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Monday, July 08, 2002

2002 Primer Mid-Season All-Star Teams

Who’d be on the playing in the All-Star Game if we were doing the picking.

Over the last few days, we, the authors of Baseball Primer, cast our votes for the American League and National League All-Star teams. We ignored the rule that one player from each team in each league must be represented. Instead, our purpose was to divine who are the most deserving 30 players from each league, so as to see which players who made All-Star rosters were perhaps undeserving, and which players who were left off should have been invited.

American League

First, here’s the American League squad we selected to start the game:

Pitcher - Derek Lowe
  Catcher - Jorge Posada
  First Base - Jason Giambi
  Second Base - Alfonso Soriano
  Third Base - Eric Chavez
  Shortstop - Alex Rodgriguez
  Left Field - Manny Ramirez
  Center Field - Torii Hunter
  Right Field - Ichiro Suzuki

Three of those - Lowe, A-Rod, and Hunter - were not only unanimous picks to   be on our team, but were unanimously selected as starters. Of the other starters,   all but Manny Ramirez, who was left off one ballot, were unanimously picked   for our team.

Third base is the only spot that we disagree with the fan vote. Shea Hillenbrand   is the starting third baseman on Joe Torre’s team, but the authors of Baseball   Primer preferred Chavez. Here are their comparative numbers:

Hillenbrand - .287 EqA, .825 OPS
  Chavez - .306 EqA, .905 OPS

These are our reserve position players for the American League:

Catcher - A.J. Pierzynski
  First Base - Paul Konerko
  First Base - John Olerud
  First Base - Mike Sweeney
  First Base - Jim Thome
  Middle Infield - Derek Jeter
  Middle Infield - Nomar Garciaparra
  Middle Infield - Omar Vizquel
  Middle Infield - Miguel Tejada
  Third Base - Eric Hinske
  Outfield - Bernie Williams
  Outfield - Magglio Ordonez
  Outfield - Johnny Damon

Hinske and Pierzynski were unanimous selections on our Primer ballots. Of the   13 position players we selected as reserves, 8 coincide with Torre’s picks -   Pierzynski, Konerko, Sweeney, Vizquel, Jeter, Garciaparra, Tejada, and Damon   - and 5 do not. Here are Torre’s 5 stacked against our 5:

Tony Batista .298 EqA, .851 OPS
  Robin Ventura .308 EqA, .882 OPS
  Randy Winn .296 EqA, .830 OPS
  Garret Anderson .289 EqA, .833 OPS
  Robert Fick .297 EqA, .845 OPS

Eric Hinske .307 EqA, .880 OPS
  Bernie Williams .309 EqA, .867 OPS
  Magglio Ordonez .314 EqA, .930 OPS
  John Olerud .341 EqA, .936 OPS
  Jim Thome .341 EqA, 1.021 OPS

It was merely a coincidence that both Torre and Baseball Primer selected 8   reserve pitchers. Here is our group:

SP - Roy Halladay
  SP - Jeff Weaver
  SP - Barry Zito
  SP - Pedro Martinez
  SP - Jamie Moyer
  RP - Eddie Guardado
  RP - Kazuhiro Sasaki
  RP - Mariano Rivera

Torre agreed on 6 of the 8: Halladay, Pedro, Zito, Every Day Eddie, Sasaki,   and Rivera. We preferred Weaver and Moyer, while the Yankee skipper went with   Mark Buehrle and Freddie Garcia. Here is how they stack up:

Buehrle 11-6, 3.62 ERA, 2.4 SNWAR
  Garcia 11-5, 3.44 ERA, 2.5 SNWAR

Weaver 6-8, 3.18 ERA, 2.4 SNWAR
  Moyer 8-3, 3.02 ERA, 2.5 SNWAR

National League

While we agreed with 22 of the 30 players on the American League team, the   Baseball Primer authors only coincided with 21 National League selections. Here   is the Senior Circuit squad we selected to start the game:

Pitcher - Tom Glavine
  Catcher - Mike Piazza
  First Base - Todd Helton
  Second Base - Junior Spivey
  Third Base - Mike Lowell
  Shortstop - Jose Hernandez
  Left Field - Barry Bonds
  Center Field - Jim Edmonds
  Right Field - Sammy Sosa

The four unanimous picks for our starting NL team were Helton, Lowell, Bonds,   and Sosa. Glavine, Piazza, and Spivey were unanimous picks for the team, also,   but not all their votes were as starters. Edmonds beat out Brian Giles as the   third starter in the outfield by only one vote; and Jose Hernandez was left   off two ballots, but won the starting shortstop position nonetheless.

