BBD’s 2012 All-Star Game ballot

I completely understand what the All-Star game is all about.  It’s set up for the fans, by the fans, but the definition of a baseball All-Star should be changed; its much more of a popularity contest that ends up determining home field advantage for the World Series.

I believe performance should trump popularity when the game has this much meaning.  The All Star game comes off like the scene in Rocky 3 where all the press, fans, and bubbles are there watching Rocky ‘train’ while old-school Clubber Lang is on a mission.  I bet if it were less fan-dictated, we’d have a lot more players show up and actually WANT to play hard.

Let’s look at the AL shortstop position.  Derek Jeter, in my eyes the face of baseball, has been named the starter.   Yes, he went on a tear early but has cooled down quite a bit.  Let’s not even get into his defense because any baseball fan worth their salt knows he’s, at best, a middle of the road defender.  So here you have two dynamite fielders having terrific years at the plate in Asdrubal Cabrera and Elvis Andrus who will have to wait and hope they get to show America their skills.

Maybe a fan-oriented game could be held after the final game of the World Series.  Fans could use a season’s worth of performance to decide who they believe deserves to get in.  The result might not be any different than it is now, but at least it won’t have the implications.

What I would propose is that players, managers, owners, executives, and sportswriters should have their vote weigh more than the fan vote for the mid-season classic.  Let’s get the best performers of both leagues together and have them play in a game that would more Clubber Lang than champion Rocky Balboa.

My choices if I actually had a strong say in who should be playing in what I would refer to as the Major League Baseball’s Mid-Season Clash:

 American League

Catcher

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
Joe Mauer, Twins

-I know everyone loves Matt Wieters, but Pierzynski is quietly having a much better year.  There is no way Mike Napoli should be starting over Joe Mauer.

1st Base

Paul Konerko, White Sox
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays

-Both have wOBAs over .400, more home runs, higher ISOs, and are better fielders than the Prince

2nd Base

Robinson Cano, Yankees
Ben Zobrist, Rays

-Right now, Cano might be the best hitter in the game. An argument could be made for Kinsler, but I’ll take the Zobrist’s defense as the deciding factor.

Shortstop

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Elvis Andrus, Rangers

-Two of the best defensive players in the game and better offensively than Jeter

3rd Base

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Adrian Beltre, Rangers

-Going with the two that were selected

Outfield

Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Mark Trumbo, Angels
Adam Jones, Orioles
Josh Willingham, Twins
Austin Jackson, Tigers

-No Curtis Granderson due to his low batting average (.249) and propensity for strikeouts.  Picked Jackson because of his better OPS and wOBA.  I left Bautisa off because of his weak start, though I could just as easily swap him for Willingham

DH

David Ortiz, Red Sox
Billy Butler, Royals

-Ortiz is still the best in the biz at DH and Butler is another guy flying under the radar (.297 BA, 16 HR, .216 ISO, .374 wOBA

Pitchers

Starter- Chris Sale, White Sox
Justin Verlander, Tigers
Jered Weaver, Angels
Jake Peavy, White Sox
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Ernesto Frieri, Angels
Charlie Furbush, Mariners
Joe Nathan, Rangers
Closer- Fernando Rodney

-Sale is my starter (3.22 SIERA, 3.2 WAR, 54 ERA-).  A lot of you may not know Ernesto Erieri but I love his zero ERA in 24 IP, 42 Ks, and 16.8 Swinging Strike percent.  I left off Perez because I don’t even think he’s the best reliever in Cleveland (Pestano) and put on Furbush because of his 1.84 SIERA.

National League

Catcher

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Yadier Molina, Cardinals

-Ruiz is having a monster year so far but Yadi is the better defender.  I picked Ruiz because of the higher WAR

1st Base

Joey Votto, Reds
Freddie Freeman, Braves

-Votto is the best hitter in the NL, bar none.  I wanted to go with Goldschmidt, but Freemans glove has been terrific.

