Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weaver Loses Temper, Verlander Loses No-Hitter

Sunday's Angels-Tigers game lived up to its hype. Billed as a pitchers duel between two of the AL's best, it fell just shy of pistols from becoming an actual duel. Both Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander entered the day with a 5.1 fWAR, good for second in the American League. Weaver and Verlander were also in the top four in ERA, FIP and WPA. But those will all be topics for a future post, this is about one day game and what happened close to the chalk lines.

The excitement started in the bottom of the third inning. After Weaver managed to somehow put Don Kelly on base with a walk, Magglio Ordonez hit a hanging change-up 388 feet. Ordonez watched the ball stay fair for the two-run home run. Weaver took exception to the time it took Ordonez to leave the batter's box and shot him a combo stink/evil eye as he rounded the bases. Weaver shook it off and retired the next 12 Tigers he faced.

Fast forwarding to the bottom of the seventh inning, Weaver surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Guillen. Guillen, unlike Ordonez earlier, deliberately showed up the Angels ace by watching the homer, flipping his bat and turning toward Weaver during a sideways trot to first. Home Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt went to the mound in an attempt to cool off the visibly upset Weaver and issued warnings to both benches. Cooler heads would prevail until Weaver's very next pitch.

Weaver threw over Mike Avila's head and began walking off the mound and yelling at Guillen in the dugout before Wendelstedt could make the ejection motion. I certainly don't condone a pitcher throwing at another player's head and I'm afraid a suspension is looming. Personally I choose to believe that pitch got away from Weaver and wasn't meant for Avila's head. I don't cheer for retaliation.

Oh, right.

In the meantime, Verlander was just tossing another no-hitter through seven innings. Still 3-0, Erick Aybar led of the eighth inning with a "violation of the unwritten rules of no-hitter decency" bunt. Verlander fielded it, threw it away and got the benefit of some home cooking from the scorer. Ruled an error, Verlander kept his no-hitter in tact. Mark Trumbo grounded Aybar to third and then Aybar would score on a bizarre fielder's choice/rundown between third and home. Howie Kendrick struck out before Maicer Izturis broke up the no-hitter with a liner into left field.

Verlander had some choice words for Aybar which seemed to indicate a fastball has Ayabar's name on it next time around. Jose Valverde closed the game to give the Tigers a 3-2 win. Now for some post game quotes courtesy of
"I had a lot of respect for those guys, but then they stand at the plate and do something like that," Weaver said. "I'm not going to try to hit someone, but what Guillen did crossed the line."
See? Told you guys he wasn't trying to hit Avila.
"I don't hit many homers anymore, and I wanted to make sure that it stayed fair," Ordonez said. "After that, he was yelling at me to run faster, and I told him that I'm old -- that's as fast as I run.

"I'm not going to show anyone up. That's not me."
Funny and true.
"Magglio has 14 years in the major leagues," said Guillen, one of Ordonez's closest friends. "You don't tell him to run. I respect people when they respect us. If you don't respect us, you don't get it."
Guillen defending respect with one asshole action after another.
"I know it was only 3-0, so I can understand there are arguments on both sides. But as a pitcher, we call that bush league," he (Verlander) said. "I think he was trying to get his team back into the game, but I also think it was a response to things that had happened before."
Blame that respectmonger Guillen.
"That's my game -- I don't have power," he (Aybar) said. "(Verlander) told me he'd get me next year, and I said that was OK."
While true, Aybar has more home runs this season than Ordonez and Guillen combined. It was a little dick-ish. Awesome. And a little dick-ish.

And then Torii Hunter summed it all up.
"That was stupid -- it was all stupid. Everybody was stupid," he said. "That was unprofessional on both sides."
Maybe. Or best game of the season.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tim Wakefield Records 2,000th Red Sox Strikeout

To show that I'm not completely insensitive to round numbers, I will now attempt to write more words about Tim Wakefield striking out 2,000 hitters as a Red Sock than I wrote about Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit. And that should do it. See, my 40-ish word summation of Jeter's accomplishment was less about hating on him or the Yankees and more about our weird pedestaling of round numbers.

Well, obviously, 3,000 hits is more significant than 2,000 strikeouts with one team but the fans of round numbers were on their feet and clapping like circus seals Sunday night after Wakefield struck out Matt Carp (Adam Dunn struck out watching the highlight). Wake joins Roger Clemens as the only two pitchers to record 2,000 strikeouts as Red Sox. It only took the knuckelballer four more seasons (17-13) in Beantown to get to that meaningless number.

