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Monday, July 14, 2003

The Baseball Primer All-Stars

The Primer contributors pick their midseason favorites.

The Primer Staff voted again this year for our own version of the All-Star team.  The vote is kept relatively wide-open, with few rules; voters are asked to name starters (including starting pitchers) and bench players, and 32 players from each league are selected.  Most voters choose to respect the one-player-per-team rule, but some don’t and we don’t fault them for it.

 

Our All-Stars are listed below.  The starters are chosen solely on the basis of “Starter Votes”, while the backups are chosen on the basis of overall ballot mentions (as a starter or as a reserve).  I don’t feel bound to select one player from each team in this process, though almost all teams are represented here anyway.  However, I did pick 12 pitchers as the managers were instructed to.

 

15 of us voted and if you rearrange the first letters in our names just right, you can spell “DR. JETS, BMW CADGER.”  Without further ado, then:

AL Starters


Jorge Posada, New York Yankees

Carlos Delgado, Toronto Blue Jays

Bret Boone, Seattle Mariners

Hank Blalock, Texas Rangers

Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers

Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox

Vernon Wells, Toronto Blue Jays

Melvin Mora, Baltimore Orioles

Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners

Esteban Loaiza, Chicago White Sox

There were a lot of very close votes for the AL starters, with several one-vote margins but also two unanimous selections.  Posada won 8-7 over Jason Varitek at catcher in a rather stirring come-from-behind victory, and Blalock 6-5 over Corey Koskie at third base after building up an early lead.  Melvin Mora also won out by one vote over Garrett Anderson and Milton Bradley.  The unanimous selections were Delgado at first and Boone at second; Manny Ramirez was very nearly a third but the last vote submitted left him off completely!

NL Starters

 

Javy Lopez, Atlanta Braves

Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies

Jose Vidro, Montreal Expos

Mike Lowell, Florida Marlins

Edgar Renteria, St. Louis Cardinals

Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants

Jim Edmonds, St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Kevin Brown, Los Angeles Dodgers

Most voters did not select a designated hitter for the NL (as it should be), but clearly the choice of the voters would have Pujols or Gary Sheffield.  There were some close votes again; Brown just pipped Jason Schmidt of the Giants by a single vote at pitcher, and Pujols only edged Gary Sheffield by a single outfield vote, although counting up all the votes Pujols was only left off a single ballot as a starter.  Lowell also survived a furious comeback by Scott Rolen at third base, winning an 8-7 tally.  If that vote had gone the other way, there could have been four Cardinal starters.  Other than those votes, the votes were all blowouts, but only one unanimous choice: Jose Vidro swept all the votes at second base.  Even Barry Bonds couldn’t command one of the three starting outfield spots on one voter’s ballot.

AL Bench

 

Jason Varitek, Boston

Jason Giambi, New York

Alfonso Soriano, New York

Corey Koskie, Minnesota

Bill Mueller, Boston

Nomar Garciaparra, Boston

Milton Bradley, Cleveland

Garret Anderson, Anaheim

Dmitri Young, Detroit

Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle

Frank Thomas, Chicago

The “injury replacement”, who had been assured of a spot before losing three votes to Corey Koskie in the last four voters to submit, will be Mike Sweeney.  Koskie almost missed the team, despite handily beating Bill Mueller in the starter voting.  Aubrey Huff was also extremely close, and Eric Byrnes received substantial support in the voting.

AL Bullpen

 

Jamie Moyer, Seattle

Mark Mulder, Oakland

Pedro Martinez, Boston

Roy Halladay, Toronto

Tim Hudson, Oakland

Barry Zito, Oakland

Mike Mussina, New York

Roger Clemens, New York

Brendan Donnelly, Anaheim

Mike MacDougal, Kansas City

Keith Foulke, Oakland

Clemens and Mariano Rivera actually finished tied in the voting, with nothing to select between them, so I selected Clemens, with Rivera qualifying as the top “injury replacement”.  The other pitchers who were closest to making it were two Mariners, Gil Meche and Shigetoshi Hasegawa.  Interestingly, starter Loaiza was the only AL pitcher who appeared on every ballot, which goes to show how fierce the competition for spots in the AL pen was.

