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June 29, 2011

On the Beat

Perrotto's Picks

by John Perrotto

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Major League Baseball will announce the rosters for the All-Star Game on Sunday afternoon. Seconds later, fans and media members will begin debating the makeup of the American League and National League squads.

It's a summer tradition, after all.

As usual, the fans will make a few strange choices in their voting for the starting lineups, the players will make some odds decisions in their balloting for some of the pitchers and reserves, and AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers and his NL counterpart Bruce Bochy of the Giants will show some bias toward their own teams in filling out the rosters.

Because everyone loves a good baseball argument, especially when it comes to the All-Star Game, let's get this one started early with my annual picks for the Midsummer Classic. As usual, I relied on some of our proprietary metrics here at Baseball Prospectus to help guide my selections, such as Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), True Average (TAv), Fair Run Average (FRA), and Skills Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA).

I also followed MLB's rules when it comes to selecting the rosters, meaning every team must be represented and each league must have at least 14 pitchers on its staff in case the game lasts 25 innings. All stats are through Monday.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Starting lineup

First baseman: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox (.361/.415/.611, .356 TAv, 5.5 WARP). The Red Sox paid a steep price in prospects to the Padres to acquire him last winter, and the sweet-swinging left-handed hitter has certainly been worth it so far.

Second baseman: Ben Zobrist, Rays (.271/.351/.481, .306, 2.9). Zorilla has become one of the most valuable players in the game, thanks to his ability to both play multiple positions and produce offensively.

Third baseman: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (.300/.377/.513, .311, 3.2). So much for the idea that A-Rod was starting to slip.

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (.295/.346/.502, .308, 2.5). He has had a breakout season on both sides of the ball, though he has cooled at the plate in recent weeks.

Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers (.304/.375/.542, .335, 3.3). He is rapidly becoming one of the premier young players in the game, yet it seems that few people have taken notice.

Designated hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox (.311/.391/.582, .337, 2.4). So much for the idea that Big Papi was starting to slip.

Outfielder: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (.328/.469/.656, .392, 5.4). He has emphatically proven that his monster 2010 was not a fluke by being the best player in baseball through the first half of 2011.

Outfielder: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (.303/.365/.461, .301, 3.5). He has put his injury-riddled 2010 behind him and cemented himself as one of the game's premier leadoff hitters.

Outfielder: Curtis Granderson, Yankees (.276/.360/.572, .324, 3.1). He has carried his last-season surge into 2011 while continuing to avoid his former struggles against southpaws.

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Tigers (2.38 ERA, 3.58 FRA, 2.97 SIERA, 2.2 WARP). He hasn't necessarily been the best pitcher in the AL this season, but nobody can dominate a game like Verlander, and it would be fun to see him face an All-Star lineup for two innings.

---

Reserves

Pitchers: Daniel Bard, Red Sox (0.8 WARP); Aaron Crow, Royals (0.8); Gio Gonzalez, Athletics (1.8); Dan Haren, Angels (1.7); Felix Hernandez, Mariners (2.0); Brandon League, Mariners (0.4); David Price, Rays (2.4); Mariano Rivera, Yankees (0.6); CC Sabathia, Yankees (2.0); Sergio Santos, White Sox (0.8); James Shields, Rays (2.2); Jordan Walden, Angels (0.8); Jered Weaver, Angels (3.1).

Position players: C-Carlos Santana, Indians (1.7 WARP); C-Matt Wieters, Orioles (1.1); 1B-Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (3.1); 2B-Howie Kendrick, Angels (1.6); 2B-Ian Kinsler, Rangers (2.3); 3B-Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (2.9); SS-Jhonny Peralta, Tigers (2.3); OF-Alex Gordon, Royals (3.2); OF-Matt Joyce, Rays (2.4); OF-Carlos Quentin, White Sox (1.9); OF-Denard Span, Twins (2.4).

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Starting lineup

First baseman: Prince Fielder, Brewers (.306/.426/.611, .348 TAv, 2.7 WARP). The big man is going to be a very rich man when he reaches free agency in November.

