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There was a lot of feedback
on yesterday’s column, which included the All-Star ballot I filled out last Saturday.
Almost all of the e-mail dealt with my choices in the AL’s outfield.

  • The "16 outfielders" comment

    Hyperbole, folks. I wouldn’t really pick J.D. Drew over Manny Ramirez, but I certainly believe the NL has the top
    six or so candidates to be an All-Star outfielder, and a lot more legitimate All-Stars as you go down their list. The tenth-best
    outfielders in each league are something like Adam Dunn in the NL and Kenny Lofton in the AL, and that’s more than
    the difference between a 16-team league and a 14-team one. The NL has in outfielders what the AL has in shortstops.

  • Torii Hunter

    In my book, you can’t be an All-Star based on six weeks of good play. I absolutely hate that standard for picking All-Stars, and
    yet every year, we hear that some guy coming off the hottest month of his life should be an All-Star over an established star
    playing a bit below his level.

    The All-Star Game is for the best players in baseball; not the guys having the best season–or best first six weeks–but the
    best players. That’s my criterion. Here’s another: if putting you on an All-Star team would have seemed silly in March, you
    don’t get there by May 22.

    Torii Hunter is having a very good year, and when you consider his defense, he’s a pretty good choice as the AL MVP to date. But
    if anyone had suggested he was an All-Star two months ago, they would have been laughed out of the room. His career OBP coming
    into this season was .310, his career high .318.

    I once again point to the Charles Johnson Test. If this player goes 10-for-100, will his selection look silly? In
    Hunter’s case, the answer is "yes." Bernie Williams has an infinitely better All-Star argument than Hunter
    does, regardless of the fact that Hunter has played better this season.

  • Magglio Ordonez

    Hrm.

    Let’s work the problem.

    
    2002:
    
    Player             Pos     G   AVG   OBP   SLG   EqA   RARP
    
    Manny Ramirez       LF    33  .372  .497  .673  .396   24.1
    Ichiro Suzuki       RF    42  .349  .431  .456  .339   19.2
    Bernie Williams     CF    43  .290  .398  .491  .316   16.2
    
    Magglio Ordonez     RF    44  .335  .374  .575  .315   13.1
    
    2001:
    
    Player             Pos     G   AVG   OBP   SLG   EqA   RARP
    
    Manny Ramirez       LF   142  .306  .405  .609  .336   60.6
    Ichiro Suzuki       RF   157  .350  .381  .457  .311   50.3
    Bernie Williams     CF   146  .307  .395  .522  .321   60.0
    
    Magglio Ordonez     RF   160  .305  .382  .533  .314   48.5
    


    There are about a dozen ways to break this down, because we have four players with different edges, playing different positions,
    and having wildly divergent defensive value.

    I will say that the fact that I didn’t mention Ordonez in yesterday’s column was an oversight. He should be a part of this
    discussion. However, I still wouldn’t put him on the team ahead of any of the guys I did select, nor would he make the team
    ahead of Mike Cameron, who compares reasonably well to Ordonez as a hitter and has more defensive value:

    
                       Pos     G   AVG   OBP   SLG   EqA   RARP
    Cameron, 2001       CF   150  .267  .353  .480  .307   50.8
    Cameron, 2002       CF    43  .248  .374  .529  .327   18.8
    


    You could make an argument that both players will make better choices than Manny Ramirez, who won’t be playing for some
    time, but I still think Ichiro Suzuki and Bernie Williams are superior to Ordonez and Cameron. Plus, as I said
    last year, there’s an element of spectacle to this, and I think it’s fair to give Ichiro bonus points for being someone people
    want to watch.

As always, thanks for the feedback. The people who read this column make me think about what I write, make me challenge my
assumptions. It’s the best part of this gig, and I just wish I had the time to respond to more of the mail I receive.


Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by
clicking here.

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