NL Bench

 

Ivan Rodriguez, Florida

Jim Thome, Philadelphia

Richie Sexson, Milwaukee

Ray Durham, San Francisco

Jeff Kent, Houston

Scott Rolen, St. Louis

Rafael Furcal, Atlanta

Alex Gonzalez, Florida

Gary Sheffield, Atlanta

Brian Giles, Pittsburgh

Luis Gonzalez, Arizona

Andruw Jones, Atlanta

The “injury replacement” would be Ryan Klesko, who was only fourth in voting for first basemen but nearly beat out Durham and Kent.  The nearest misses other than Klesko were Jose Guillen, Austin Kearns, and Paul Lo Duca.

NL Bullpen

 

Jason Schmidt, San Francisco

Mark Prior, Chicago

Hideo Nomo, Los Angeles

Woody Williams, St. Louis

Kerry Wood, Chicago

Dontrelle Willis, Florida

Shawn Chacon, Colorado

Eric Gagne, Los Angeles

John Smoltz, Atlanta

Octavio Dotel, Houston

Billy Wagner, Houston

The nearest miss among the NL pitchers was Miguel Batista, who lost a coin flip to Shawn Chacon after both had drawn 5 votes.  Jae Seo and Armando Benitez of the Mets were other pitchers who came close to making the team.  In fact, neither Batista or Chacon would be on the team wereit not for the 12-pitcher rule, as Klesko, Durham, Guillen and Kent all pulled more votes.

 

The Primer Staff managed to elect a lot of the players for whom a “snub” has been claimed, although we drew the line at Sammy Sosa (who only got four out of 15 votes).  Dontrelle Willis, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Milton Bradley, Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Thome are examples.  In all, of the 64 players selected, 47 (plus injury replacement Kerry Wood) were named to the MLB All-Stars.

 

J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 14, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 14, 2003 at 02:26 AM (#612124)
Is Brandon Webb invisible? I don't want to hate on Dontrelle Willis, but Webb is a virtual statistical clone w/o 1/100th of the hype.

I suspect that when one looks at their DIPS ERAs one will see a larger divide between the two. Webb's BB/9 and K/9 rates are lower than Willis's, which indicates a higher BIP/9. Since Webb's H/9 is lower than Willis's as well, his BA/BIP is also likely to be quite a bit lower. (Don't have the time to go figure the exact numbers right now.)

-- MWE
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: July 14, 2003 at 02:26 AM (#612130)
Using last year's HRPF's, here's the current DIPS ERAs (if I got the formula right):

Willis: 2.78
Webb: 3.54
   3. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 15, 2003 at 02:26 AM (#612135)
Using last year's HRPF's, here's the current DIPS ERAs (if I got the formula right):

Willis: 2.78 Webb: 3.54


That seems about right.

I don't know anything about Webb. Does he have a long term record of success?

Like Willis, Webb is in his fourth season of professional baseball. In 2001 he had a very good season in the California League (3.99 ERA, which is quite good in those hitters' paradises), and last season he was fourth in the Texas League in ERA and pitched very well in the Arizona Fall League (2-0 with a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 IP). I would say that he does have a record of success.

Webb certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Willis, IMO - I'm inclined to agree that the DIPS difference over half a season isn't terribly significant. Willis gets the attention, though, for a lot of the same reasons that Mark "The Bird" Fidrych did, and that's why he's an All-Star while Webb doesn't even get a sniff.

-- MWE
   4. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: July 15, 2003 at 02:26 AM (#612140)
As a voter for the above list, and having left Webb off of my ballot while including Willis, I'll share my reasons.

1. I've seen Dontrelle Willis pitch a few times. I have not seen Brandon Webb pitch that I recall. Willis' outings were electric. He dominated hitters, K'd the side a couple of times, and looked like a sufi mystic on the mound. Every now and then it looked like he had grown and extra limb or two, just to flail around to confuse the batter. It was mesmerizing. Webb, if I have seen him pitch, did nothing to impress. He may have been effective (or not), but he lacked style and panache. All-Stars, especially first-year phenoms storming the game, need both.

2. Willis is currently (and perhaps due to injury)the best pitcher on his team. Webb, even without Schilling or Johnson in the rotation, takes a back seat to Miguel Batista. I voted for Batista.

3. More fans know who Dontrelle Willis is (yes, this is a circular argument) and the All-Star Game is about making fans happy.

On a tangential note, can we not call Webb "B-WEBB?" In fact, can we put a lockdown on the whole first initial last name nickname schema for the forseeable future? Only AROD gets the grandfather clause exemption. Please?
   5. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: July 16, 2003 at 02:27 AM (#612178)
You know, you can't spell "SHUT YOUR GIBBERING GOB YOU CASTRATE TROLL!!!" without S-Hut.

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