1.7.07

All-Star Fever

The official All-Star rosters come out tonight, but I wanted to go on record with my picks. So here's how I spent the Red Sox game today. To crank up the difficulty, I'm limiting myself to a 27 (the real all-star roster is over 30) man roster, and I'll represent every team. First, some concluding thoughts.

Baseball's claim to be cleaning-up the game might be true, but I'd check the baseballs. This might be a new dead-ball era--right now only two players are on pace to hit 40 homeruns (A-Rod, Fielder, both might reach 50; Dunn, Griffey, Morneau, and Howard might reach 40 if they get hot) By comparison, 11 hitters crossed the 40 mark in 2006, 9 in 2005, 9 in 2004, 10 in 2003--and three guys finished with 39. 16 guys made it in 1996 (right after the strike) and 13 in 1998, the year of the great chase. So, call me conspiracy theorist, but I think they are tinkering with the ball...again. The last time there were two or fewer 40 HR players? The strike season: 1994 (they only played 113-115 games). Before that its 1992 (2 players). No one reached 40 in 1991.

In the American league, I didn't initially award an all-star to one team: the Royals. National League: Pirates, Washington, Cubs, and Arizona didn't get an all-star. Washington is the worst--no one deserves it. No one is even close. I went with Scheinde because it was easier to cut a catcher than Ryan Howard or Hanley Ramirez (WSH's "best" player is D. Young a 1B-man). But, based on my experience, I'm expecting bigger debates in the National league than the American. The National league is top-heavy, there's 5-6 stacked teams and then a bunch of JV programs. The American League has more depth.

American League

Catcher

  • Victor Martinez, CLE (a close race between he and Posada, but Martinez has more total bases, much better K-BB ratio, more RBI, and is considerably better in the field. And he's not a Yankee.)

First Base

  • David Ortiz, BOS (sure, he only plays 1B seven times a season, but who would you rather have hitting late in a game?)

Second Base

  • Brian Roberts, BAL (close race with Polanco, Roberts has 25 steals, more TBs, and a .412 OBP)

Third Base

  • A-Rod, NYY (Sure, I can't stand him. But I respect a +1.1 OPS)

Shortstop

  • Orlando Cabrera, LAA (This is not Yankee-hating, I had Jeter until I looked at the numbers: Cabrera has a better avg, the same amount of runs, 10 more RBI, two more steals and a much better SB% and he's committed eight fewer errors. He deserves it.)

Outfield

  • Magglio Ordonex, DET (Any question? .370-13-68)
  • Vlad the Impaler, LAA (Yup, he swings at pitches around his ankles. And leads AL outfielders in RBIs)
  • Ichiro, SEA (A really close call with Rios and Hunter. But Ichiro leads the AL in batting and has 23 steals)

Bench

  • Posada, C, NYY
  • Youkilis/Morneau, 1B (see bench below)
  • Lowell, 3B, BOS
  • Jeter, SS, NYY
  • Guillen, SS, DET
  • Hunter, OF, MIN
  • Rios, OF, TOR
  • Crawford, OF, TB

Starting Pitcher

  • Dan Haren, OAK (Haren is having a Pedro circa 1999 type year: sub 2.00 ERA, sub 1.00 WHIP, sub .20 OBA)

Bullpen

  • Santana, MIN
  • Beckett, BOS
  • Sabathia, CLE
  • Verlander, DET (Gaudin on OAK was next in line, if he had more run support he might have had it)
  • Meche, KC (Well, I need a Royal--and his numbers are comparible to the other top-starters, his sub .500 record is a product of that awesome Royal line-up
  • Putz, SEA (doesn't get a lot of press, but he's lights out with a ridiculous .61 WHIP)
  • Papelbon, BOS (Nastiest splitter in the game, .87 WHIP)
  • Gagne, TEX (Hasn't pitched in too many games, but my vote for Comeback Player of the Year)
  • Jenks, CP, CWS
  • Okajima, BOS (Should win ROY, but I don't think a non-closer ever has. His ERA, .92, is lower than Jenks and Rodriguez's WHIP)

Toughest Cuts

  • Morneau /Youkilis, 1B, MIN/BOS (Another solid year, but Morneau's RBI numbers don't push him past Guillen. I might be "homer-ing" him behind Youkilis, but Youk has a .46 point AVG lead and an over .50 point OBP lead. Morneau does have more than twice as many HRs and 22 more RBI--this could go either way. I expect Morneau will make the team and Youk will win the final fan vote)
  • Polanco, 2B, DET (A few hits and AVG points above Youkilis, but trails significantly in HR, RBI, OBS, and SLUG)
  • F. Rodriguez, CP, LAA ((Great, but not as great as the other guys, plus I needed a White Sock, so Jenks gets the edge)

