Jason looks at the worst players, by career WARP, to make multiple trips to the All-Star Game.
Last week, we looked at players who racked up large career WARP figures but for one reason or another (underappreciation, the league being incredibly stocked at their position, steady goodness rather than flashes of greatness) didn't make very many All-Star teams. This week, having sufficiently buried the lede, it's time to look at the players who inspired this investigation in the first place: the very worst players to make multiple All-Star Games. Caveats and notes:
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Which players have won MVP awards without making the Midsummer Classic?
If you watched the All-Star game on Tuesday—and judging by the ratings, that’s a pretty big “if”—you probably thought you were watching the best players Major League Baseball had to offer (except for some injured ones). After all, bringing the best in baseball together for our viewing pleasure is what the All-Star game is for, or was for when it was still relevant. And since nothing can be better than the best, you're probably thinking, why even bother to see the second half of the season?
With this year's rosters for the Midsummer Classic set to be announced on Sunday, revisit Click's Picks for the worst All-Stars of all time.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Everyone loves discussing All-Star snubs, but what about the undeserving players who did make it? James did some digging and came up with the following list of misguided selections, which originally ran as a "Crooked Numbers" column on July 7, 2005.
This is a review of my 2010 left field rankings. This time around, not only will we use auction values for mixed leagues, but also the dollar value for AL- and NL-only leagues. These dollar values come from Graphical Player 2011, and I think these will do a good job illustrating how much I missed by on the players I missed, though, broken record style, the why is more important than the result when it comes to these rankings. All PECOTA projections, dollar values and statistics in the parentheses are from 2010.
As technology changes, so do election patterns for the Midsummer Classic.
In America’s pastime, as in its politics, democracy is a wonderful but fragile thing. Ten years after Major League Baseball first gave its fans the option to vote for the starting lineups in the All-Star Game, Commissioner Ford Frick took it away again after 1957, when Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot boxes to elect all but one Reds' starter. This was not even a spontaneous upsurge of local pride: through the late spring, the Cincinnati Enquirer had printed ballots to distribute them easily to fans, and local bars even required customers to fill out ballots before they would be served. Not until 1970 were the fans put back in charge of picking the starters, but it’s been in their hands ever since—even surviving another sabotage attempt when Massachusetts hacker Chris Nandor was able to create a program that voted for Nomar Garciaparra nearly 40,000 times to edge out Derek Jeter.
The Midsummer Classic is OK but the real thing is better.
ANAHEIM—Last week, after having arrived in Southern California, I outlined my reservations about the All-Star Game, from whether or not it's a real game, to whether its rosters are comprised entirely of stars, let alone all of them. In short, I've been a bit dubious about the All-Star Game fulfilling all three of its core components, and when you hitch that baseball-flavored entertainment to the new expectation that the unwieldy proposition has to mean something—in this case, home-field advantage in the World Series—and you're left with a strange proposition.
It's a game that counts—at least as far as the teams presently still in the running are concerned—but it tends not to be managed that way. The rosters are selected with an even more chaotic selection process, where fans, players, the two managers, and then the fans again, and then the managers once again too, at least once you wind up with the annual passel of guys bugging out, pitchers made unavailable because they've been too busy as recently as Sunday helping their employer win ballgames... you can see where this gets us.
Can the All-Star Game fulfill any element of its proposition to a serious skeptic?
I'll admit, I've been an All-Star skeptic for a long, long, long time. When I was blessed with the absolute certainty of youth, I would derisively laugh off the All-Star Game as merely a baseball-flavored entertainment. I haven't watched any portion of an All-Star Game since seeing Bo Jackson turn Rick Reuschel into the All-Star Game's answer to Craig Ehlo back in 1989*, usually treating the break as just that, a time to relax and review, what had happened and what could be coming, both before and after the launch of Baseball Prospectus for 1996.
That didn't change even now that the contest “counts,” a product of Czarist pique and union tractability after the embarrassment of the tie of 2002. It's not a worse idea than the previous method of letting World Series home-field advantage be alternated annually, but as someone who figures that home-field advantage should simply belong to the team with the best record—especially if we're going to have interleague play—it isn't exactly the sort of thing that makes you settle into your seat, intent on the outcome because of what's at stake.
There were two hot tickets for central Virginians in the summer of 1992: the new rock band from Charlottesville that featured both a saxophone and a violin, and the AAA All-Star Game hosted by the Richmond Braves. Seventeen years later, Dave Matthews Band have established themselves as one of the biggest touring bands in the world, and three alumni from the AAA All-Star Game (Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Bernie Williams) look like strong candidates to make the Hall of Fame.
The head of Seattle's new Department of Statistical Research elaborates on the ins and outs and evolution of baseball analysis.
A new era of Mariners baseball began when Seattle hired Jack Zduriencik as their general manager following the 2008 season, an era that will include an increased emphasis on statistical analysis. Helping to lead that charge will be Tony Blengino, who previously served as Milwaukee's assistant director of amateur scouting under Zduriencik, and now holds the title of special assistant to the general manager, baseball operations. A chief financial officer and author of the book Future Stars, before joining organized baseball in 2003, Blengino will head Seattle's newly created Department of Statistical Research. Blengino talked about his new role, and how the Mariners hope to build a championship-caliber team through a perfect marriage between traditional scouting and statistical analysis.