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Friday, June 29, 2012

Meet the AL WAR-Stars - By Jason Epstein - Right Field - National Review Online

I always like seeing WAR lists.

3B: Mike Moustakas 2.8

Yup, you read that right. Moustakas, armed with a .277/.346/.496 slash line and superior defense in only his second big-league season, has edged out monsters Brett Lawrie, Adrian Beltre, and Miguel Cabrera.

While Moustakas may be a relative unknown beyond eastern Kansas and western Missouri, you may have watched his role in this “crazy, crazy” end to a game against the Cardinals.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: all star game, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4169533)
I blame Obama.
   2. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4169562)
Pretty interesting group of players. Young players ascending to stardom (Moustakas, Andrus and Trout), stars in their prime (Hamilton (I am choosing to ignore the Alex Gordon selection because it is silly), Mauer, Cano), and some resurrected vets (Encarnacion and Konerko).

And there is Mark Trumbo, who I guess I have to believe in because a .311 ISO is insane.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4169573)
What accounts for Gordon's big WAR bump on defense? Just his arm? He seems like a good defender in LF, but not an exceptional LF. His arm has been a weapon though, but throwing guys out happens so rarely I can't imagine it makes a huge difference, does it?
   4. Rants Mulliniks Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4169574)
Has anyone figured out what Lawrie's WAR would be without all the plays in shallow RF? His WAR (MLB leading 4.8) isn't indicative of anything unless you can do that.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4169576)
I always like seeing WAR lists.
Why?
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4169578)
If the 2nd best center fielder is better than the best left fielder, that CF should be the starter in left. This year, all four of the best outfielders in the American League are center fielders - Trout, Hamilton, Jones, and Jackson.

This is JE's starting outfield: Gordon, Trout, Trumbo

I can choose a backup outfield composed of players who have in the aggregate been better so far in 2012: Jones, Jackson, Hamilton
   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4169582)
Has anyone figured out what Lawrie's WAR would be without all the plays in shallow RF? His WAR (MLB leading 4.8) isn't indicative of anything unless you can do that.
That's a really big problem with DRS, the defensive component of Baseball-Reference's WAR. JE is using Fangraphs' WAR, which uses UZR, which I believe basically just ignores plays with the shift on. Lawrie is +8 in UZR, which is the realm of reasonable.
   8. Good cripple hitter Posted: June 29, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4169583)
Has anyone figured out what Lawrie's WAR would be without all the plays in shallow RF? His WAR (MLB leading 4.8) isn't indicative of anything unless you can do that.


His oWAR's 1.5, so that would be his WAR if you consider him an average defender at third and not the "Brooks Robinson with Fielding Armor C" defender baseball reference seems to think he is. I wouldn't be surprised if he was found to be an above average defender, but even that shouldn't take him too far away from 2 WAR.
   9. Cowboy Popup Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4169585)
What accounts for Gordon's big WAR bump on defense? Just his arm? He seems like a good defender in LF, but not an exceptional LF. His arm has been a weapon though, but throwing guys out happens so rarely I can't imagine it makes a huge difference, does it?

Shouldn't the Royals fan be explaining this to us!?!

UZR gives his arm 5 runs so far on 6 assists. So maybe guys aren't advancing at all on him. I wonder if Gardner not playing has lowered the average enough that if Gordon's play stayed the same from last year (which was +9), the value would go up relative to the average. Of course, the correct answer is probably the sample size, but it's no fun just saying that.

I can choose a backup outfield composed of players who have in the aggregate been better so far in 2012: Jones, Jackson, Hamilton

Forgot about Jones and Jackson! How crazy would it be to see Jones, Jackson and Trout in the same OF? No offense to Hamilton, but that would be an absolutely insane OF. Or hell, bench one of em and put Hamilton's cannon in right. Wow, I hope something like that lineup happens in the All-Star, I would actually watch the game for the first time in a decade and hope for nothing but balls hit to the gap.
   10. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4169590)
BBref WAR has Lawrie as the best player in baseball. That is freaking ridiculous. 3.5 dWAR
   11. TomH Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4169591)
the bigger questrion is, why would you use "WAR in 2012" as the sole source selection for an all-star team, as if all other data is irrelevant. I liked James' take on this in one of his 80s Abstracts: "do you want to have a mediocrities-who-had-good-first-halves game? We can play it in Cleveland every year"
   12. Jim Furtado Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4169592)
I always like seeing WAR lists.
Why?

