The omissions of Greinke and Headley are head-scratchers. Other than that I won’t really miss any of the other “snubs”. I personally don’t see why they need so many relievers, and would prefer that only 1 or 2 per team be included. OTOH it’s probably safer to have a pitcher available for the 14th inning than to have a 3rd 3B.
Comment by Ivan Grushenko — July 2, 2012 @ 1:52 pm
This argument doesn’t make sense to me. Are they an all-star, or not? If they are one of the best players, they should get the selection, and if they can’t pitch, due to injury, recent use, etc. they should be replaced. It is theoretically possible that a hall of fame pitcher could never make an all-star game because he always pitches on the Sunday before the game? “Joe Schmoe has 300 wins, a career ERA under 3, a ton of strikeouts, but he never made the all-star team. How can I vote for him if he was never selected as an all-star.” That could happen.
The Brewers actually rearranged their pitching schedule specifically so Greinke could be available for the ASG. He’s pitching on Saturday, not Sunday. I’m most surprised that the players didn’t even vote him in!
It’s not fair to criticize Washington and TLR for picking too many pitchers/relievers – both All-Star rosters in 2011 and 12 have had exactly 8 starters and 5 relievers, so it’s pretty clear they’re under orders from MLB to fill those spots.
Now, those are stupid guidelines from MLB, since Jim Johnson, Ryan Cook and Huston Street aren’t exactly ‘stars’, but that’s not the managers’ fault.
While I agree with some of the conclusions especially in regards to Grienke, it is unfortunate that WAR is the parameter that is being used to justify the snubs. Essentially, we could calculate all player’s WAR and just compare the results and pick the team accordingly. No single stat is able to tell the entire story. Even though WAR is more of an aggregate statistic there is no doubt it is not perfect.
Great article!!! The biggest snubs to me were Greinke and Bourn. I thought Greinke should have gotten consideration for being the all-star starter. Bourn easily should be the starting CF with a WAR of 3.9 but the average fan places too much value on home runs and RBIs and not enough on a combination of defense, speed, BA, extra base hits, OBP, etc.
So you’re telling me that an exhibition game with no clear standards for participation and whose rosters are set by the subjective votes of three separate and highly biased groups of humans is going to be played by a collection of players that many consider sub-optimal? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??????
I don’t think WAR should be absolute for 1/2 a season. That’s too short of a span to accurately measure Defensive War. If anything, take an average over the last 2.5 years or so for the defensive metrics.
I wrote this in Dave’s post last week, as well, but what about Johan Santana? He’s only 17th in the NL in WAR (1.8) but he outperforms his FIP every year, so I’m not sure it’s really fair to judge him. Between the comeback from injury and historic no-no, he would have been a nice, sentimental choice. That he has 2.76 ERA certainly helps. Maybe he doesn’t deserve it as much as guys like Greinke or McDonald but he at least deserves a mention.
Exibition game? I’ve been lied to, MLB keeps telling me that it counts!
I tend to agree, the purpose of the Allstar game in MLB was to allow the fans of each league to have more fodder to argue which league was better and what batter X would do to pitcher Y.
With the advent of interleague and its coming expansion of interleague play the day of the ALLSTAR game has largely passed. It remains more important than the equivalent NBA, NFL, and NHL games only because of inertia from older fans and because its in the middle of the season (does the NHL even have an allstar game?).
The “Now it Counts” campaign seems to me to be a desperate attempt to keep the ALLSTAR game relevant when its time has passed, MLB has a 162 game season, and unlike the NHL or NBA the regular season actually does matter. You don’t need to hype an exibition game, eliminate it, give teams another 3 off days during the season, announce all-stars at the end of the season as an honor but with no requirement to play a game.
Jeter doesn’t “deserve” to start, but the voting opens in April and from April through about Mid-May, he was a legitimate choice.
Of course, Jeter would probably still win the fan balloting if he came to the plate swinging a baby instead of a bat, but the way the balloting works does reward a hot start to a season, and Jeter was on fire for the first part of the season.