Much like Clemens, Wakefield also racked up some K numbers outside of Boston. He recorded 210 in Pittsburgh for 2,210 so far in his career. Clemens dabbled in a few more cities and finished with 4,672 strikeouts so you can see the similarities between the two.

Boston manager Terry Francona wasn't even sure how to handle such a monumental milestone...
“So not quite sure how to react to that,’’ Francona said. “I was thrilled people were showing their appreciation. I just kind of sit there and say, ‘I’ll shake his hand when he comes out.’ ’’

That happened in the seventh, when Wakefield gave up four consecutive hits, capped by Ryan’s second career slam. Still, it didn’t stop the crowd from treating Wakefield to another standing ovation.

“I’d like to have that seventh inning back,’’ said Wakefield, who acknowledged it was difficult to collect himself after all the adulation over the 2,000th strikeout. “I was very fortunate that we were able to score 12 runs today, which made it a lot easier."
Not exactly the dominant performance you'd expect from such a highly skilled strikeout artist. Oh well. Wakefield will have a chance for another standing ovation soon as he's sitting at 199 career wins. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attempt my 200th nap of the season, joining other legends Connie Mack, Garfield and Andy Capp.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Adam Dunn Realizes He's Awful

Adam Dunn has spent the past two games watching the White Sox from the bench as baseball's version of a healthy scratch. While it was two of his better games in July, it gave him some time to reflect on his regrettable season. Despite owning Dunn in fantasy baseball, this is becoming one of my favorite stories of the year. Dunn, one of MLB's most consistent power hitters for 10 years, mysteriously turned into the little league kid who swings with his eyes closed.

Dunn's .158/.289/.299 line is embarrassingly the lowest of his otherwise underrated career. How bad has it gotten for Dunn? His .273 wOBA (weighted On Base Average) is the exact same as uber bust Brandon Wood. (Sorry to pick on you, Brandon. I'll still root for you when you're a Yuma Scorpion next year.) At least Dunn realizes he's a shell of the shell of his former self and even talked retirement with Yahoo! Sports...
“Flat out. I’ll go home. I mean that. Swear to goodness. I’ll. Go. Home. I enjoy playing. Even though I suck. Or have been sucking. I enjoy playing the game. Love it. But as soon as I lose that, I’m gone, dude. It’s true."


“How many games can you play doing this? This is ridiculous."
But Sox GM Kenny Williams shouldn't be expecting a check for the rest of Dunn's $56 million contract in the mail anytime soon. Dunn may acknowledge his suckitude and talk a good game about quitting but that doesn't mean he's actually going to...
“It’s not going to happen,” he says. “Zero chance. Zero. You can’t get this competition anywhere else, dude. I don’t care where you look. Nowhere else. It’s one-on-one, dude. And you can’t find that anywhere."
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Adam, but what you're doing right now doesn't count as competition. I'd suggest taking up ping pong but with your recent struggles making contact with a ball maybe you'd be better served joining a Skee Ball league. I hear those dudes are getting pretty serious plus with enough tickets you can get a sweet mustache comb.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ozzie Guillen Won't Protect Adam Dunn

White Sox manager/crazy person Ozzie Guillen doesn't need or use stats to fill out a lineup card and, for that, Juan Pierre thanks him. Guillen also doesn't care if a player might break the single season strikeout mark as long as that player isn't hurting the team. So Guillen won't sit Adam Dunn and his .160/.290/.302 line. Wait, what?
"I will sit him down if he's not helping the ballclub, but not because of a mark," Guillen said Sunday. "Not at all, no. (If) we need him to take a break and give somebody a chance, I will do it.


"(But) I just worry about putting the best guys out there every time," Guillen said.

"Every time Dunn or (Alex) Rios is there, I feel like they have a chance. But it's not what I feel. It's how they feel."
Dunn has crossed the Godfather III threshold into the "made a donation in your name present" territory on the chart of disappointment this season. Dunn is having the worst year of his career and it's not even close. His strikeout rate is the highest of his career at 36.4% and his .274 wOBA is 79 points worse than his previous low. Even removing most of his atrocious defense by DHing and playing a little fist base, Dunn is still putting up a -1.6 WAR which, by definition, means he's worse than a replacement level player.

