This Fan does not stuff ballot boxes. It's unseemly. This Fan takes the vote seriously and would never vote for a player because he is a favorite or because he is a legend. The Fan believes that the All Star starters should be those players having the best season this season, not last season or this decade. And so it's time to vote. Well, it is about a week early as the best vote is right before the deadline occurs because after all, a lot can happen in a week and it's best to wait as long as possible to make sure the best players this year start the game. But two things lead to turning in "this ballot" now. First, the Fan is leaving for nearly a month and will have to rely on a cellular internet card and the trusty laptop to stay on top of things. The second reason for the one week "rush" is the Fan's new status as a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) which has a deadline for turning these things in.
First, some criteria. In the past, before the Fan got himself educated (and it's still in process), this vote would come from the traditional batting and pitching stats: Batting Average, Homers, Runs Batted In, Strikeouts, Wins. But it's a new world with new information that, as far as the Fan can tell, gives the truest picture yet of a player's performance and how that translates to the value provided.
The Fan has to admit that the most critical new component of those measurements is fielding stats which are not universally embraced and are not yet a perfect science. The most striking example of how critical those value comparisons are when it comes to defense is when picking the American League first baseman. Justin Morneau and Kevin Youkilis are nearly dead even in offensive proficiency. But defensive metrics rate the year they are having defensively very differently. Morneau is having a banner year in the field. Youkilis, again, according to the metrics we have at our disposal, is far behind him this year in defense thus almost solely accounting for the $3.5 million difference in their respective Value. Of course that's controversial. But until someone can poke great big holes in these fielding metrics, they are what we have to go by.
The Fan's Official All Star Ballot is based solely on the Value of performance this year as calculated by www.fangraphs.com and www.baseball-reference.com. Most of their WAR ratings are right in line, but a few players have pretty different swings. In those cases, the Fan split the difference between the two sites. Rarely did it matter between the top choice and the second place finisher. The ratings were based on games played through Tuesday night. One other note: The outfield is selected by position and not by the blob outfield selection the real All Star Ballot presents. This really hurt Andres Torres of the Giants because he's played all outfield positions equally and hasn't settled in one static place. The blog works him better than the Fan's criteria. The same can be said for Brett Gardner.
So without further boring ado, here is the Fan's Official All Star Ballot:
- First base: Justin Morneau. WAR - 4.1. Value - $16.3 million.
Second place finisher: Kevin Youkilis. WAR 3.1. Value - $12.3 million.
- Second base: Robinson Cano. No surprise here. WAR - 3.8. Value - $15.3 million
Second place finisher: Orlando Hudson. WAR - 2.1. Value - $8.4 million
- Shortstop: Derek Jeter. WAR - 2.0. Value - $8.1 million
Second place finisher: Marco Scutaro: WAR - 1.7. Value - $7.0 million
Comment: Scutaro has been steadily gaining on Jeter and could very well catch him by the time the voting deadline ends.
- Third base: Evan Longoria. WAR - 3.1. Value - $12.4 million
Second place finisher: Adrian Beltre: WAR - 2.8. Value - $11.3 million
- Left Field: Carl Crawford. WAR - 2.5. Value - $11.4 million
Second place finisher: Josh Hamilton: WAR - 2.0. Value - $7.9 million
Comment: If Hamilton hadn't gotten injured and lost so much playing time, he might be the leader here.
- Center Field: Alex Rios. WAR - 3.7. Value - $13.5
Second place finisher: Vernon Wells (now that's ironic). WAR - 2.1. Value - $8.3 million
- Right Field: Shin Soo Choo. WAR - 2.4. Value - $9.6 million
Second place finisher: Ichiro Suzuki. WAR - 2.3. Value - $9.3 million
Comment: One of the closest races of them all.
- Catcher: Joe Mauer. WAR - 1.9. Value - $7.4 million
Second place finisher: Victor Martinez. WAR - 1.5. Value - $6.1 million
- Starting Pitcher: Francisco Liriano. WAR - 3.5. Value - $13.9 million
Second place finisher: Cliff Lee. WAR - 3.0. Value - $12 million
- Relief Pitcher: Joel Zumaya. WAR - 1.2. Value - $4.8 million
Second place finisher: Matt Thornton. WAR - 1.1. Value $4.5 million
Comment: Unlike the NL, no AL closers were close to the top of the list.
- First base: Albert Pujols. WAR - 2.6. Value - $10.5 million
Second place finisher: Joey Votto. WAR - 2.5. Value - $9.9 million.
Comment: Pujols just overtook Votto this week.
- Second base: Chase Utley. WAR - 2.4. Value - $9.6 million
Second place finisher: Brandon Phillips. WAR - 2.3. Value - $9.3 million
Comment: Utley just overtook Phillips this week.
- Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki. WAR - 2.2. Value - $8.6 million
Second place finisher: Hanley Ramirez. WAR - 2.1. Value - $8.5
Comment: Defense puts Tulo on top.
- Third base: Ryan Zimmerman. WAR - 3.0. Value - $11.9 million
Second place finisher: David Wright. WAR - 2.5. Value - $10 million
- Left field: Josh Willingham. WAR - 2.5. Value - $10.1 million
Second place finisher: Matt Holliday. WAR - 1.9. Value - $7.7 million
- Center field: Marlon Byrd. WAR - 12.1. Value - $12.1 million
Second place finisher: Colby Rasmus. WAR - 2.0. Value - $8.1 million
- Right field: Ryan Ludwick. WAR - 2.3. Value - $9.2 million
Second place finisher: Jason Heyward. WAR - 1.8. Value - $7.0 million
- Catcher: Brian McCann. WAR - 1.7. Value - $6.8 million
Second place finisher: Russell Martin. WAR - 1.3. Value - $5.2 million
- Starting pitcher: Roy Halladay. WAR - 3.5. Value - $13.9 million
Second place finisher: Josh Johnson. WAR - 3.0. Value $12 million
Comment: These numbers don't make sense when it comes to Ubaldo Jiminez, who only rates as third best.
- Relief pitcher: Jonathan Broxton. WAR - 1.8. Value - $7.8 million
Second place finisher: Luke Gregerson. WAR 1.4. Value - $5.7
That's the way the numbers look to this Fan. Whether you disagree or agree (either one is perfectly fine), vote smart. Do your homework and make the best selection you can.