In the new CBA, there is the “Sunday pitcher” rule. Basically it says a guy pitching on Sunday can still be selected to the All-Star game. And if the player doesn’t want to pitch, a replacement can be added to the team to pitch in his stead. So La Russa could have named Cueto, and then added a replacement for him later.
La Russa saying he left Cueto off because he’s pitching on Sunday could be a violation of the CBA, and Cueto and his agent are considering filing a grievance. If La Russa had just said “Cueto sucks,” or whatever, he’d probably be fine.
I guess the point of the rule is that a player shouldn’t be screwed out of an honor (and the bonus money) because of a quirk in the schedule.
You could also add that the All Star game was important prior to the TV coverage we have today. When you only saw games once or twice a week about the only time you saw the great players was at the All Star game. These days it’s nothing.
Can we just make sure Cliff posts a sub 3 FIP, pitches 200+ and doesn’t win a game all year?
I just want to enjoy all the asinine. baseless articles about what a bad investment he is, yet racks up another 5+ WAR season.
“It’s also not a newsflash that guys like Derek Jeter had no business on the American League team”
Can you possibly be more arrogant? Of course Derek Jeter has all kinds of business being on the American League team! The fans overwhelmingly voted for him. In fact he was among the players that received the most votes at any position. The newsflash is that you’re in the minority here.
I get that on FanGraphs WAR decides reality. But even so, for the vast majority the voting period Jeter led all AL shortstops in pretty much every important batting statistic (the ones that go into WAR). It is only the fake fielding numbers that brought down his WAR.
So, we have an all-time great player hitting better than all the other shortstops in the league when the fans were voting, and you think they were wrong for wanting to see Jeter?
Why? Because “smart” people know Jeter is overrated. Ugh.
Yep, it’s so. Jeter currently 4th in wOBA, but was leading for most of the season. He’s fallen off a cliff recently (i.e. after most of the votes were cast), but is still amongst the best hitting SS in the AL.
It was’t a snub in the sense of not going, but Konerko not being the starter is pretty ridiculous.
Comment by monkey business — July 2, 2012 @ 8:53 pm
probably true (don’t look now in Oakland!) – I just meant if an the A’s player needed to be a pitcher, I’d go Parker over Cook b/c he’s been more valuable to the team. McCarthy is better than both, though, you’re correct and unfortunately injured again.
Comment by Delirium Nocturnum — July 2, 2012 @ 10:15 pm
You might like to think that, but you’d be wrong.
He is quite petty and small.
Cueto and Greinke are not on the team because they both did and said things that pissed St. Tony off.
I’ll agree with the arrogance diagnosis, for the sheer short-sightedness of the thing. I am no Jeter or Yankees fan, but we are talking here about one of the all-time greats at his position, having what may well be the last strong season (and one that, as Jason says, looked more than just “strong” for much of the voting period) of a long, distinguished career. One can argue that there are equally deserving choices based on a different balance between current performance and career greatness, but to say somebody like that has “no business” as a starter … arrogant, as well as pretty clueless about the importance of history in baseball.
Definitely sound like a huge homer, especially with the Peavy post below. But yeah, even by fWAR, Pierzynski is second only to Mauer.
I’m not entirely sure how fWAR is calculated for hitters, but Pierzynski has been better offensively by slash stats than every other catcher except Mauer… except Pierzynski has almost double the innings at catcher. I assume that reduced Mauer’s advantage in fWAR to only 0.3, right? Regardless, I don’t think people are looking at that and see Mauer’s hitting and assume he’s by far the best catcher in the league.
“Cook is tied for fourth in the AL in shutdowns, but neither his 2.91 FIP or 0.7 WAR are anything special. ”
You used this sort of phrase many times in the article, treating FIP and a pitcher’s WAR as separate entities. Besides innings pitched differences, FIP and pitcher WAR will rank players the same since WAR on Fangraphs is entirely FIP based. Treating them as two separate entities is misleading.
Comment by Gheto Sparetto — July 3, 2012 @ 4:44 am
No one at all mentioning Vogelsong? Def a snub to me. Even more than the good #s, he’s gone at least 6 innings in all his starts (not that it’s an important metric, but it is pretty impressive and certainly valuable to a team for preserving bullpen arms).