I like seeing the lists because they always contain someone I didn't notice was doing so well.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4169596)
Shouldn't the Royals fan be explaining this to us!?!


Well that's what I'm saying. I see him play with my eyes, and I'm his biggest fan, but I don't think he warrants such a big bump on defense.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4169603)
the bigger questrion is, why would you use "WAR in 2012" as the sole source selection for an all-star team, as if all other data is irrelevant.
To be fair, JE didn't say in this article that he would choose the All-Star team based on their WAR numbers over a partial season.

I agree about All-Star voting, though. When I make my All-Star picks, I choose (a) the best players, and (b) the players I most want to see on the field, and I use mid-season performance to break ties.

C: Joe Mauer
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Robinson Cano
SS: Elvis Andrus
3B: Adrian Beltre
OF: Josh Hamilton
OF: Mike Trout
OF: Jose Bautista
DH: David Ortiz

vs

C: Yadier Molina
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Help me out here, um, Brandon Phillips maybe?
SS: Jose Reyes
3B: David Wright
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Andrew McCutchen
OF: Bryce Harper
DH: Carlos Beltran
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4169608)
the bigger questrion is, why would you use "WAR in 2012" as the sole source selection for an all-star team, as if all other data is irrelevant. I liked James' take on this in one of his 80s Abstracts: "do you want to have a mediocrities-who-had-good-first-halves game? We can play it in Cleveland every year"


Agreed, I usually like to add subjectivity to the list, but even if I'm not adding subjectivity, it seems wrong/unfair to not at least include the second half of last season stats when looking at players. (of course you can ignore second half of last season for injured players and rookies)

I like to think of the voting as a combination 1. current performance 2. last 365 days performance 3. last 3-5 years of performance 4. career to date 5. future considerations(such as bonus for players who are sure to be all stars for the next generation who might not quite be there yet or for long time veteran players who might be on their last hurrah)

   16. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4169625)
Given that Utley basically hasn't played this season, I think 2B should probably go to Phillips. But if someone wants to go with Aaron Hill instead, I wouldn't argue too much given that he's been pretty awesome since going to Arizona.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4169626)
Given that Utley basically hasn't played this season, I think 2B should probably go to Phillips. But if someone wants to go with Aaron Hill instead, I wouldn't argue too much given that he's been pretty awesome since going to Arizona.


At home. That's one of the most remarkable home/road splits in the game right now - 1.063 OPS at home, .622 on the road.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: June 29, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4169631)
Fangraphs war for NL would go

C Ruiz(4.0)
1b Votto(4.8)
2b Hill(
SS Jed Lowrie
3b Wright(4.6)
LF Braun(4.1)
CF Bourn(3.7)
RF Heyward (3.1) ---(Cabrera 3.1, Prado 3.4 miss out because they primarily played LF)

Doesn't really seem that impressive.


   19. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 29, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4169656)
From TFA:
RF: Mark Trumbo, 2.6

Trumbo has played five defensive positions this season as the Angels try to keep his monster bat (.610 slugging percentage) in the lineup. It took teammate Torii Hunter’s lengthy trip to the restricted list to give him enough time in right field to qualify for the WAR-Star list and edge out Jose Bautista.

Which is weird, because the correct answer is Josh Reddick.
   20. TDF, situational idiot Posted: June 29, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4169674)
Doesn't really seem that impressive.
Um, really? That's the top 4 in fWAR (Votto, Wright, Braun, Ruiz), #7 (Bourn), and #15 (Heyward), skipping over #10 (Prado), 12 (Yadi Molina), 13 (Headley), and 14 (Cabrera). That would leave Trout (5), Cano (6), Hamilton (8), Jackson (9), and Jones (11) in the AL, and one of the OFs would be on the bench.