But, Ozzie keeps running him out there and hoping for the best. So far this season, the "best" is 1-4 with three strikeouts. The strikeouts are piling up (122 in 335 plate appearances) but he is still a long way from Mark Reynolds magical 223 strikeout record season of 2009. Fangraphs ZiPS is projecting 81 strikeouts for the rest of the season leaving Dunn with a mere 203. Of course, those projections don't have Dunn accumulating over 600 plate appearances so maybe they were nervous about Guillen pulling the plug on Dunn's terribleness. Silly projections.

Friday, July 15, 2011

PECOTA Doesn't Love The Angels

This is nothing new, of course, since the Angels routinely outperform their expected winning percentage under Mike Scioscia. Despite winning 14 of 17 and only being one win over their expected record entering the break, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA still doesn't give the Halos much of a chance to make the playoffs in the Reset Odds piece on (Insider required). The new projections give the Angels an 18.4% to make the postseason (17.9 for the division, 0.5 wild card) which is actually up 5.2% from the preseason round of nerd math.

Obviously, the landscape could change quite a bit over the next two weeks before the July 31st trade deadline. The Angels have already called upon top prospect Mike Trout but his role on the team remains unclear once Peter Bourjos returns from a hamstring injury. As far as turning to the trade market, the rumors vary wildly. ESPN LA's Mark Saxon heard from a source that the Angels will be "pinching pennies" which makes some sense after they took on one of baseball's most lucrative and absurd contracts in Vernon Wells this off-season.

On the other side of the spectrum, NBC New York tries to make a case for Carlos Beltran getting shipped to Orange County. It seems highly unlikely that the Angels would take on that kind of salary even with the Mets kicking in some cash. Finding room in the lineup for Beltran is even more problematic with Bourjos, Wells, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu sharing outfield and DH duties and that's without even trying to get Trout more time.

The trade rumor I could actually get on board with was brought up in a recent Jonah Keri article for (Insider required). Keri suggested the Angels could give up a pair of pitching prospects for San Diego closer Heath Bell. A bullpen stocked with Bell, Scott Downs and Jordan Walden added to aces Jered Weaver and Dan Haren is a formula that tends to do well in October. If Bell isn't re-signed, he figures to be a Type A free agent and would get the Angels a couple more picks in the 2012 draft.

The Angels could also just benefit from improved in-house play like more production from Vernon Wells and less playing time for Jeff Mathis. Wells can't be as bad as his current .222/.248/.409 line suggests even if Fangraphs ZiPS projection for the rest of the season (.252/.298/.430) isn't that much better. Meanwhile, Mathis (.195/.241/.286) is every bit as terrible as he usually is but Scioscia keeps running him out there just in case Mathis has some incriminating photos of the skipper.

The bottom line is that the AL West is a very winnable division for the Angels, especially with Weaver and Haren anchoring the rotation. I just don't understand why PECOTA gives the Rangers an 80.5% chance to win the West but I'm no scientist regardless of what I might tell women in bars. By the way, "race car driver" works much better than "scientist."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jose Cano Is Not A Good Pitcher

Robinson Cano blasted his way past Adrian Gonzalez Monday night to capture the 2011 Home Run Derby crown. It was quite the show. Cano hit a record breaking 12 home runs in the final round including the 472-foot winner with four outs to go. Some writers suggested this was Cano's coming out party or whatnot. Although I thought Cano was a long shot to win, it's not like he's been flying under the radar. Cano is a Yankee after all and has had an ISO over .200 for the past two seasons and .199 in 2009. I don't think a Home Run Derby championship was needed to get a 25-30 home run per season second baseman playing in New York some attention.

The other angle played up in every post/article/conversation about Cano's victory is, of course, that he had his father pitching to him during the competition. Jose Cano surrendered home run after home run to his son. I would have preferred to see Jose throw one high and inside just to remind Robbie who's the boss (it was Angela) but what do I know about parenting. The closest I've come is using my 4-year-old nephew to try to pick up women in the park. It was a really cool story though. Then we all needed to be reminded that Jose Cano was a former Houston Astros pitcher. Which is true.

The elder Cano pitched 23 innings in 1989. He gave up 24 hits, 13 runs, 2 homers and walked 7 for a 5.09 ERA. I'm pretty sure giving up 32 homers to his son will be the much fonder baseball memory. Either way, I felt it was my duty to point out that Jose Cano is/was a lousy pitcher. If you include his Home Run Derby performance, by my math, his MLB career ERA would be around 900.