As a Giants fan, I feel bad that Sandoval was voted in as a starter while Headley was left off the team. I think Pablo’s an all-star caliber player, having a nice (if injury-marred) year, but clearly he hasn’t been better than Wright or Headley. These things happen every year, of course; there’s no way Sandoval should’ve been left off the team in 2009, and frankly, he should’ve been the starter that year. But even so, it’s a bummer. Would that I could trade Panda for MadBum or Vogelsong, each of whom are very deserving of selection this year.
I enjoy this time of year with the All Star selections and, invariably, the snubs. Being Canadian and a Jays fan, neither the snubs (see Encarnacion, Edwin) nor our response to them are new (“It’s them darn Americans freezing us out again, eh!”–note our ironic use of the phrase “freezing…out”).
Given that it began during the Great Depression as a fan-pleasing, money-grabbing venture by altruistic owners, I doubt there’s any better way to select players than what they’ve done/are doing. I do have a suggestion, though. Get the Commish to pick one person for a double-blind selection process. By double blind, I mean choose someone who’s legally blind and use a blindfold. File every player past the ‘Grand Selector’. This individual, whether male or female, uses their other senses to pare it down to 34 players for each team. For example, players like the 2011 version of Adam Dunn stink, so they’re obviously out, and so on and so on. When 68 players have been chosen, the rest receive “Participant” ribbons ( “WARticipant” may be a better ribbon but I don’t know what colour it should be. Chartreuse perhaps …), thereby leaving them with the impression that they were actually part of the team.
Of course, as with all other selection processes this one has its unique weaknesses. Not only would fans of the “Participants” (“WARticipants”) cry foul if their player wasn’t selected (“That dang Selector’s from Milwaukee!”), but some players stink even though they’re playing well, like the Popeye-tossing version of Pedro Martinez…
No one gives Jed Lowrie any love… better average WAR (between fangraphs, baseball ref, and baseball prospectus) than Furcal, Desmond, and Castro, and he also has a better wOBA than any of those three for the people who think defense is too fluctuating to this point in the season… he is super-snubbed
He’s been amazing for the past year and a half now.
Comment by Jeff in So. Indiana — July 4, 2012 @ 6:49 am
When the All-Star game was an exhibition game I voted for whoever I wanted to see and couldn’t complain with anybody’s vote because deciding who is a “Star” is personal and subjective. It is a product of charisma, marketing, and fame. Talent, ability, and statistics alone do not make a ballplayer a star.
Now that the All-Star Game “counts”, I vote for who I think gives their team the best chance to win a future game. WAR is not the appropriate stat for that because WAR quantifies the past; it does not predict the future. The only stat on this site that predicts the future is ZiPS(RoS).
Using that metric, Albert Pujols is clearly the biggest All-Star snub. As a fan rooting for the national league fan I would rather face Konerko or Fielder than Puhols, so I’m glad he is off the team, but if I wanted the AL to win a single game, I’d want Puhols as my first baseman in that game over anybody.
Some people use their all-star vote as an MVP or player of the first 1 month, or 2 months or 3 months (depending on when they cast their ballot), which I think is what the author of this article has in mind. Then fWAR is appropriate, but I’d argue that bWAR or rWAR are better for measuring impact on actual wins and losses of games that were already played, particularly for pitchers.
ZiPS(Update) may be a good compromise of past performance and the future predicted performance. But in the end, one cannot eliminate subjectivity. Even if you are going to pick one stat, your choice of stat is subjective. Rookies (including first year foreign players) are hardest to predict as the leagues adjust to them and they need to show they can maintain excellence in their new MLB environment and in late season pressure situations that they have yet face in this long 162 game season, so they may be the most prone to debates.
My “final vote” picks? I voted straight Peavy in the AL and split my vote between Hill and Bourn in the NL, with more to Hill. I’m not sold on Darvish yet and the relievers have pitched too few innings. I’m torn in the NL because Bourn is the more valuable player, but Hill may be the best second baseman in the NL (I voted for him initially and he’s right there with Uggla), while Bourn is no better than the 3rd best CF (clearly behind Kemp and McCutchen).