Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Left Field American League All-Star Ballot

One of several votes that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance collaborates on throughout the year is the All-Star ballot. As such, I've determined my picks for starters in both leagues and will reveal them here, after I explain my methodology a little.

I've read a lot lately about how selecting an All-Star team based on two-plus months worth of performance is a flawed idea, and although that's how I've generally done it in the past, I've come to agree with this assessment. So, I thought I'd base my picks on an entire year's worth of performance, with an ever-so-slight emphasis on the current season, where applicable. 

It probably would have been better to use statistics since last year's All-Star break, but they're not so easily available, so I utilized FanGraphs' functionality to display the numbers for the past calendar year (i.e. 6/15/10 - 6/15/11). I primarily looked at WAR, for its ability to take both offensive and defensive performance into consideration, but I made a few discretionary adjustments.

First, the American League:

Catcher - Matt Wieters (Baltimore)
Wieters wins out over Detroit's Victor Martinez—who hasn't really caught all that much this year—and Minnesota's Joe Mauer, who's been injured most of 2011 to date. 

First Base - Miguel Cabrera (Detroit)
It was a close call between Cabrera and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez, but I ultimately chose Cabrera because this is an American League All-Star team, and Gonzalez was a National Leaguer for a good portion of the sample period.

Second Base - Robinson Cano (New York)
I gave Cano the edge over Texas's Ian Kinsler, because Kinsler's slight edge in WAR is primarily due to defense. Honestly, I still don't completely trust WAR's ability to measure fielding, especially when it comes to the fact Cano rated as below-average last year.

Shortstop - Alexei Ramirez (Chicago)
Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera is off to a great start this year, but combining this year's numbers with those from mid-June of last year on makes Ramirez an obvious choice.

Third Base - Adrian Beltre (Texas)
Beltre had an excellent 2010, and is off to a good start for 2011, so he's my pick over Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.

Outfield - Jose Bautista (Toronto), Curtis Granderson (New York), Josh Hamilton (Texas)
I'm a firm believer that at least one of the three outfield positions should be a center fielder, but Granderson deserves one of the three spots regardless of that distinction. I had to decide between Hamilton, who really hasn't done much yet this year, and the Yankees' Brett Gardner, believe it or not. I just couldn't bring myself to proclaim Gardner an All-Star starter, so I went with Hamilton, despite the fact his selection is almost entirely based on 2 1/2 months of performance from last year.

Designated Hitter - David Ortiz (Boston)
Not really much to choose from here, so Ortiz's 2011 first-half resurgence earns him the spot.

Starting Pitcher - Jered Weaver (Los Angeles)
Although not technically part of the ballot, starting pitcher is a four-horse race between Weaver, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, New York's C.C. Sabathia and Detroit's Justin Verlander. Weaver earns the tie-breaker based on 2011 performance.

I'll return with my National League picks in a separate post.


  1. I love the full year take. Your team is full of true stars, rather than three-month wonders. Your Weaver-over-Verlander based on 2011 comment looks odd two weeks later, but I think you nailed most of these picks.

  2. Yeah, I suppose Verlander may have been my pick had I waited a little longer.

    Thanks for reading and for the comment, Bryan.