We still have a soft spot in our hearts for Jose here. At last year's All Star game festivities, he asked occasional Off Base editor Derwood to take a picture with him. Derwood is the short white guy not wearing the "Team Cano" shirt if any of you were confused.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Your 2011 All Star Game Payrolls

Ever wonder how much an All Star team would cost? Well, I do too after roughly half (or 10%, if you want to split hairs) of Major League players were, at some point, added to the 2011 All Star rosters. This year's biggest snub, Andrew McCutchen, was seemingly passed over half a dozen times before being added to the NL squad and now he's starting for them. I was at work and the voicemail is a little garbled but I think I had a chance to replace Jon Lester on the AL team if I could have correctly named the Academy Award winner for best movie in 1975.

Despite players backing out because of injuries, faux-juries, travel plans and overall disinterest, MLB will still play the All Star Game on Tuesday. It's a good thing it counts for something. Anyway, here are the payrolls...

American League All StarsNational League All Stars
C Alex Avila, DET - $450,000C Brian McCann, ATL - $6,500,000
1B Adrian Gonzalez, BOS- $5,500,001B Prince Fielder, MIL - $15,500,000
2B Robinson Cano, NYY - $10,000,0002B Rickie Weeks, MIL - $3,500,000
3B Adrian Beltre, TEX - $14,000,0003B Scott Rolen, CIN - $6,500,000
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE - $2,025,000SS Troy Tulowitzki, COL - $5,500,000
OF Jose Bautista, TOR - $8,000,000OF Lance Berkman, HOU - $8,000,000
OF Curtis Granderson, NYY - $8,250,000OF Andrew McCutchen, PIT - $452,500
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX - $7,250,000OF Matt Kemp, LAD - $6,950,000
DH David Ortiz, BOS - $12,500,000
Josh Beckett, BOS - $15,750,000Heath Bell, SD - $7,500,000
Aaron Crow, KC - $1,000,000 Tyler Clippard, WAS - $433,000
Gio Gonzalez, OAK - $420,000Kevin Correia, PIT - $3,000,000
Brandon League, SEA - $2,250,000 Roy Halladay, PHI - $20,000,000
Alexi Ogando, TEX - $430,150Joel Hanrahan, PIT - $1,400,000
Chris Perez, CLE - $2,225,000Jair Jurjjens, ATL - $3,250,000
Michael Pineda, SEA - $414,000Clayton Kershaw, LAD - $500,000
David Robertson, NYY - $460,450Craig Kimbrel, ATL - $419,000
Ricky Romero, TOR - $750,000Cliff Lee, PHI - $11,000,000
Jose Valverde, DET - $7,000,000Tim Lincecum, SF - $13,000,000
Jordan Walden, LAA - $414,000Jonny Venters, ATL $429,500
Jered Weaver, LAA - $7,370,000Ryan Vogelsong, SF - $414,500
C.J. Wilson, TEX - $7,000,000Brian Wilson, SF - $6,500,000
C Russell Martin, NYY - $4,000,000C Yadier Molina, STL - $5,250,000
C Matt Wieters, BAL - $452,250C Miguel Montero, ARI - $3,200,000
1B Miguel Cabrera, DET - $20,000,0001B Gaby Sanchez, FLA - $431,000
1B Paul Konerko, CWS - $12,000,0001B Joey Votto, CIN - $5,500,000
2B Howie Kendrick, LAA - $3,300,0002B Brandon Phillips, CIN - $11,000,000
3B Kevin Youklis, BOS - $12,000,0003B Pablo Sandoval, SF - $500,000
SS Jhonny Peralta, CLE - $5,250,000SS Starlin Castro, CHC - $440,000
OF Michael Cuddyer, MIN - $10,500,000OF Carlos Beltran, NYM - $18,500,000
OF Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS - $2,400,000OF Hunter Pence, HOU - $6,900,000
OF Matt Joyce, TB - $426,500OF Jay Bruce, CIN - $2,750,000
OF Carlos Quentin, CWS - $5,050,000OF Andre Ethier, LAD - $9,250,000
DH Michael Young, TEX - $16,000,000OF Matt Holliday, STL - $17,000,000
OF Justin Upton, ARI - $4,250,000

AL Starters TotalNL Starters Total
AL Starters AVGNL Starters AVG
AL Pitchers TotalNL Pitchers Total
AL Pitchers AVGNL Pitchers AVG
AL Reserves TotalNL Reserves Total
AL Reserves AVGNL Reserves AVG
AL TotalNL Total

UPDATE:Matt Holliday will start in place of Ryan Braun instead of Andrew McCutchen. Unfortunately, I no longer have the desire to correct this post since it appears to be to subject to change until Wednesday morning.