Even taking into account Trout's awsomeness, that's a huge advantage to the NL.
   21. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 29, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4169690)
I agree that that's a pretty good lineup. And it would look even more impressive if Utley and Tulowitzki were healthy enough to be in it like they normally would be.
   22. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 29, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4169693)
At home. That's one of the most remarkable home/road splits in the game right now - 1.063 OPS at home, .622 on the road.


Tommy Milone, batters against:
Home - .463 OPS
Away - .891 OPS

Even more extreme before the excellent performance Monday at the Mariners.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 29, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4169699)
Um, really? That's the top 4 in fWAR (Votto, Wright, Braun, Ruiz), #7 (Bourn), and #15 (Heyward), skipping over #10 (Prado), 12 (Yadi Molina), 13 (Headley), and 14 (Cabrera). That would leave Trout (5), Cano (6), Hamilton (8), Jackson (9), and Jones (11) in the AL, and one of the OFs would be on the bench.

Even taking into account Trout's awsomeness, that's a huge advantage to the NL.


By impressive, I mean how many of those players are going to be looked at as stars 20 years from now? Yes Votto and Braun are legitimate all time players. Wright will be remembered as a hall of very good type of player. and Heyward is the young and upcomer, but that is it. I wasn't comparing it to the AL war leaders, just listing what it would be, and noting that it's not really that impressive of a group of all stars.

There is no McCutchen(who I will argue, will probably be the best overall centerfielder for the 2010's ) there is no Molina or McCann, there is no secondbaseman of note, and the shortstop is a one year wonder(who maybe will have a 4 year career if he can ever be healthy for 100 consecutive games)
   24. geonose Posted: June 29, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4169738)
Has anyone figured out what Lawrie's WAR would be without all the plays in shallow RF? His WAR (MLB leading 4.8) isn't indicative of anything unless you can do that.

Baseball Prospectus did an article, and it's not behind their paywall:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17183
   25. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 29, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4169781)
Because precisely no one asked, here are my 34-man All-Star rosters. Every team has a rep, and I tried to strike a balance between this season's performance and previous performance. Otherwise, there's a chance you look back on B-Ref in five years, crinkle your nose, and say, "Remember when Melky Cabrera started the All-Star Game?"

Last player cut was Bryce Harper.

AL All-Stars
C Mauer
1B M. Cabrera
2B Cano
SS A. Cabrera
3B Beltre
LF Hamilton
CF Trout
RF Jones
DH Ortiz
SP Verlander

C Wieters
1B Pujols
2B Kipnis
SS Escobar
3B Lawrie
3B Moustakas
OF Bautista
OF Reddick
OF Choo
OF Gordon
OF A. Jackson
UT Trumbo

P Sale
P Peavy
P Wilson
P Price
P Hernandez
P Weaver
P Hammel
P Kuroda
P Harrison
P J. Johnson
P Frieri
P Nathan

Teams
LAA 6
BAL 4
TEX 4
CLE 3
DET 3
TOR 3
CHW 2
KCR 2
NYY 2
BOS 1
MIN 1
OAK 1
TBR 1
SEA 1

---

NL All-Stars
C Ruiz
1B Votto
2B Phillips
SS Castro
3B Wright
LF Braun
CF McCutchen
RF Holliday
DH Beltran
SP Cain

C Molina
C Posey
1B C. Jones
2B Hill
SS Lowrie
3B Headley
OF C. Gonzalez
OF Heyward
OF Stanton
OF Bourn
OF Cabrera
UT Prado

P Dickey
P Gonzalez
P Strasburg
P Kershaw
P Zimmermann
P Hamels
P Bumgarner
P Greinke
P Cueto
P Clippard
P Chapman
P Kimbrel