2nd Base

Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Brandon Phillips, Reds

-Hill leads second basemen in WAR and wOBA and ISO.  The Astros Jose Altuve or Ormar Infate from Miami could be here but Phillips being left off the roster is a crime.  Dan Uggla’s average is far too low for an ‘All Star’.

Shortstop

Ian Desmond, Nationals
Jed Lowrie, Astros

-With no Tulo, Desmond is the best shortstop in the NL (.340 wOBA, 2.7 WAR, 13 HRs, .484 SLG).  Reyes (.322 w0BA) and Scutaro (.284 BA) are deserving, but Lowrie gets the backup slot (14 HR, .222 ISO, .357 wOBA).  Furcal is ready for a regress.

3rd Base

David Wright, Mets
Chase Headley, Padres

-Pablo Sandoval starting at third?  Wright might be the biggest starting snub (.560 SLG, .418 wOBA, 98 hits, 1.15 BB/K).  Headley’s 3.3 WAR, 10 SB, and great defense give him the edge in a shallow position pool.

Outfield

Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
Melky Cabrera, Giants

-Same depth as the players selected but minus the injured Kemp.  I prefer McCutchen to Beltran as a starter because of defense dispite recent injury.  And because of who he plays for, CarGo tends to go unnoticed.

DH

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Buster Posey, Giants

-Yes, the NL has no DH but they are playing in KC this year so I picked the two best hitters I didn’t take at a position.

Pitchers

Starter- Steven Strasburg, Nationals

R.A. Dickey, Mets
Zack Greinke, Brewers
Matt Cain, Giants
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Brad Lincoln, Pirates
Kenly Jansen, Dodgers
Closer- Craig Kimbrel, Braves

-RA Dickey could start but Strasburg gets the nod on personal preference.  It’s a travesty that Lance Lynn gets to pitch while Grenkie is ignored (72 vs 94 ERA-).   Who is Brad Lincoln? 0.38 ERA, 10 ERA-, 2.05 FIP, 81.9% LOB for the Pirates.

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10 Responses to BBD’s 2012 All-Star Game ballot

  1. Nick Fleder says:

    You're fleecing Mike Trout, perhaps the best player in the league this year?

    • Nick Fleder says:

      And my only other major disagreement is giving Brad Lincoln a spot. You can't ignore his five very ineffective starts, and I don't know the specifics about relievers (you don't need four, do you?) but you're missing Gio Gonzalez or Tyler Clippard by opting for Lincoln.

      • cmclark says:

        Trout has been literally the best player in the AL with nearly a month's less games played. Most of everything else I can get down on.

        • mlblogsaugustine says:

          That is precisely why I left him off because of a smaller sample size. 50 ABs can change a lot statistic-wise. I could've swap him in for Butler.

      • mlblogsaugustine says:

        Well, I was going on his performance as a reliever. But I could have put Clippard in.

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      I don't think he's the best, top 10, maybe 5 right NOW.

  2. Fred says:

    My biggest issue with the competitiveness of the All Star Game isn't the selection. Its the management. Managers try to squeeze as many players as possible into the game for the fans. But with homefield in the World Series at stake, it should be managed much closer to an actual game. Leave the starters in if they're dealing, pull them if they start to slip up. Actually use the bench as an advantage, rather than subbing guys off for no reason other than pleasing the bench player.

    Of course, I'd rather it be left as a fan spectacle and the competitive aspect of it go back to the way it was before (nonexistent.) Homefield in the World Series should go to the team with the best record. But if the ASG is going to remain this way, the managers have to start taking it seriously

    • mlblogsaugustine says:

      Lets hope so Fred.
      Speaking of squeezing in every player, I also don't like how each team has to have at least one representative. The starting pitching thing really has no way around it. Guys don't want to waste a start if they have to pitch long.

      • Fred says:

        I was thinking of the representation issue when I wrote that comment as well. If the game is meaningful, having to take players from teams with no worthy representatives (Cubs/A's) really hurts the league as a whole…

        Anyway, good article here. I hope some changes are made to this system soon.

  3. mlblogsaugustine says:

    Thanks everyone for reading. These are just my preferences and we are both entitled to our opinions.