Here's the link to last year's ASG payrolls. No, I haven't gotten any better at HTML since then.

What a difference a year makes. Actually, what a difference the Yankees make. Last year the AL crushed the NL in All Star salary due to the Yanks. It's much more even this year after Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera won't be participating after making the team. That's $86,285,714 of payroll between them. You could buy the NL reserves for that.

Andrew McCutchen is criminally underappreciated and underpaid. With four years of arbitration ahead of him with the Pirates, it will be interesting to see which one corrects itself first.

Special thanks to Off Base intern @Filosomesa who tracked down all of the contract info for me. Cots is a great site and all but the poor guy had to look up almost every player in baseball.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our Obligatory Derek Jeter 3,000th Hit Post

Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit on Saturday. It was a home run and he went 5-5. He now sports a .270/.331/.354 line this season and will continue to hit lead-off. Minka Kelly.

All right people, move along. There is nothing to see here.

Jered Weaver Expected To Start All Star Game

Jered Weaver was informed Sunday morning that he will start the All Star Game on Tuesday night for the American League squad. The official announcement won't be made until Monday which leaves plenty of time for Weaver to back out. With the recent rash of replacements, I think the only Major League pitcher who hasn't been on the All Start roster yet is Kyle Davies. But I hope Weav sticks with it as he'll be just the fifth Angels pitcher to start an ASG and the first since Mark Langston in 1993.

Weaver deserves it too whether you want to look at box score stats or advanced metrics. In the AL, he's first in ERA (1.86), second in wins (11), second in innings (140.1) and fifth in strikeouts (120). Plus he's first in FIP (2.39), tERA (2.36) and WAR (4.7). Sure, I cherry picked those stats but Weaver is still having a phenomenal season. Even with some regression from career bests in LOB% (81.2) and HR/FB% (2.7!), Weaver is still well on his way to topping his career high 5.9 WAR from last year. He can also expect a nice bump in salary as he heads into his last season of arbitration. That's a frightening post for another time though.

Weaver and manager Mike Scioscia are prohibited from discussing the announcement until it is actually, well, announced. But Weav was asked about it after his last start...
Asked after Thursday night's win about the possibility of starting the All-Star game, Weaver said, "It would be very cool. I’ve grown up seeing Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, guys like that, in those situations. To be able to start would be very gratifying.”
Sorry, I dozed off during that quote. I get sleepy reading cookie cutter answers to questions even if it's from my favorite players. I don't know what I was expecting him to say. MLB and management seem to frown upon athletes saying "F*ck yeah, bro, that'd be the tits" on live broadcasts or to media outlets. Maybe that's why I'm so fond of Ozzie Guillen and his broken English tirades.

Either way, congrats Jered. You deserve it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Promoted: The Angels Call Up Mike Trout

Baseball fans will no longer have to wait until Sunday's Futures Game to watch top prospect Mike Trout roam an outfield. After incumbent center fielder Peter Bourjos injured his hamstring turning a double into a triple, the Angels decided to call up Trout from double-A Arkansas. As both an Angels and prospects fan, I can't even begin to describe how excited I am. It's somewhere between "wheeeee!" and "had to be checked into a mental institute." But today isn't about me and the last few shreds of sanity I have left, it's about a 19-year-old kid who is better at baseball than anything you do. Nobody is really impressed with your Excel skills anyway.

Trout's prospect ranking ranges anywhere from #1 overall (Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo) to #2 (Baseball America). The Angels made Trout the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft and the New Jersey native wasted no time raking right away in rookie ball. Trout, who won't turn 20 until August, began this year at double-A and has backed up all of his believers. Trout is hitting .330/.422/.544 with 9 home runs, 12 doubles, 11 triples and 28 stolen bases. While he isn't as polished on defense as Bourjos in center, Trout does match him in speed and figures to be a plus defender.