Here’s how the four players that the fans elected, but we did not, stack up   against our choices:

Jose Vidro .301 EqA, .877 OPS
  Junior Spivey .331 EqA, .994 OPS

Jimmy Rollins .257 EqA, .730 OPS
  Jose Hernandez .290 EqA, .833 OPS

Scott Rolen .281 EqA, .798 OPS
  Mike Lowell .309 EqA, .910 OPS

Vlad Guerrero .318 EqA, .957 OPS
  Jim Edmonds .352 EqA, 1.069 OPS

These are our reserve position players for the National League:

Catcher - Paul Lo Duca
  First Base - Ryan Klesko
  First Base - Richie Sexson
  Middle Infield - Jose Vidro
  Middle Infield - Jeff Kent
  Middle Infield - Luis Castillo
  Middle Infield - Jimmy Rollins
  Third Base - Scott Rolen
  Outfield - Brian Giles
  Outfield - Adam Dunn
  Outfield - Shawn Green
  Outfield - Lance Berkman
  Outfield - Vlad Guerrero
  Outfield - Cliff Floyd

Lo Duca was the only unanimous pick among this group. The hard choice for the   National League reserves was leaving off a worthy outfielder or adding another   pitcher. Our concensus opinion was to go with more position players and fewer   pitchers. Therefore, we picked a team that is 2 pitcher’s short of Bob Brenly’s   All-Star squad. Four of our 14 position player reserves - Vidro, Rollins, Rolen,   and Vlad - were voted in by the fans to start for the NL. Of the other 10, 5   were picked by Brenly and 5 were not. Here is how Brenly’s four reserves that   we exclude stack up against the five fellows we think deserve to go:

Damian Miller .276 EqA, .823 OPS
  Benito Santiago .273 EqA, .770 OPS
  Luis Gonzalez .306 EqA, .898 OPS
  Andruw Jones .302 EqA, .877 OPS

Paul Lo Duca .301 EqA, .836 OPS
  Ryan Klesko .314 EqA, .894 OPS
  Jeff Kent .317 EqA, .904 OPS
  Brian Giles .342 EqA, 1.054 OPS
  Cliff Floyd .329 EqA, .964 OPS

As noted above, Brenly chose to go with 2 more pitchers than we have. Here   are our reserve pitchers for the National League:

SP - Randy Johnson
  SP - Odalis Perez
  SP - Curt Schilling
  SP - Vicente Padilla
  RP - Eric Gagne
  RP - Robb Nen
  RP - Scott Stewart

We agree with Brenly on The Unit, Perez, Schilling, and Gagne. Here is how   Brenly’s other reserve pitchers stack up with ours:

SP Matt Morris 10-5, 3.27 ERA, 2.4 SNWAR

SP Vicente Padilla 10-5, 3.05 ERA, 2.8 SNWAR

RP Mike Williams 24/26 Saves, 1.89 ERA, 9.9 ARP
  RP Trevor Hoffman 20/21 Saves, 2.51 ERA, 5.6 ARP
  RP John Smoltz 29/32 Saves, 4.44 ERA, 5.9 ARP
  RP Byung-Hyun Kim 22/25 Saves, 2.37 ERA, 14.7 ARP

RP Robb Nen, 22/25 Saves, 1.70 ERA, 13.5 ARP
  RP Scott Stewart, 11 Holds, 11/12 Saves, 1.73 ERA, 13.1 ARP

To recap, these are the All-Stars for each league who will be in Milwaukee   but we found undeserving this year:

AL - Shea Hillenbrand, Tony Batista, Robin Ventura, Garret Anderson, Randy   Winn, Robert Fick, Mark Buehrle, and Freddy Garcia.

NL - Damian Miller, Benito Santiago, Luis Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Matt Morris,   Mike Williams, Trevor Hoffman, John Smoltz, and Byung-Hyun Kim.

And these are the players who we think should have been selected, but were   not:

AL - Eric Chavez, Bernie Williams, John Olerud, Eric Hinske, Jim Thome, Magglio   Ordonez, Jeff Weaver, and Jamie Moyer.

