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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

An Early Look at Possible First-time NL All-Stars

Rich predicts about ten first-time All-stars in the Senior Circuit.

Forget for a moment that it’s way too early to pick this year’s
All-Star teams. It’s fun to jump the gun, so I’m ready to leap right
in. I’d like to get a handle on which players who have never before
made an All-Star team are the most likely to break through this
season, based mostly on who has gotten off to the hottest start at
each position.


Like most All-Star voters, I heavily weight how a player has
performed from the start of a season up to the end of the voting. Is
that fair? Perhaps not. But who cares… it’s just an exhibition
game. I also, like most voters, give some weight to players who play
for my team (the A’s). But I’m not crazy in this regard. I’m therefore
unlikely to give Ramon Hernandez, .204/.241/.287, my vote for AL


Today I will go over the National League candidates. Tomorrow, I
will address the American League.


In the Senior Circuit, not only does it appear that there are a
large number of good candidates, but it looks like about 10 players on
the 2002 team will be first-timers. Here are the best NL break through
candidates for each position:


Catcher - Michael Barret (MON),
.348/.398/.591. Barrett leads all starting NL catchers in Runs
Created, Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, and Slugging Percentage;
Barrett is tied for the lead (with Paul Lo Duca) for most Hits.
LoDuca(LAD), .308/.375/.438, and Damian Miller (ARI), .263/.349/.518,
are two other possibilities at this spot. I suspect that Mike
Piazza (NYM), .254/.333/.500, will be voted in by the fans. So
if Bob Brenly goes with 3 catchers, I have a feeling that LoDuca will
miss the cut.


First Base - No one really stands out
as a first-timer, here. Todd Helton and Jeff Bagwell are the
likely All-Stars at this position. However, Richie Sexson (MIL),
.258/.295/.546, and Derrek Lee (FLA), .245/.335/.497, both stand an
outside chance of breaking through. Lee gets some extra credit
because I saw him play in high school.


Second Base - Junior Spivey (ARI),
.331/.415/.563, has really emerged. He was rather old (26) for a
Rookie last year, so it wasn’t unreasonable to think his ceiling was
not all that high. But he’s gotten off to a great start and will
very likely be an All-Star. Luis Castillo (FLA), .303/.372/.355, is
the only other possibility here.


Third Base - There will probably be
two first-time All-Stars at this spot on the NL team. Mike
Lowell (FLA), .337/.384/.576, and Scott Rolen (PHI), .256/.356/.470,
are more deserving than any others who are veterans of All-Star games
gone by, so far at least.


Shortstop - Infamous for his 185
strike outs in 2001, Jose Hernandez (MIL), .273/.354/.540, who is now
on pace to whiff 202 times this year, stands a good chance of making
his first All-Star team (which will be played in his home park, by the
way). Juan Uribe (COL), .282/.344/.388, is off to a nice start,
but unless Brenly goes with three shortstops, Uribe, whose OPS is .073
higher at Coors than on the road, will probably be watching the game
on TV.


Outfield - It’s unlikely that any
first-time All-Stars will make the NL outfield in 2002. However,
JD Drew (STL), .291/.362/.475, and Danny Bautista (ARI),
.340/.384/.524, are reasonable possibilities. Depending on how
things go over the next six weeks, the two young Reds, Adam Dunn,
.257/.414/.514, and Austin Kearns, .372/.505/.628, may become
candidates. (Kearns, by the way, may be giving Kaz Ishii a run
for his Yen as the Rookie of the Year in the NL. Was Kearns on
anyone’s list as a favorite for the ROY?)


Starting Pitchers - The best bets
look to be Odalis Perez (LAD), 4-2, 2.00 ERA, Kirk Rueter (SFG), 6-1,
2.51 ERA, Kazuhisa Ishii, (LAD), 6-1, 2.70 ERA, Roy Oswalt (HOU), 5-2,
2.32 ERA, Josh Fogg (PIT), 5-1, 2.36 ERA, and Pedro Astacio (NYM),
6-2, 2.49 ERA.


Relief Pitchers - The most likely
first-timer is Mike Williams (PIT), 15 Saves, 0.55 ERA. Eric
Gagne, 14 Saves, 1.17 ERA, is probably deserving (now) over Trevor
Hoffman; however, the Padres will likely get Hoffman as that club’s
lone All-Star. So my guess is that Gagne may
missout. Danny Graves (CIN), 14 Saves, 2.70 ERA, stands a
chance, depending on how many relievers are picked. It wouldn’t
surprise me also if Brenly goes with his closer, Byung-Hyun Kim, who
has 12 Saves in 13 chances with a 1.38 ERA.


Tomorrow, I will run down the Junior


Rich Rifkin Posted: May 22, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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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. bob mong Posted: May 22, 2002 at 12:30 AM (#605219)
I didn't know that Scott Rolen had never been to an All Star Game. Kinda interesting, that...
   2. Loren F. Posted: May 22, 2002 at 12:30 AM (#605220)
If Brenly goes with six starting pitchers, it seems to me that there would only be room for two or three of those first-timers. I'd guess Ishii and Reuter would be the top picks, then.
   3. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: May 22, 2002 at 12:30 AM (#605221)
I'm not crazy in this regard. I'm therefore unlikely to give Ramon Hernandez, .204/.241/.287, my vote for AL catcher.

Heh... I'm unlikely to give him my vote for dog catcher.
   4. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: May 22, 2002 at 12:30 AM (#605223)
I'm not saying it's in any way right, but I'd have to think there's a pretty good chance Roberto Alomar will be picked as the NL second baseman by the fans.

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