The Angels aren't expecting to place Bourjos on the disabled list so it's unclear what the Angels will do with Trout after the All Star break. Of course if he hits like the reincarnation of Mickey Mantle, it won't be much of a decision. But it is hard to expect that kind of immediate impact from anyone, let alone a teenager. I've been know to dabble in delusion from time to time and since I'm blinded with excitement, I fully expect Trout to hit and stick in the Majors. Mike Scioscia loves the kid (let's face it, who doesn't?) and won't let him go if there is a chance Trout can help the Angels win the West. If he is sent down, it would likely be to the taxi squad triple-A Salt Lake team.

Trout will wear #27, last worn by fan favorite and future Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero. It's fitting in a passing of the torch sense. But, you know, no pressure kid.

Check back this weekend for more Trout coverage. Unless he hits a home run in his first at bat. I'll probably spontaneously combust under those circumstances.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Albert Pujols Is The Machine After All

Any doubts about Albert Pujols being at least part robot should be put to rest. Worst case scenario is he has some T-1000 from Terminator 2 in him. Pujols, disabled since June 20th, is awaiting a midday exam to determine if the first baseman can return to the Cardinals lineup as early as tonight...
Pujols took ground balls and hit off a pitching machine Monday, implying his return is sooner than later. The three-time NL most valuable player has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a hairline fracture of the distal tip of his left radius. Whether he returns for tonight's game against the Cincinnati Reds or later this week, Pujols should be back much sooner than initial projections of four to six weeks.

"I can't wait to get back on the field," he said. "Hopefully, it can be (today). If it's not, whenever the time comes will be the right time to play."
Robo-Pujols hit the ground in agony after the dastardly attack by Wilson Betemit (disappointing baseball fans since 2001) on June 19th. Pujols disagreed with the MRI and CT scan declaring he felt he could play the day after sustaining the injury. He continued to deny feeling any pain (only the malfunctioning robots like Johnny 5 can even feel emotional pain) and Tony La Russa recently announced Pujols wouldn't need a rehab assignment after being cleared to return.

Even if Pujols returns tonight, he won't participate in this year's All Star Game next week. Pujols got off to a slow start in his ballyhooed contract season. The slugger has 17 homers and a .279/.355/.500 line, all of which are well below career averages. Perhaps he just needed a shock to the system or some time off for rewiring. Either way, Pujols looks to return far sooner than any mere mortal could.

I turned 31 and I've had this pain in my hip for like a year now. Come on science, I'm falling apart here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Night Liveblog: My Beloved Halos Edition

Please come join Mevs from Diamond Hoggers for the Sunday Night Baseball Live Chat. He's going to need company while I expound on the averageness of my Angels.

Off Base 2011 AL All Star Snubs

The 2011 All Star Game rosters are filled out which means it's time to huff and puff about who's in and who's out. I'm a natural complainer so I usually enjoy this exercise more than the actual game itself. You can peruse my picks here.

Unlike its National League cohort, the American League Final Vote pool is full of legitimate All Star candidates. Ben Zobrist, Paul Konerko and Alex Gordon are all worthy of playing in the Midsummer Classic. It's a shame that Zobrist has to depend on Sprint giving some cash to MLB for a chance to get into the ASG. He has the 5th best fWAR (4.0) in the AL but might be getting punished for playing great defense at 2nd base and merely good defense in right field. It's not quite as egregious as Andrew McCutchen being left off the All Star roster and Final Vote squad but it's still a major oversight.

Paul Konerko is having a brilliant offensive season with 21 homers and a .317/.387/.567 slash line but is somehow still behind fellow non-All Star 1st baseman Mark Teixeira in fWAR (2.8-2.3).

Gordon is 11th in the AL in fWAR (3.4) and is having a nice season in the outfield to go with a .301/.368/.491 line. But middle of the pack set-up man Aaron Crow received the lone Royals ASG invite. I would clearly be inept at constructing an All Star team.

Now for the rest of the victims of fan and managerial ignorance.

3 Position Players

Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia was my pick for 2nd base based on his huge On Base Percentage advantage but I would have been fine with Howie Kendrick (made it) or Zobrist (didn't make it). Instead Robinson Cano gets the fan vote thanks to New York and the 14 homers. Cano doesn't have a great OBP or play good defense but, hey look, homers.

Jhonny Peralta
This is the fallout for fans voting for Derek Jeter like he was Justin Bieber competing on American Idol. See? Bill Simmons isn't the only one who can reference pop culture crap I don't care about. Jeter is out fWARing only Chad Pennington when it comes to AL short stops but let's hand him the keys to the ASG anyway. Asdrubal Cabrera was my pick and did make the actual team but Peralta is better in just about all percentage metrics. Alexei Ramirez probably isn't pleased about the Jeter fallout either.

