Sunday, July 3, 2011

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.

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