Monday, July 7, 2008

Let's Hear It For The 2008 AL All-Stars

The All-Star teams were announced today (you can look up who made it at your leisure). The All-Star game is fun in the sense that one has the chance to see some of baseball's best players (guys that are normally just names in a box score). Unfortunately the winner getting to host the World Series is dumb (should go to the team with the best record, or the league that wins inter-league play, or even just alternate - not the stupid way it is now); that fans get to stuff the ballots is bad (Derek Jeter starting? Even though the game is in Yankee Stadium, he is having a pretty bad year); and that each team has to have a representative result in too many snubs and ridiculous selections (Mark Redman went for the Royals in the same year he had a 5.71 ERA).

My All-Star teams have 25 players, not all teams have a player, and reward good (if not really flukey) first-half's. If I see that a guy was an All-Star, I think "hey, he had a pretty good year that season." Selecting Ken Griffey Jr. to commemorate his career isn't really fair - he's already deservedly been there a bunch of times and is taking the spot of a guy who is having a better season.

Today the AL

The Starters

C: Joe Mauer (325 / 415 / 454) - Easy choice, he leads AL catchers in a whole bunch of categories.

1B: Justin Morneau (307 / 369 / 481) - Those 65 shiny RBI got my attention. Not really - he does lead AL first-baseman in Win Shares.

2B: Ian Kinsler (332 / 391 / 545) - The guy can hit. Period. He can also run (23 for 24 on stolen bases) but his defense leaves a bit to be desired.

3B: Alex Rodrguez (323 / 408 / 606) - Tied with The Mick for 13th on the all-time HR list... and he's still just 32.

SS: Michael Young (292 / 342 / 421) - What an awful year for shortstops in the AL.

OF: Josh Hamilton (309 / 368 / 546) - Easily leading the league in RBI... you know, if you're into that sort of thing.

OF: Grady Sizemore (269 / 372 / 541) - Leading the league in HR out of the lead-off spot. That is, he's hit more total home runs than anyone else, but is still batting lead-off.

OF: JD Drew (299 / 409 / 564) - How many Sox fans are complaining about him now?

The Reserves

C: Dioner "Bandwagon" Navarro (318 / 370 / 435) - Arguably the second best hitting catcher in the AL, and pretty good behind the plate too. The NL has a big edge at this position currently.

1B: Kevin Youkilis (311 / 382 / 543) - It was a tough call here between Youk and the Giambino, but the former's defense put him over the top.

2B: Brian Roberts (295 / 373 / 493) - A good deal ahead of the next guy at second.

3B: Evan Longoria (281 / 353 / 537) - Was recently named MLB's #1 most valuable property over at FanGraphs. He should make it to a few more of these things.

SS: No way am I calling another shortstop in the league an All-Star. The last outfield spot was hard to pick, and I think the Rays deserve another rep, so this place goes to BJ Upton (277 / 391 / 410) - Hey, he used to play short. Now he plays a very good center-field and all that's missing is the power.

OF: Carlos Quentin (273 / 363 / 510) - Nice little pick-up for Kenny Williams. He's finally healthy and hitting like people thought he would.

OF: Milton Bradley (320 / 439 / 605) - Leads the league in OPS. He always had the talent; it was just a matter of staying on the field.

OF: Manny Ramirez (278 / 377 / 493) - His stats aren't that impressive (especially for Manny), but he does lead the league in Win Probability Added at 3.02 (Mauer is second at 2.62). Actually putting wins on the board has to count for something.

On The Mound

SP: Cliff Lee (11-2, 2.43 ERA, 2.36 FIP) - I don't know how he's been this good, but he's been really, really good.

SP: Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.63 ERA, 3.16 FIP) - Was hurt to start the year but has come out to lead the impressive Rays pitching staff.

SP: Roy Halladay (10-6, 2.88 ERA, 2.89 FIP) - He has more complete games than almost every team in baseball.

SP: John Lackey (6-2, 1.93 ERA, 3.23 FIP) - He missed some time but came back without skipping a beat.

SP: John Danks (6-4, 2.52 ERA, 3.14 FIP) - The components of DVD (Danks-Volquez-Diamond) that left Texas are flourishing.

SP: Justin Duchscherer (9-5, 1.96 ERA, 3.30 FIP) - The Duke's transition to the rotation is working out well.

RP: Fransisco Rodriguez (1.93 ERA, 34/36 in save situations, 3.15 WPA) - K-Rod may make a run at the single season saves record.

RP: Joe Nathan (1.23 ERA, 25/27 SVs, 3.06 WPA) - If the Twins keep getting him leads...

RP: Joakim Soria (1.22 ERA, 23/24 SVs, 2.92 WPA) - There's a reason people are calling him the next Mariano Rivera.

I'm going to cheat and name another closer, since the top four are really close.
RP: Mariano Rivera (1.12 ERA, 23/23 SVs, 2.69 WPA) - Mo's still got it.

I guess Upton can be dropped to keep it at 25 players.

I'll do the NL tomorrow, in all likelihood.

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