Brett Gardner/Denard Span
They might not be the most dynamic hitters in the AL outfield talent pool but they are amazing defenders. They need to at least shag balls during the home run derby. Add Peter Bourjos into that mix too.

3 Pitchers

CC Sabathia
Sabathia has the second best FIP (2.66) and fWAR (3.9) behind Jered Weaver, co-leads the AL in wins at 11 with Justin Verlander and has a better ERA (3.05) than All Stars C.J. Wilson, David Price and Felix Hernandez. And he plays for the Yankees. What am I missing here?

Dan Haren
Haren is 6th in fWAR (3.3). He and Sabathia are the only 2 of the top 8 in fWAR to not make the All Star team. Haren is also 4th in FIP (2.71) and xFIP (3.08) but, like Sabathia, is on the outside looking in at the top 10 in ERA. His 7-5 record probably didn't do him any favors with the casual Internet voter either.

Jordan Walden
This will complete my Angels homer section of this segment. Walden is tied for 4th in fWAR (1.1) for AL relievers and tied for 5th in saves (18) despite not being deployed into the closer role due to a bad case of Fernando Rodney. He also throws 100 MPH which is a lot of fun to watch.

Off Base 2011 NL All Star Snubs

The 2011 All Star Game rosters are filled out which means it's time to huff and puff about who's in and who's out. I'm a natural complainer so I usually enjoy this exercise more than the actual game itself. You can peruse my picks here.

I'll begin with the jackassery that is the Final Vote. Hypothetically, this should be a chance for fans to pick one final player from the 5 most deserving left off the roster. In reality, it's a way for MLB to squeeze some more money out of Sprint.

Either way you choose to look at it, Andre Ethier, Todd Helton, Ian Kennedy, Michael Morse and Shane Victorino are your 2011 National League pool of Final Votees. Victorino should win running away since he has the 4th highest fWAR in the NL at 4.2 while playing a pretty center field. And it doesn't hurt that he's a bigger name on the better team than, oh say, Morse. I like Morse. I mentioned him in my All Star post and he might hit 30 home runs. But with just 20 some odd more plate appearances, Vitcorino is still the superior player.

Now for the rest of the victims of fan and managerial ignorance.

3 Position Players

Andrew McCutchen
He is, by far, the biggest snub of this year's snubs. He is 2nd in fWAR in the NL and 3rd overall in baseball! I realize not all fans or managers have 12-15 pages of Fangraphs open at once but his 12 home runs, 15 steals and .289/.390/.493 are plenty All Star worthy. Plus he plays the hell out of center field instead of just roaming around like a confused hobo a la Matt Kemp.

Chase Headley
Headley was my pick to start the ASG so getting left off the roster completely counts as a snub. Placido Polanco won the fan vote and Chipper Jones won the heart of manager Bruce Bochy. Headley's .399 OBP is 57 points higher than the next closest 3rd baseman (Jones). That is, scientifically, a crapload of more value. While I'm at it, Ryan Roberts was probably more worthy than either Polanco or Jones too.

Miguel Montero
This might be a little nitpicky but find me a stat, aside from batting average, that Yadier Molina is better. I guess Justin Upton used the lone Diamondback spot.

3 Pitchers

Madison Bumgarner
Ryan Vogelsong made the ASG so this is pick depends of which side of the stat nerd fence you stand on. In basically three more starts, Bumgarner has been the better pitcher (2.55-3.21 FIP) and projects to be the better pitcher (3.16-3.48 xFIP) and has been the better player (2.9-1.5 WAR). But Vogelsong owns the shiny 6-1 reocrd and 2.01 ERA.

Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann bests Daniel Hudson here because the Nationals rep is Tyler Clippard. If you only get one All Star, Zimmermann should be the choice over Clippard before Hudosn should be the choice over Justin Upton. Although Hudson does have a gripe with Ian Kennedy over that Final Vote spot. Zimmermann has been great and is 8th in the NL in fWAR over All Stars Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Jair Jurjjens.

Craig Kimbrel
Kimbrel has a better K/9 (14.36), FIP (1.42) and fWAR (1.9) than any other reliever in the NL. Don't like those stats? He's still tied for 1st in saves. Now explain why he isn't in the ASG.