Monday, July 06, 2009

All Star Rosters: Fans Blow It Again

So the Fan turned on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN to catch two of the most exciting teams in the American League: Texas and Tampa Bay. To lead up to the event, the Fan watched the Baseball Tonight lead in, one of the most enjoyable such episodes of the week. The Baseball Tonight crew spent much of the broadcast introducing and then discussing the selections for the All Star Game. Topic covered. But then the SNB crew (minus Jon Miller for some reason) figured the topic wasn't covered enough and the exciting match up wasn't good enough so they spent much of the early part of the game discussing the picks. Fortunately, by the fourth inning or so, they ran out of breath and started talking about the game at hand.

Oh well, as long as they brought the topic up...again...let the Fan state unequivocally that the fans have proven over and over that they don't deserve the right to pick the All Star teams' starters. All Star voting is about as fair as the voting for the American Idol. Any time you can pack a ballot, any time you can have teams with high attendance and interest dominate the selections, you have a problem. Let's look at the starters in the American League.

  • Catcher: Joe Mauer. Okay, this is the right pick.
  • First base: Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has been everything the Yankees hoped, but Justin Morneau is having the best year of all the AL first basement. And it's not even close.
  • Second base: Dustin Pedroia. A typical example of ballot stuffing. The only correct starter here is Aaron Hill of Toronto. Look at the numbers. Again, it's not even close.
  • Shortstop: Derek Jeter. If Bartlett of the Bay Rays hadn't missed so much time, he would be the pick, but Jeter is the right pick.
  • Third base: Evan Longoria: No argument with that pick.
  • OF: Ichiro Suzuki. He is hitting .370, but if you look at the big picture and including slugging and OPS, Crawford is a better pick.
  • OF: Jason Bay: Well, okay. If you like RBI as the most important stat, okay.
  • OF: Josh Hamilton. What!? He hasn't even played all year. This is a glaring, idiotic example of what happens when the fans pick. Torii Hunter should be the starting center fielder.

Now the National League.

  • Catcher: Yadier Molina. The National League catchers are currently pretty pathetic. Molina is the best of the bad with a .727 OPS.
  • First base: Albert Pujols. Well duh.
  • Second base: Chase Utley. The correct choice.
  • Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez. Thank goodness. Rollins was leading for a while.
  • Third base: David Wright. Pablo Sandoval is having the better year.
  • OF: Carlos Beltran. He's been on the DL. Will be for another month. Come on! Should have been Brad Hawpe.
  • OF: Raul Ibanez. See above. Should be Justin Upton.
  • OF: Ryan Braun. Yay! They got one out of three correct.

We won't even get to the rest of the rosters or the pitchers. That's another kettle of fish. The point is that the fans, bless their hearts, don't get it right. Here's a good thought. Why not put a bunch of folks from Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, THT and together on a panel and have them pick the best 33 players in each league? Don't even talk to the Fan about having the players or the writers or the managers make the picks. The Fan will politely point you to the Gold Glove awards for how well that works.

Whatever would work should be what is used. The Fan vote doesn't work.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I agree with you on Morneau, Crawford, and Hill. And despite Kinsler's recent slumping, he's still having a better year than Pedroia. Although I will say I don't mind Ichiro starting. Like Jeter, he's become an icon and a staple at the All-Star Game.

Like the Molina pick. The best defensive catcher in the game should make at least one All-Star game in his career. Agree with you on Sandoval and Hawpe. Disagree on Upton over Ibanez.

Two guys who NEED to be in the game (not as starters necessarily) are Jermaine Dye and Mark Reynolds. And maybe even Russell Branyon.