Second baseman: Rickie Weeks, Brewers (.290/.360/.498, .297, 3.0). He has blossomed into the star player that the Brewers always thought he could be.

Third baseman: Chase Headley, Padres (.300/.397/.408, .298, 1.7). The NL hot corner offers a very weak field, but Headley has been an on-base machine for an otherwise awful offense.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, Mets (.341/.385/.514, .322, 3.8). Like Fielder, he is set to hit the jackpot this upcoming winter as another under-30 free agent coming off a huge year.

Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves (.307/.384/.528, .317, 3.1). He continues to put up big numbers every year without drawing much attention.

Outfielder: Ryan Braun, Brewers (.308/.390/.554, .329, 3.2). The Brewers have committed to him as their franchise player, and his performance has been worthy of that distinction.

Outfielder: Matt Kemp, Dodgers (.336/.422/.636, .373, 4.6). With his focus on baseball instead of celebrity, he has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season in Chavez Ravine.

Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (.285/.388/.463, .309, 3.1). He is the cornerstone player for a franchise that is finally starting to emerge from the abyss of 18 consecutive losing seasons.

Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (2.93 ERA, 3.04 FRA, 2.81 SIERA, 4.2 WARP). The lefty keeps getting better and better, and the best part is that he is just 23 years old.

---

Reserves

Pitchers: Madison Bumgarner, Giants (3.1 WARP); Roy Halladay, Phillies (2.6); Cole Hamels, Phillies (3.0); Joel Hanrahan, Pirates (1.0); Jair Jurrjens, Braves (1.8); Craig Kimbrel, Braves (1.1); Cliff Lee, Phillies (3.3); Francisco Rodriguez, Mets (0.7); Tim Stauffer, Padres (3.3); Huston Street, Rockies (0.4); Jonny Venters, Braves (1.3); Brian Wilson, Giants (0.8); Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals (2.7).

Position players: C-Yadier Molina,  Cardinals (0.9 WARP); C-Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks (1.8); 1B-Gaby Sanchez, Marlins (2.9); 1B-Joey Votto, Reds (2.9); 2B-Danny Espinosa, Nationals (2.2); 3B-Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks (1.8); SS-Starlin Castro, Cubs (1.9); SS-Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (2.3); OF-Lance Berkman, Cardinals (2.5); OF-Hunter Pence, Astros (2.1); OF-Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (2.7); OF-Shane Victorino, Phillies (2.4).

---

Rumors and Rumblings:

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is hoping to beat some long odds and be ready to pitch in late September and the postseason after undergoing Tommy John surgery in February. Wainwright has financial incentive to rush back because options for $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in 2013 would be triggered if he is on the active roster at the end of the season… The Phillies will go with a combination of left-hander Antonio Bastardo and right-hander Michael Stutes to finish games now that they are down to their fourth-string closer with Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson all on the disabled list… The Giants have decided to switch back to Miguel Tedada at shortstop as rookie Brandon Crawford has struggled at the plate in his first taste of the major leagues… The Rangers continue to push hard to acquire an eighth-inning reliever to set up closer Neftali Feliz, who would also be under club control next season and could move into the closer role while Feliz shifts to the rotation. Two pitchers whom the Rangers have interest in that fit the criteria are the Padres' Mike Adams and the Nationals' Tyler Clippard… The Nationals, who entered Tuesday 4 1/2 games out in the NL wild card standings, are willing to make trades to help their playoff chances this season but only want players under club control beyond 2011. One deal they have discussed is acquiring center fielder Julio Borbon from the Rangers for Clippard.

---

Scouts' views:

Marlins utility player Emilio Bonifacio: "He has his limitations, but he's the type of player that (manager) Jack McKeon has a knack for getting the most out of. Jack won't overexpose him, and he'll find situations where he can succeed. It's too bad the guy has never learned how to use his speed to get on base, because he's as fast as anybody in the game."