NL - Jim Edmonds, Paul Lo Duca, Ryan Klesko, Jeff Kent, Brian Giles, Cliff   Floyd, Vicente Padilla, Robb Nen, and Scott Stewart.


Rich Rifkin Posted: July 08, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 7 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. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605457)
I should note that the Primer voters were not required to choose one player from each team. Clearly, some of the players that we rejected are in the game because they are the best representative from their team (e.g. Batista, Winn) and probably wouldn't be there otherwise.

-- MWE
   2. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605461)
In seconding Mike's point (and you guys mentioned it as well, so you're not ignoring it), I'll add that if you're going to name an All-Star roster, you should follow the one player/team rule, because otherwise the comparisons are much less meaningful. Of course there are better people than Randy Winn who aren't on the roster; I knew this before I read the article. But if you're trying to identify the flaws in the selections, you have to use the same selection criteria.
   3. Michael Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605470)
The article's second sentence noted that the primer staff ignored the one player per team requirement, just in case some of the other posters thought it wasn't mentioned.

If you wanted to use different rules from the majors, since when does it require 30 players per team to play 1 game of major league baseball?
   4. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605483)
Berkman: 294/414/639
Edmonds: 314/422/616

Yes, I know Berkman has better stats on the road than he does at home. Part of the reason for that is that Berkman isn't really the type of hitter to take advantage of what the park gives (cheap homeruns), and the ballpark cuts down on the number of doubles that he gets. Regardless, it is still true that TFFKAEF{1] is a fairly extreme hitters' park, while Busch is less so, and therefore the difference between the VALUE of the two performances is still smaller than the absolute OPS difference - the effect of Berkman's favorable road split is to make his home performance less valuable to his team than the norm.

When you consider that, and the fact that Edmonds is still an outstanding defensive player while Berkman is replaced in CF more often than not late in games when it's close, I think the balance is tipped toward Edmonds.

-- MWE

[1] The Field Formerly Known As Enron Field
   5. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605485)
Picking an in-season All-Star team is a balancing act. Performance to date has to be considered; the question is how much weight you give it.

Jose Hernandez is having far and away the best offensive season of any SS in the NL; there's no one that's really close to him, and I don't see how you can ignore that in picking the NL All-Star SS for 2002. Whether you think that's enough to move him ahead of Renteria (who's probably the best all-around SS in the NL right now, with Larkin's decline), I don't really know. Aurilia's 2001 season looks like a hitting-in-front-of-Bonds fluke, and while Rollins looks like he might be a player eventually, right now he hasn't improved a bit from 2001. There's really no one else. There are six AL SS who are better than any NL SS (and I'd probably take Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman over anyone but Renteria).

-- MWE

-- MWE
   6. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605488)
Regarding Soriano: one voter selected Adam Kennedy to start at Second Base. I was not that one voter.
   7. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605514)
Regarding the fact that Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez have chosen not to attend the All-Star game, two quite different thoughts crossed my mind on this subject:

First, I thought, MLB should make it worth their while to show up, just like the NBA does with its All-Star game. Because I doubt that any extra amount of money for most very highly paid players would be enough of an incentive, we are left with negative inducements. One harsh measure would be a 15 game suspension without pay for a player who is invited to the All-Star game and chooses not to come. (An exception would be made for players on the DL, of course, which is at a minimum 15 games.) Another possible inducement would be that a player who refused to take part in the All-Star game should not be allowed to participate in post-season play. So if his team makes the playoffs, he gets to sit home and watch on TV with the rest of us. Either of those inducements would work well enough, I'm sure, to get the Randy Johnsons and Pedro Martinezes and John Burketts (if invited) to Milwaukee.

However, a second thought came next to me. Who cares, really, if Randy Johnson doesn't want to participate? So let him stay home. There are plenty of other great players who are willing and able to take part in the exhibition, and so we can see them, instead. And that is, finally, where I come down on this issue. There really, at this point, is no need to give players incentives to go to the game. The vast majority are greatly honored by being invited, and those so honored always show up and try their best. It is still a very small number of party-poopers - like the Unit - who would rather not be at the game.

If, however, it gets to the point where one out of every five invitees decides to use the 3 days as a vacation, the All-Star game would then become hollow, absent too many of the game's stars. So if that ever should come about, the negative inducements should be employed to get those individuals back in the game.

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