Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On Deck Circle 7/11/17: Who Should Be The All-Star Starters

By Pat Luhta, @PLuhta

The All-Star game starters for both leagues were announced on July 2nd. The fans are the ones that get to vote on the All-Star starters, with the AL and NL managers filling out the reserves and the pitching staff. While it is a fun little gimmick that the MLB has here by letting the fans vote for the starters, it also is a flawed system that leads to undeserving or injured players making it as starters. Fanbases from each team cram their ballots with their biased voting, choosing their favorite players on their favorite teams instead of who deserves it the most. That's how we end up with players making the starting lineup that shouldn't actually be there, this especially happens to players in big market cities since the bigger the fanbase means the more votes they receive.

The All-Star fan voting is here and we will take a look here and see what the fans got right and what they got wrong. Here is the what the All-Star lineups in each league should look like:

CATCHER - Who made it: Salvador Perez

Who should have made it: Gary Sanchez

Perez got this one on name value and that he's had 80-100 at-bats more than Gary Sanchez and Alex Avila(who would be my 2nd choice at Catcher.) While Perez has more HR's than Sanchez, 16 to 13, Sanchez leads him in batting average, OBP, slugging, and OPS while having a better WAR. Salvatore Perez' on base percentage is a incredibly low .320, which puts him 8th in the AL of catchers with at least 130 at bats. Sanchez is having the better year, gets on base more and has similar power, he should be getting the All-Star start at Catcher.

1ST BASE - Who made it: Justin Smoak

Who should have made it: Justin Smoak

This is a position that the fans couldn't go wrong here, Justin Smoak or Yonder Alonso would have both been perfect choices. They are nearly identical, Smoak just has a few more HR's, RBI's and batting average, so while either wouldn't have been an issue, Smoak deserved it just a little bit more.

2ND BASE - Who made it: Jose Altuve

Who should have made it: Jose Altuve

This was a simple and easy call here, no other 2B should really be in discussion here.

SHORTSTOP - Who made it: Carlos Correa

Who should have made it: Carlos Correa

The play at SS in the AL is very good with many deserving players, but Carlos Correa was the correct choice. Correa leads all AL shortstops in every major statistical batting category and is a MVP candidate, he has to be the starting SS for this team.

3RD BASE - Who made it: Jose Ramirez

Who should have made it: Jose Ramirez

While Maguel Sano and Mike Moustakas are worthy players and have more HR's than Ramirez, the Cleveland Indians 3B is having the better season. Despite the HR numbers favoring those 2, Ramirez still leads them in slugging % and OPS, and his batting average of .330 is nearly .040 points higher than any other 3B.

OUTFIELD - Who made it: Aaron Judge, Mike Trout (replaced by Mookie Betts), George Springer

Who should have made it: Aaron Judge, George Springer, Avisail Garcia

Aaron Judge is the current MVP of the AL and running away with the award, and George Springer is putting together a great season so far. Both are correct picks by the fans and deserve to start, the selection of Trout is where I have an issue though. Had Trout been healthy and playing this game, then it looked as though he would easily make the starting lineup. But Trout has not played since May 28th and his timetable for return was after the all-star game, yet fans voted for him anyway. So Trout gets voted in as a starter even though he's been injured for a month and not able to play in that game, which then gets doubled down as a bad decision when Mookie Betts is named his replacement.

While it's not egregious that Betts made it, he does have more doubles, home runs, walks and stolen bases than Garcia so I can see where the decision is coming from. But Garcia still has a better batting average, OBP, slugging% and OPS than Betts, so even if Betts is hitting for more power and walking more often, he still is statistically behind Garcia in those categories. When in doubt, always go with the guy that gets on base more and Garcia is that guy.

CATCHER - Who made it: Buster Posey

Who should have made it: Buster Posey

The bright spot on a last place San Francisco Giants team, the fans were right in voting Posey as the starter. There's no catcher that's even close to him this year, Yasmani Grandal is the only one that is matching his home run power but everything else is Posey in a landslide.

1ST BASE - Who made it: Ryan Zimmerman

Who should have made it:
Paul Goldschmidt

This was a close call, but Paul Goldschmidt is currently the NL MVP and cannot be left out of the starting lineup. Their home runs and batting averages are practically identical so going to the tiebreaker of OBP, OPS and slugging and it all favors Goldschmidt. He hits just as many HR's and bats for the same average, but gets on base more frequently, by drawing walks and has 13 stolen bases compared to Zimmerman's 1. Again, it's close but Paul Goldschmidt should be the starter.

2ND BASE - Who made it: Daniel Murphy

Who should have made it: Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy was really the only choice at 2B here. He's far and away having the best season of any 2B in the NL, easily deserves the start in the All-Star game.

SHORTSTOP - Who made it: Zack Cozart

Who should have made it: Zack Cozart

This was a big toss up, but ultimately the fans got it right by voting Zack Cozart. It came down to Cozart or Corey Seager and the debate over traditional batting stats compared to advanced batting stats. Seager has more doubles, home runs, RBI’s and walks while Cozart has the better batting average, slg %, OBP and OPS so the argument can be made for either player depending on what someone values more. But in the end, Seager’s lead in those categories are a bit deceiving considering he’s had nearly 100 more at bats than Cozart, which means that Cozart is likely hitting for the same type of power as Seager is, but is just behind in those categories due to less at bats. With taking that into consideration, Zack Cozart was the right choice here for NL SS.

3RD BASE - Who made it: Nolan Arenado

Who should have made it: Jake Lamb or Travis Shaw

There are 4 worthy players for all-star starter consideration and honestly, Nolan Arenado has the worst case of them all between Jake Lamb, Travis Shaw and Anthony Rendon. Either Jake Lamb or Travis Shaw should be the starter, it's splitting hairs to try and figure out which one is more deserving so either one would've been a correct call. Shaw leads Lamb in batting average, slugging % and OPS while Lamb leads Shaw in Home Runs, RBI's, and OBP and each are in the top 4 in every category so there isn't a stat out there that one dominates the other in. It's a toss up between the two, but the all-star start at 3B should have been between these two guys with no wrong vote.

OUTFIELD - Who made it: Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Marcell Ozuna

Who should have made it: Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Cody Bellinger

On top of being able to vote for players that are injured and won't play in All-Star game, the other issue is when a player gets called up after the season starts but has an all-star 1st half. That's what happened here, Cody Bellinger wasn't called up until April 25th so he was a write-in vote on all ballots since the ballots do not add or subtract any player once they are created. And this is nothing against Marcell Ozuna because he is having a tremendous year and is an all-star but Cody Bellinger is an MVP candidate and should be starting. Bellinger leads Ozuna in Home Runs, slugging % and OPS while only trailing him in RBI's by 12 and thats with around 80 less at bats. Ozuna's batting average and OBP are the two major categories that he leads Bellinger in, so I'm sure some out there would make the case for him and saying that Ozuna should not be a starter is not a slight at him at all, its just that Bellinger has been incredible this season so far and should have gotten a start in the outfield.

No comments:

Post a Comment