Athletics right fielder David DeJesus: "I know his numbers are terrible, but I'd buy low on him if I were a contender. He still has a really good eye, and I don't see any holes in his swing. I know he's better than a .225 hitter."

Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez: "The thing that really strikes me about him, especially for such a veteran, is that he looks really antsy this year when he's hitting with runners in scoring position or the game on the line. He looks like he can't wait to get the at-bat over with."

Brewers right-hander Kameron Loe: "He's turned into one of the best set-up men in the league since coming back from Japan. What I like about him is he doesn’t mess around. He comes right after the hitters and dares them to hit it. He's much more aggressive than he was when he was starting."

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes: "I know teams aren't as willing to give up prospects in trades like they used to, but the Mets need to leverage him into something good at the deadline. The way he's playing, he will be a difference-maker for whatever team gets him, and the Mets have to make sure they get full value for that. Sandy Alderson is a smart guy, and he could really set that club up for the future with the right trade."

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

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28 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

lemppi

Since he at least catches part time, I might take Victor Martinaez over one of the backup catchers in the AL........otherwise I like the AL picks.

Jun 29, 2011 07:17 AM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

If Im Alderson, I either get two top prospects, or I take my chances in free agency. That's the only way to play it. If teams don't want to pay, then they can keep what they have.

Jun 29, 2011 07:36 AM
rating: -1
 
escapingNihilism

the only way to play it is to weigh the offer you get vs. the value of two draft picks you'd get as compensation. this way you end up on top any way you slice it, even in the incredibly unlikely scenario you sign Reyes back as a FA after trading him away.

Jun 29, 2011 08:09 AM
rating: -1
 
faithdies

I'm confused, and this has nothing to do really with this article, but why does Bumgarner and Stauffer have such high WARP's in comparison to the rest of the pitchers listed there...?

Jun 29, 2011 08:44 AM
rating: 4
 
Scott44

No Jhoulys Chacin?

Jun 29, 2011 09:15 AM
rating: 0
 
faithdies

I don't know where to go to talk about this(maybe someone can point me in the right direction) but, I was looking at the WARP leaderboard and it just doesn't make sense. Here are a few players(there are more but I grabbed the most egegious ones) ahead of Halladay in WARP:
Derek Lowe
Tim Stauffer
Madison Bumgarner
Justin Masterson
Chad Billingsley
Dan Hudson
Jon Niese
Jason Marquis

Jun 29, 2011 10:01 AM
rating: 3
 
saucyjack88

THANK YOU!! I was thinking the exact same thing. Looking at the data, how can Halladay have a lower WARP than Stouffer or Bumgarner?? It makes NO sense to me; Halladay pitches in a tougher park yet has WAY better peripherals (SIERA, WHIP, not to mention doing that in 30% more IP).
.
Can someone please explain this??? I want to, and to some degree have, embraced the "new" stats, but these numbers don't pass the smell test.

Jun 29, 2011 13:10 PM
rating: 0
 
kmbart

Yeah, not sure how you can lead your league in ERA, FRA, SIERA, K/BB and IP and NOT lead in WARP. Just bizarre.

Jun 30, 2011 07:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

WARP includes pitching, hitting and defensive contributions, so Doc's .091 TAv and -0.9 FRAA pulls him down quite a bit.

Jun 30, 2011 11:44 AM
 
saucyjack88

Hi Ken and thanks for the response. I have to say then that FRAA and pitcher batting stats are waited far too heavily in the WARP calculations. I mean there is so little impact or effect on a game from pitcher hitting/ fielding, it seems rather odd, doesn't it?

Jun 30, 2011 12:26 PM
rating: 0
 
saucyjack88

*weighted*

Jun 30, 2011 12:27 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ken Funck
BP staff

Perhaps -- although a plate appearance is a plate appearance, after all, and Halladay has been awful at the plate. Doc has the worst Batting WARP among pitchers (-0.5), while Kershaw has the best (+0.7).