National League

Catcher

  • R. Martin, LAD (Front runner in every category)

First Base

  • Prince Fielder, MIL (Arguing this destroys any credibility you might ever have discussing baseball with me)

Second Base

  • Chase Uttley, PHI (Monster RBI and OPS numbers)

Third Base

  • M. Cabrera, FLA (close race, but Cabrera is the best across the board)

Shortstop

  • J. Rollins, PHI (Like Cabrera, Rollins is near the top of every category at a position with a number of superstars)

Outfield

  • Matt Holiday, COL (Almost 200 TB by the break, start'em)
  • Barry Bonds, SF (Talk about whether he belongs is ridiculous. His OBP is still above .500. He leads baseball in OPS. He's hitting over .300. He's taken human growth hormone. Deal with it.)
  • Ken Griffey, CIN (Wait, is it 2007 or 1997? Wouldn't know by Griffey's numbers)

Bench

  • Schneider, C, WSH (Definately doesn't deserve it, but I need a National and there's no super injustice at C--otherwise I'm cutting Ryan Howard for Delmon Young, Hanley Ramirez for Rafael Belliard, or Trevor Hoffman for any pitcher on the Nats).
  • Howard, IB, PHI
  • Pujols, IB, STL
  • H. Ramirez, SS, FLA
  • J. Reyes, SS, NYM (Best lead-off hitter in the NL)
  • Hardy, SS, MIL
  • Jones, 3B, ATL (+.600 SLUG and +1.000 OPS almost push him past Cabrera)
  • Lee, OF, HOU

Starting Pitcher

  • Jake Peavy, SD (a few WHIP points and a lot of strikeouts ahead of Penny)

Bullpen

  • Brad Penny, LAD
  • C. Young, SD
  • J. Maine, NYM
  • B. Webb, ARI (I intially had Sheets beating him out due to his high BB-K ratio and Sheets' sub-.300 OBA)
  • T. Gorzelanny, PIT (Need a Pirate, otherwise its Webb)
  • Saito, LAD
  • Wagner, NYM
  • Isringhausen, STL
  • Hoffman, SD
  • Cordero, MIL

Toughest Cuts

  • McCann, C, ATL
  • Lee, 1B, CHI (Great AVG and OBP, but power numbers don't compete at this position)
  • Hudson, 2B, ARI
  • Phillips, 2B, CIN
  • Wright, 3B, NYM
  • A.Ramirez, 3B, CHI
  • Renteria, SS, ATL (Has the best OPS for his position in the NL, but doesn't have the speed to compete with the other superstars at this position; a victim of the fact that the entire NL bench could be 1B and SS)
  • Dunn, OF, CIN (lost his spot to Soriano, needed a Cub)
  • B. Sheets, SP, MIL (Would have made it, but I needed a Diamondback, so Webb beat him out)
  • R. Oswalt, SP, HOU (ERA and WHIP is higher than the other top pitchers)
  • C. Hamels, SP, PHI (Outstanding K-BB ratio, but his ERA and WHIP is up there compared to the top choices, allowed 19 HR)
  • T. Hudson, SP, ATL (Like Oswalt and Hamels, I can make a good argument-but not a great one)
  • Jalverde, CP, ARI (Great numbers, but closers shouldn't give up four homeruns... unless they're Saito or Wagner, in which case that's the only way the other team has scored)

UPDATE

American League:

  • Cabrera at short. Michael Young has better career numbers, but I think Cabrera is having a better season

That's my only big AL snub. I can see why Polanco made it, why Ivan Rodriquez made it, and why Manny made it. I do think Okijima was deserving, and they've put set-up men in the game before.

National League:

  • Hanley Ramirez
  • Jimmy Rollins
  • Ryan Howard

There's more, but come on. Orlando Hudson over Rollins? Insane. Derrick Lee over Howard? Boo.

1 comment:

Darius said...

You wrote:
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Bench

Schneider, C, WSH (Definately doesn't deserve it, but I need a National and there's no super injustice at C--otherwise I'm cutting Ryan Howard for Delmon Young, Hanley Ramirez for Rafael Belliard, or Trevor Hoffman for any pitcher on the Nats).
*********************************

You mean DMITRI Young.