Monday, July 14, 2008

The Outsiders' American League All Stars

Since everyone else is doing it, I'm going to chime in with my personal All Stars. I will select 25 players and do my best to select a member from each ballcub-although I am not going to leave out a deserving candidate to fulfill this requirement. I will ensure that not only are specific position requirements met, but also that the most viable lineup is put together. Over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto has a formula which does much of the work, so I will have to give him credit, where credit is due.

American League Starting Lineup

CF - Grady Sizemore
2B - Ian Kinsler
3B - Alex Rodriguez
DH - Milton Bradley
RF - JD Drew
LF - Carlos Quentin
1B - Justin Morneau
C - Dioner Navarro
SS - Michael Young

Although this isn't the lineup that David Pinto's lineup forecaster suggests to utilize, I feel this lineup would really give an opposing pitcher troubles, regardless of throwing arm. Of course, almost any All Star lineup without Jason Varitek would do so. The only major change I could see, would be to swap Bradley and Rodriguez in the batting order.

American League Bench

Joe Mauer
Kevin Youkilis
Brain Roberts
Carlos Guillen
Josh Hamilton
Nick Markakis
Ichiro Suzuki

This was a tough list to compile. A lot of deserving players missed the cut, such as Evan Longoria and Jason Giambi. However, the ability to play multiple positions played nearly as big of a role as did raw statistics. That is, Guillen received an extra vote of confidence in his ability to play both corner infield positions, as well as short stop.

American League Pitching Staff

Starting Pitcher - Roy Halladay
Doc get the nod for me because he has to regularly face near all star lineups against the Red Sox and Yankees. His presence also allows for one fewer reliever to be carried and an additional starter.

P - Justin Duchscherer
P - Scott Kazmir
P - Cliff Lee
P - Felix Hernandez
P - John Lackey

Picking the pitchers was probably more difficult then picking the hitters. Among starters, there were a lot of worthy candidates who had to be left off simply due to numbers. John Danks, Ervin Santana, and Zach Greinke specifically stand out, as pitchers who would have made the cut in almost any year. Each are plenty deserving of a spot on this years All Star team. Additionally, had Shaun Marcum not went down with an injury, he would have made the rotation.

RP - Scott Downs
RP - Joakim Soria
RP - Francisco Rodriguez
CL - Mariano Rivera

Choosing relievers is somewhat subjective. While I wanted to ensure the pitchers had been valuable to their respective clubs, I also wanted to ensure that the pitchers were having a dominant season and would be having similar successes on any other Major League team. Specifically, Scott Shields, Joba Chamberlain, Scott Linebrink, and Jim Johnson are set up men who are going unnoticed simply because they are not in a flashy role. Similarly, people forget how incredible of a job Joe Nathan does because he pitches for Minnesota.

American League Legitimate Snubs

Manny Ramirez - Manny has the highest WPA in the entire American League, so why leave him out? Why not sit and enjoy 3 days of Manny being Manny in New York City? Well, I feel that other players have done more for their specific teams. While Manny has been outstanding, specifically in the abscence of David Ortiz, he has had a spectacular supporting cast. Unlike Quentin who had to carry the Sox on his own through much of May.

Dustin Pedroia - Same situation here. This is not to take anything away from the season that Pedroia has had, but hitting in this lineup makes anyone look good. Remember when Rich Aurilla was raking with the Giants?

David DeJesus - Despite missing some time due to an injury, DeJesus is having a remarkable, yet unnoticed season. I guess I joined the snub party.

JP Howell - Who? Howell has been rocksteady in the Rays vastly improved bullpen. There is a legitimate argument that this pick shows that I know nothing about baseball.

I already named the starters who it was hard to leave off of the list. I took a close look at both Joe Saunders and Daisuke Matsuzaka as two pitchers to include in my snubs list. I'm simply not sure either one of them are putting up sustainable enough numbers to legitimize their selection on this list.

Next up, my National League All Stars....

BallHype: hype it up!


Loren said...

Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour (despit his unfortunate name) > JP Howell IMO.

Then again I haven't actually watched that many Rays games so I'm kind of just speculating on what I assume to be true.

Brandon Heikoop said...


Thanks for reading.

According to WPA, which takes into account how much a players contributed to his teams individual wins, Howell is rated over both Wheeler and Balfour. WPA was one of the main statistics I looked at when rating the players.

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