Teams
ATL 5
CIN 4
SFG 4
WSH 4
STL 3
MIL 2
NYM 2
PHI 2
ARI 1
COL 1
CHC 1
HOU 1
LAD 1
MIA 1
PIT 1
SDP 1
   26. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 29, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4169797)
That's not bad at all. I think I would probably be inclined to put Wade Miley on the team before Clippard, though it's by no means a major gripe.
   27. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 29, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4169819)
I have an informal rule to pick at least three relievers and Clippard's been really good. Miley, I think, was the last NL pitcher I left off.
   28. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 29, 2012 at 07:44 PM (#4169826)
Miguel Cabrera, who has played all of 1 inning at 1B this year, is your starting firstbaseman?
   29. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 29, 2012 at 09:19 PM (#4169848)
I could swap him and Ortiz defensively, but I don't think it's out-of-bounds to start him there. Otherwise, you're left with undeserving starters (Pujols/Fielder with off years, Konerko with missing games, Encarnacion with a hot half-season).
   30. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 29, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4169859)
I could swap him and Ortiz defensively, but I don't think it's out-of-bounds to start him there. Otherwise, you're left with undeserving starters (Pujols/Fielder with off years, Konerko with missing games, Encarnacion with a hot half-season).


I don't think any of that justifies putting a non-firstbaseman at first*. Konerko has played a grand total of 8 fewer games than Cabrera, his OPS+ is 10 points higher (and so far tonight is 3-3 with a walk and a HR), and has the same oWAR (minus the position adjustment). I fail to see how he'd be undeserving.

*Yes, I know he's an out of position firstbaseman playing third, but those are the breaks.
   31. chisoxcollector Posted: June 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM (#4169868)
I agree with the previous poster. Roster looks good, but Konerko has to be on the team.
   32. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 29, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4169879)
Scratch Escobar and replace him with Andrus.

Konerko is a tough one to leave off. The reserve outfielders get you most of the way to his hitting production while also playing good defense. I don't feel great about having Harrison on the staff, so perhaps Konerko could replace him.
   33. chisoxcollector Posted: June 29, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4169912)
I'd drop any one of Choo, Reddick, Gordon, or Trumbo for Konerko. Especially Reddick and Trumbo since you're including previous performance. Is Trumbo supposed to be good defensively?

Defensive stats for first baseman are mostly garbage. Konerko consistently rates poorly, and I just don't buy it.
   34. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 30, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4169995)
Konerko is a tough one to leave off. The reserve outfielders get you most of the way to his hitting production while also playing good defense. I don't feel great about having Harrison on the staff, so perhaps Konerko could replace him.


Well again, Konerko has been just as productive at the plate as cabrera, while having the huge advantage of actually playing first base this year. I could maybe see it if Miggy were blowing him away hitting wise but that just isn't the case.

Konerko oWAR - 2.4
Cabrera oWAR - 2.6

But Cabrera's oWAR includes a +1 run position adjustment, while Paulie's has a -5. Adjusting for that and Konerko is ahead, which is fair because we are tying to figure out who is the more deserving firstbaseman.

Now, Migy's the better player no doubt. But Paulie's no Johnny come lately. Yes, he's having a flukey first half batting average wise, but he's a good player and has been very goos the last 2.5 years. I don't see how Miggy overcomes that.

edit: To be clear, if Miggy were actually playing firstbase this year, I'd have no objection to him starting the ASG. Small differences in production are nothing to quibble about and Miggy is the far better player historically, and is likely to be the better player by the end of the year. But to move over from another position as a usurper... well, I think he needs more. Either he's having a great season (and then, why wouldn't he start at 3rd?), or there is no deserving firstbaseman, and with Konerko, that isn't the case.
   35. JE (Jason) Posted: June 30, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4169997)
Which is weird, because the correct answer is Josh Reddick.

Sure, but at the time the list was constructed -- Thursday afternoon -- Trumbo was out in front, with Bautista second.

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