Jun 30, 2011 15:32 PM
 
faithdies

So, Tim Stauffer has been worth more to his baseball team this year than Roy Halladay(or any innumerable number of pitchers that are far better then Tim Stauffer)? If the answer is "No" then that kinda invalidates the usage of WARP considering the whole idea is to quantify how much value is a player is worth to his team.

Jul 01, 2011 09:59 AM
rating: 0
 
faithdies

Egregious*

Jun 29, 2011 10:02 AM
rating: 0
 
timber

Wainwright had surgery in March and he really thinks he'll be able to pitch in September? C'mon, who is he kidding?

Jun 29, 2011 10:27 AM
rating: 0
 
cfinberg

His creditors.

Jun 29, 2011 11:40 AM
rating: 1
 
Lou Doench

Is Johnny Cueto somehow invisible to people out there? I know his 1.93 era is small and his .937 whip is miniscule, but c'mon, he's an All Star isn't he? Also, the reigning gold glove at 2b would like to have a word as well...

;)

Jun 29, 2011 11:36 AM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

Until Cueto gets enough IP to qualify for the ERA title (and show up on leaderboards), he's not going to get the attention he deserves. Since coming back from the DL with his new and improved Tiant/Nomo-esque delivery, he's been excellent -- though probably a tad lucky too...

Jun 29, 2011 13:18 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

Only taking 2 AL 1st basemen? Mark Tiexiera would like a word with you

Jun 29, 2011 13:38 PM
rating: 0
 
grandslam28

And Paul Konerko should absolutely be on the allstar team

Jun 29, 2011 13:45 PM
rating: 4
 
grandslam28

Pretty sure Cano should be the starting/deserving second baseman.

Jun 29, 2011 13:48 PM
rating: 2
 
grandslam28

Josh Beckett being left off this list is a sin.

Jun 29, 2011 13:50 PM
rating: 1
 
bbienk01

Fun read. I do think the Giants pitching staff deserves more representation (and will get in real life). That pitching is why the team with the worst offense in MLB is in first place.

Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson will be voted on by the players, who I imagine rightly recognize that, June hiccup notwithstanding, Timmy remains one of the most dominant starters in baseball.

While Bumgarner is having a great season masked by one disaster start and poor run support, I think Matt Cain will be the other starter selected by Bruce Bochy. There may be more deserving starting pitchers based on the first three months of this season (including Cain's teammate, Vogelsong), but Bochy will reward Cain for the body of work that has often been overlooked due to the Giants failure to score runs for him.

I also think Sergio Romo is deserving of a spot. Ramon Ramirez has the shiny ERA, but Romo's peripherals are otherworldly. 36 strikeouts to 3 unintentional walks in 24 innings (and only 16 hits!).

Jun 29, 2011 15:36 PM
rating: 0
 
davinhbrown

wahoooooo!! two Buccos all-stars!!

Jun 29, 2011 17:48 PM
rating: 0
 
greensox

I think using the deep internal metrics are really the wrong way to select an all star team. Players selected should be based on what was actually produced, not on what SHOULD have been produced. I wouldn't go any deeper than ERA/WHIP for pitchers and OPS for hitters.
It's like picking the playoff teams using Pythagorean wins instead of actual wins.
The deep metrics are more predictors.

Jun 30, 2011 20:44 PM
rating: 0
 
wjmcknight37

How can Josh Beckett not be on the AL list?

Jul 01, 2011 11:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BrewersTT

Re WARP for pitchers: it seems OK to me for WARP to measure the player's overall impact; after all, that's what it does for position players. I think though that pitchers being considered for the all-star game ought to be able to waive their hitting and maybe their fielding too. I doubt that anyone in the history of all-star voting has stopped for one moment to think about the hitting of the candidate pitchers, and their fielding only comes up if it is visibly superior. It's not a real factor in the voting. Therefore I think WARP is probably not ideal for choosing the pitchers.

Jul 01, 2011 13:22 PM
rating: 0
 
John Collins
(110)

Denard Span is on the DL with a concussion; my guess is that Cuddyer is the Twins rep.

Jul 02, 2011 20:36 PM
rating: 0
 
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