the top eighty or so players per league by OPS and then added in rankings for Baseball Prospectus' VORP and Bill James' Win Shares. Ranked the players finally by the average rank. And here are the final results by position:

Russell MartinLAD.8383315426.016 17.67 18CStarterF/P
Bengie MolinaSFO.7495275210.346 50.00 50C
Brian McCannATL.742577528.750 53.00 51CReserveP
Johnny EstradaMIL.727635577.755 58.33 59C
Paul Lo DucaNYM.710704599.349 59.33 64C
Michael BarrettCHC/SDG.708714595.363 64.33 68C
Prince FielderMIL.985314731.29 6.33 41BStarterF/P
Albert PujolsSTL.946815427.612 8.00 61BReserveM
Derrek LeeCHC.92511121526.814 13.33 111BReserveP
Dmitri YoungWAS.89419131223.921 17.33 171BReserveM
Todd HeltonCOL.89517112622.224 22.33 231B
Ryan HowardPHI.93110112618.332 22.67 241B
Adrian GonzalezSDG.8313714716.735 26.33 311B
Lance BerkmanHOU.8423193314.637 33.67 371B
Chase UtleyPHI.985317141.51 1.67 12BStarterF/P
Orlando HudsonARI.85528121522.823 22.00 222BReserveP
Dan UgglaFLA.83334121520.130 26.33 312B
Kelly JohnsonATL.84430112619.731 29.00 352B
Brandon PhillipsCIN.7874184713.339 42.33 442B
Mark DeRosaCHC.8153884711.843 42.67 452B
Jeff KentLAD.8004084712.441 42.67 452B
Freddy SanchezPIT.706729335.561 55.33 552BReserveM
Marcus GilesSDG.6717911261.168 57.67 582B
Miguel CabreraFLA.976515437.93 4.00 23BReserveP
David WrightNYM.8782114729.511 13.00 93BStarterF
Chipper JonesATL1.011293331.87 14.00 123B
Aramis RamirezCHC.9201284721.526 28.33 343B
Jose BautistaPIT.766489339.947 42.67 453B
Edgar RenteriaATL.8792014731.48 11.67 7SS
Jose ReyesNYM.8512916235.35 12.00 8SSStarterF/P
Hanley RamirezFLA.87622121535.16 14.33 13SS
Jimmy RollinsPHI.84132121525.917 21.33 21SS
J.J. HardyMIL.85826121521.227 22.67 24SSReserveP
Troy TulowitzkiCOL.7834393312.142 39.33 40SS
Barry BondsSFO1.1191131240.62 5.00 3LFStarterF
Matt HollidayCOL.9756131235.54 7.33 5LFReserveP
Eric ByrnesARI.8762216226.415 13.00 9LF
Aaron RowandPHI.8682414726.913 14.67 14CFReserveM
Corey HartMIL.92012121524.819 15.33 15RF
Ken Griffey Jr.CIN.964793329.610 16.67 16RFStarterF/P
Hunter PenceHOU.938993325.818 20.00 19CF
Alfonso SorianoCHC.89616112624.819 20.33 20LFReserveP
Chris DuncanSTL.89517121516.536 22.67 24LF
Luis GonzalezLAD.86625121520.329 23.00 27LF
Brad HawpeCOL.90515112620.728 23.00 27RF
Carlos BeltranNYM.83235121523.622 24.00 29CFStarterF
Adam DunnCIN.9131493321.925 24.00 29LF
Josh WillinghamFLA.83235121517.234 28.00 33LF
Carlos LeeHOU.8582693317.533 30.67 36LFReserveP
Xavier NadyPIT.8103993311.744 38.67 38RF
Mike CameronSDG.7734693314.138 39.00 39CF
Ryan ChurchWAS.7724711269.848 40.33 41CF
Bill HallMIL.7824493311.145 40.67 42CF
Jason BayPIT.784429338.750 41.67 43LF

And in the AL:

Victor MartinezCLE.9261217434.68 8.00 6CReserveM
Jorge PosadaNYY.93011102734.29 15.67 17CReserveP
Joe MauerMIN.84728112018.534 27.33 28C
Kenji JohjimaSEA.8084193817.238 39.00 39C
Jason VaritekBOS.7954365813.744 48.33 51C
Ivan RodriguezDET.736668438.259 56.00 60CStarterF
David OrtizBOS.9874131234.87 7.67 4DH/1BStarterF
Kevin YoukilisBOS.9241314929.614 12.00 81B
Carlos PenaTAM.9846131223.419 12.33 101B
Mark TeixeiraTEX.9597102724.018 17.33 181B
Casey KotchmanLAA.90315102721.425 22.33 211B
Justin MorneauMIN.9011693822.720 24.67 231BReserveP
Travis HafnerCLE.8492793818.732 32.33 33DH
Brian RobertsBAL.87021131236.05 12.67 112BReserveM
B.J. UptonTAM.9419121624.417 14.00 152B
Dustin PedroiaBOS.85624112018.831 25.00 252B
Placido PolancoDET.79942121619.230 29.33 322BStarterF/P
Aaron HillTOR.77853112011.852 41.67 412B
Ian KinslerTEX.7874684313.145 44.67 422B
Mark EllisOAK.76358102710.854 46.33 452B
Alex RodriguezNYY1.105117455.21 2.00 13BStarterF/P
Mike LowellBOS.86323102720.428 26.00 273BReserveP
Troy GlausTOR.8981784317.238 32.67 343B
Casey BlakeCLE.8114065815.441 46.33 453B
Melvin MoraBAL.7924565814.542 48.33 513B
Brandon IngeDET.7874684310.356 48.33 513B
Derek JeterNYY.8812015831.611 13.00 12SSStarterF/P
Carlos GuillenDET.9498112031.212 13.33 13SSReserveP
Orlando CabreraLAA.8323316630.613 17.33 18SS
Jhonny PeraltaCLE.8363114922.621 20.33 20SS
Brendan HarrisTAM.83631102721.026 28.00 29SS
Miguel TejadaBAL.7835075318.035 46.00 44SS
Michael YoungTEX.74365102712.748 46.67 48SSReserveM
Magglio OrdonezDET1.061219251.32 2.00 1RFStarterF/P
Vladimir GuerreroLAA.987419240.34 3.33 3RFStarterF/P
Ichiro SuzukiSEA.8851920144.93 7.67 4CFStarterF/P
Grady SizemoreCLE.8682216635.16 11.33 7CFReserve
Curtis GrandersonDET.90614131232.510 12.00 8CF
Gary SheffieldDET.93110121629.515 13.67 14DH
Torii HunterMIN.8941814928.516 14.33 16CFReserveP
Jack CustOAK1.026384320.527 24.33 22DH
Alex RiosTOR.85126102722.621 24.67 23RFReserveM
Reggie WillitsLAA.82934112021.923 25.67 26LF
Nick SwisherOAK.84728102719.529 28.00 29LF
Michael CuddyerMIN.82635112018.732 29.00 31RF
Manny RamirezBOS.8522593818.035 32.67 34LFReserveP
Carl CrawfordTAM.79444121614.542 34.00 36LFReserveM
Kenny LoftonTEX.8173984321.824 35.33 37CF
Gary Matthews Jr.LAA.78251102717.637 38.33 38CF
Mark TeahenKAN.78052112013.046 39.33 40RF
2007-07-03 09:11:45
1.   rbj
Were any of the bad choices done because "every team has to have a representative?"
2007-07-03 10:08:34
2.   JL25and3
It's not at all clear to me that "All-Star" has to mean "the guy having the best half-season so far." I happen to think that that puts all too much emphasis on a short hot streak. Does anyone think that Carlos Pena is a better player than Carl Crawford? Is there really anything egregiously wrong with having last year's batting champion on the team?

I don't see a problem in factoring in last season as well as a guy's career. I do wish that a guy like Brian Roberts were recognized for being as good as he is, and that Yvonne Rodriguez didn't necessarily get a free pass every year. But these aren't really great injustices - hell, this is an entirely meaningless exhibition game. (In my view, it's awful - three days without real baseball.)

And if you're going to have an All-Star game at all, yes, every team should be represented. There's a 10-year-old Royals fan out there who's going to watch the game - and really care - because he wants to see Gil Meche do something good. If the game isn't for that kid, there's no point in having it.

2007-07-15 13:20:05
3.   dmac
Utley for MVP?

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