Thursday, June 25, 2009

All Star Considerations

To me, the All Star Game should be played by the best players at their positions in the year. Career stats, reputations, and other sentimentalities do not belong here. Using the logic that "it's up to the fans who they want to see" would also suggest that McDonald's makes the best hamburger.

Marco Scutaro deserves to be the starting SS. First, Scutaro has made only one error this year, and it was a questionable one at that, meaning that among regular shortstops, he is the only one with a fielding percentage above 0.990. Second, he leads all shortstops in assists and double-plays. Offensively, he leads the AL in Runs Scored and Times on Base and is in the top 10 in singles, doubles, bases on balls and hits.

Hill faces much tougher competition at 2B. While he has some excellent numbers, the AL is rich in fantastic second basemen. Any of the starters in the AL East plus a few of the others could make a leguitimate argument to be there, depending on waht aspect of the game you want to emphasize. Power (ISO)? Kinsler, Zobrist, Cano, Hill and Lopez, in that order. Average? Cabrerra, Callaspo, Cano, Hill and Zobrist, in that order. Fielding? Polanco, Kendrick, Kinsler, Pedroia, Hill and Roberts, in that order (using UZR/150). Hmm, the only one in the top 5 of each of those lists is Hill.

Rolen at third? Among third basemen, he's first in BA, second in OBP, and third in OPS. On the other side of the play, despite making many highlight real plays, his defensive numbers are very average, and not among the elite defenders such as Crede, Inga, Beltre and Longoria. Nevertheless, if he's in the top 5 for batting average when the rosters are finalized, he could get an invite.

Others that merit at least a mention:

Lyle Overbay is right up there with Paul Konerko, Kevin Youkilis and Chris Davis defensively at first and he has one of the highest OBPs in the AL, but we aren't watching the All Star Game to watch a guy walk. His offensive numbers are comparable to Konerko's, and offense DQs Davis. Bringing offense into the discussion adds Martinez, Cabrera, Morneau and Teixeira to the equation. Tough, but Lyle gets lost in the crowd.

Adam Lind is in the top 10 in a number of offensive categories, hits (10T), Total Bases (5T), doubles (3T), RBI (8T), Extra base hits (6) and times on base (7T). Hurting him is the fact that he's been mostly a DH, but there will be plenty of pinch hitting opportunities.

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